Acle man taps into modelling career after last year’s Norwich Fashion Week

From this week wannabe models can join the Norwich Fashion Week castings in a bid to appear at the shows in March. Emma Harrowing catches up with the male winner of the Face of Norwich Fashion Week 2011.

When Matthew Gadd's name was called out over the exuberated crowd at the launch of the second Norwich Fashion Week in The Forum last September, a shocked and somewhat surprised tall man with a beard walked on the stage to accept the accolade as the male Face of Norwich Fashion Week 2011.

Joining him was Danielle Hull from Norwich, who won the female Face of Norwich Fashion Week 2011. Both had taken part of the Face of Norwich Fashion Week competition, a local modelling competition which aims to find a team of males and females to take to the catwalks throughout fashion week.

Then, in true pageant style, two winners – one male and one female – picked from the chosen modelling team were crowned the faces of Norwich Fashion Week.

'I was delighted to win and at the same time really surprised I had,' says 25-year-old Matthew, from Acle.

'There were some really good guys in the competition and a couple in particular had that 'model' look, so it was even more pleasing to be picked as the Face of Norwich Fashion Week 2011. Maybe one of those guys will come back and win it this time round.'

This Sunday is the launch of the Face of Norwich Fashion Week 2012, with the first casting taking place at independent fashion retailer Vanilla on Ipswich Road.

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Once again Norwich Fashion Week is looking for men and women of all ages, shapes and sizes to strut their stuff at one of the many castings taking place in Norwich over the next month. The aim: to find the team of models who will model the latest designs at Norwich Fashion Week in March and to discover the faces of Norwich Fashion Week 2012.

Says Matthew: 'I have always been interested in fashion, which is why I wanted to get involved with Norwich Fashion Week, but I never really thought about being a model. Saying that, winning has certainly given me the confidence to think about it now.'

Since winning the Face of Norwich Fashion Week 2011 and gaining experience modelling on the catwalk (all the models in the team undergo extensive catwalk training), Matthew has signed to Norwich-based model agency Powermodel Management and has modelled for a few photo shoots when he is not working at Aviva in Norwich.

His shoots have included a Life Matters fashion shoot where he worked alongside the female face of Norwich Fashion Week, Danielle Hull.

'The Life Matters shoot for the Evening News was really good fun,' says Matthew. 'It was the first editorial shoot I had done so being able to do it with Danielle made it a little less daunting. Although as the shoot had a love story behind it, trying to look lovingly into her eyes without laughing and feeling awkward proved rather difficult!

'I'd also never worn make-up before and as it was a shoot modelling the boy/girl fashion trend I had to wear eyeliner. I'm not sure my eyes liked that very much and every time Paris the make-up artist tried to put it on all they did was stream with tears and ruin everything! I guess I'll have to get used to that at some point if I'm going to be a model.'

Matthew was also chosen to model for A Most Curious Wedding Fair, a vintage wedding fair which will be coming to St Andrew's Hall in Norwich on February 11 before going to London.

The promotional shoot saw Matthew once again work with a female model (Aurora Cotten-McKean, who was also involved in Norwich Fashion Week last year) and with vintage photographer Joanna Millington.

Says Matthew: 'They were desperately seeking tall men with beards, I believe! So I fitted the bill and they got in contact with Bex from Power. It was all very last minute as I was in India when they were trying to contact me, but luckily I was free as it was a really good day.

'The shoot was great. There was a whole team of stylists, hair and make-up artists as well as Jo (the photographer) all had good ideas about what they wanted, from the flowers and costumes to the props and poses.

'Working on a shoot is good fun. It is hard work with outfit changes and waiting for the set to be changed and it took the best part of a day, but it was worth it when you see the final pictures. I feel like I learn a lot when I see the pictures so I'm always excited to see how they turn out.'

Matthew has another photo shoot next month with The Gallery Haircutters on Waterloo Road, where he will get to work with five other models, including Kris Dillon, who modelled for the first Norwich Fashion Week last February. Kris has gone on to model nationally as well as star in many films.

Says Matthew: 'Kris Dillon has been really good for giving me advice since I won and something he always says is – 'if you really want it, then don't give up after the first 'no' as it's such a competitive, difficult industry.'

'You could be perfect for one job and not at all for another. Sometimes they are looking for a really specific thing so it's not about who's the best model, and there could be a lot of no's before you get a yes! It's just about keeping going, putting yourself out there, and working really hard.

'I'm still so new to it all. I've only done a few photo shoots, but they've all been really enjoyable, and I'm basically going to see how it goes. I've always been more interested in music and my band but it would be lovely to work in the fashion industry. It's so competitive though, and I'm not even sure how good a model I am, so I'm keeping an open mind, and we'll see.'

Could you be the Face of Norwich Fashion Week 2012?

The search begins for the faces of Norwich Fashion Week 2012 this Sunday as Norwich Fashion Week launches the competition that will see males and females take to the catwalks at Norwich Fashion Week in March.

If you would like to be part of the modelling team that takes to the catwalks at Norwich Fashion Week just turn up to one of the castings below with a recent photograph or yourself.

Sunday, February 5 between 11am and noon at Vanilla on Ipswich Road, Norwich

Thursday, February 9 between 6pm and 7pm at The Library Restaurant, Norwich

Thursday, February 16 between 6pm and 7pm at The Library Restaurant, Norwich

Sunday, February 19 between 11am and noon at Vanilla on Ipswich Road, Norwich.

No previous modeling experience is required and the competition is open to males and females. Anyone with a passion for fashion or an interest in modelling is encouraged to attend.

Norwich Fashion Week returns from Thursday, March 8 until Thursday, March 15 with many fashion shows and events taking place throughout the city. Your Norwich Evening News will be bringing you all the news from on and off the catwalks both in the paper and online. Click the link at the top right of this page to take you to the Norwich Fashion Week homepage.