Friday, 5 April 2013

Slipping off the Catwalk: Manchester Fashion Week 2013 Postponed

Whilst Manchester still basks at the news that British Vogue will choose the city to host this year's Fashion's Night Out event, there comes news of an embarrassing failure that needn't have scarred Manchester's reputation as a frontrunner in retail and fashion business.

If you've not already read by now, Manchester Fashion Week 2013, has been "postponed" when, after a succession of financial and logistical failings this year, the National Football Museum née Urbis building, pulled out as the venue, just three weeks before the event. 

The problems stem from last year's event, which was far from a resounding success, with half-empty show spaces, a peculiar set-up and general air of winging it about the entire production. However, the extent of the problems with last year's event only became public knowledge a few weeks ago when the Manchester Evening News reported debts outstanding of around £20,000.

It became apparent that MCR FW's Director, Jonathan Sassen, had gone about organising 2013's event, without settling the bills from his inaugural show, thus incurring three CCJs against his company's name in the process.

Not only that, but instead of planning an event with reduced overheads and living in hope that profits incurred in 2013 would also help settle outstanding bills from 2012, MCR FW sought to fill a 5 storey building with exhibitions, shows, seminars and live music and up to 150 people p/show, with numerous shows scheduled throughout the day, for an entire week.

The soap-opera that is the MCR FW road to failure is one thing but the fact that, simply because of the name of this event, the city of Manchester and the people who work in the region's fashion and retail business are tarred with the same incompetent brush. This is a point both I and numerous other interested parties have stated from the very beginning of MCR FW, you can read more about my concerns with MCR FW in my blog post following the 2012 event, here.

Whilst writing this post an announcement by MCR FW has been published indicating that they will continue with the event, at a different time and place. Let's see how this one plays out...

The Road to 2013

July 2012, MCR FW announces dates for 2013 event

October 2012, Rococo PR win regional PR contract for MCR FW

October 2012, Democracy PR win national PR contact for MCR FW

December 2012, Democracy PR unexpectedly pulls out as national PR, leaving Rococo to head up both campaigns

January 2013, MCR FW appoints Kirsty Attwood as Head of Fashion

MCR FW seeks advice from regional frontrunners in advertising, journalism and fashion retail on the direction for the 2013 event. 

MCR FW appoints brand Ambassadors from regional fashion businesses

March 2013, MCR FW announces National Football Museum as venue

March 2013, MCR FW announces part of schedule for 2013 event

April 2013, National Football Museum pulls out as venue
April 2013, headline sponsor issue release stating the event has been "postponed," due to "venue issues"

April 2013, Event "post-poned"

April 2013, MCR FW release statement indicating the event will continue