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Clothes show live

Clothes show live; 6th December.

The weather may be at it's coldest of the year, and public transport may be wonkier than ever but that hasn't stopped some of the most eager shoppers and fashionistas from making their way to this year's Clothes show live at Birmingham.

Ordinarily you'd probably wonder why an alternative magazine like ourselves would go to such a mainstream event, but over the past few years we'd noticed quite a turn in independent designers, and companies that have been cropping up as part of Clothes shows boutique shopping area. With past traders including the likes of Clutterfly, Lady luck rules ok, & Punky pins; this year was no exception and saw quite a large selection of alternative and vintage traders at the show. So with such a dedicated area to alternative style, and with the launch of the new diy 'Sknitch' zone, we decided that it was worth a trip down to Birmingham to check out the more alternative side to Clothes show live.

The NEC is a monster of a venue, in the alternative scene we're more used to take overs of nightclubs as markets but this really takes the cake; the walkway to the press office alone was like a good day's jog.

When I finally made it to the far side of the venue the size of the show really hit in, I knew it was a pretty large scale event but this really was overwhelming, I didn't know where to even start!

Clothes show live is split into several zones, from the main fashion theatre where the main event kicks off through to the purple zone which holds the 'offbeat boutique'. I figured the easiest was to start from the back in the 'designer zone' and work my way across to the theatre. Walking through each zone you could find a mass of mainstream fashion names, mixed in with more alternative and independent designers. From the likes of alt friendly labels such as Lush, & Eyeko in the 'beauty zone', through to a plethora of alternative talent from 'Vampire bunnies' to 'Beadesaurus' in the 'offbeat boutique'.

There really is plenty to see & do throughout the day, with the new Sknitch zone which saw an abundance of sewing and knitting tutorials by Clothkits, a sknitch and bitch zone where newbies could learn knitting skills, & you could even pick up a bundle of new crafting materials from traders in the zone.

Clothes show live

Just nestled off from the Sknitch stand was the 'blue zone' which housed a selection of vintage & alternative treats, with a pop up stand from Anita's vintage fairs which saw a selection of vintage traders and finds; & just nestled across you could find the likes of 'Bow and crossbones' with their vintage inspired treats.

Clothes show live

Even flitting between zones you could find catwalk shows rotating throughout the day; with a spotlight on student designers in the 'blue zone' that showcased up and coming talent.

It certainly was a larger scale than I'd imagined, it was so easy to get lost amongst the many stands and pop up boutiques that I'd even missed out on a few traders I meant to visit. But a day is still ample time to take in the stands, view a few shows, and take a nose around the Sknitch zone. If next year's show is on a similar par I'll certainly be putting together a more strategic plan for the day.

Whilst the stands are somewhat daunting, there were a few too many similar stands in the more mainstream zones for my liking but if you've not been to an event like this before it's certainly worth a visit, but you really do need to scrimp on the cash to save up for the entrance and purchases on the day alone. But a few bargains were to be found, with stalls offering bargain bags, reduced stock & a few freebies with certain purchases.

You can find out about future events at