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A look at what's in store from Norfolk designers

PUBLISHED: 10:05 29 September 2011

Designer Leah Leveridge signing the window where one of her dresses is displayed.Photo : Steve Adams

Designer Leah Leveridge signing the window where one of her dresses is displayed.Photo : Steve Adams

Archant Norfolk 2011

Norwich Fashion Week showcased the work of local fashion designers in an event called Open Store, which gave you the chance to meet the people behind the creations. Emma Harrowing visited some of the designers in store.

As City College Norwich fashion and textile graduate and now Norwich Fashion Week designer Leah Leveridge writes her name on the shop window of Ethika on Timberhill, many fashion designers were getting ready to launch their new collections to the public for the first time.

It was the beginning of the Open Store event at Norwich Fashion Week.

The event showcased the work of 17 fashion designers from Norwich and Norfolk and you could also meet the designers behind the designs, some of which were on the catwalk at the launch show.

Ethika on Timberhill had the main thrust of the designers with 13 local fashion and jewellery makers taking turns to present their designs to the fashion hungry public.

The main fashion designs were on mannequins in the shop window from designers Bee Eno, Alice Bodgener, Annette Rolston and Lizzie Wenman, Marian Williams known for her dress made with the dye of the silver birch tree at Norwich Fashion Week back in February, and City College Norwich fashion and textile graduates Chloe Kent and Leah Leveridge, both showcased designs at the launch catwalk show in The Forum earlier in the week.

Claudia Orrell designer and founder of fashion label Silk and Sawdust also threw open the door to her modest studio in her flat on Wensum Street to showcase her autumn collection, she too presented a collection at the launch show last Thursday.

It is also rumoured that Claudia will open her studio again this Saturday as part of the Magdalen Street celebrations. So if you missed open store there is another chance to see and buy her vintage inspired designs.

At Verandah on Upper St Giles, knitwear designer Liz Clarke was on hand to show her fireside knits, the shift dresses and blazers made from vintage fabric from designer Sally Ronaldson and the Fair Isle knits the signature style of knitwear designer Marilyn Thomas, another designer who showcased on the Norwich Fashion Week catwalk last February.

Back at Ethika, jewellery designers Alison Varley, Elizabeth Radford and Jules Fry showcased their unique collections alongside the frocks. Alison Varley made a welcome return to Norwich Fashion Week after her silver designs were seen on the catwalk in February with chunkier silver designs. Elizabeth Radford’s eco-friendly art clay silver collection of delicate hearts and charms contrasted with Jules Fry’s Archangel silver stepping stone pendants hung from coloured ribbon.

With the hat tipped to be an autumn and winter trend, felt hat maker Bridget O’Connell’s designs were flying off the shelves as fashion hunters wanted an original hat design.

Then there was Annette Rolson, who alongside her black printed shift dress and waterfall cardigan which she designed in collaboration with fashion student Lizzie Wenman, had designed some lino print bags and scarves with her signature animal, nature and organic prints.

In fact there were so many designs on display it was awe inspiring to see that Norwich and in fact Norfolk has so much fashion talent to shout about.

See more pictures of the Open Store fashion designers event by clicking on the multimedia link at the top right of the page.

Tonight at Norwich Fashion Week join in the fashion finale by shopping until late. Selected shops in the city centre will be opening late and offering discounts, serving wine and canapés and putting on fashion shows. For more information see the Norwich Fashion Week programme - just click on the programme link at the top right of this page.

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