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FAST TRACK TO FASHION SHOW UJIA 2015

3 Weeks!

That's all the time we had from June meeting Jane [Show Co-ordinator] to the evening of the show.

A charity fashion show for United Jewish Israel Appeal (www.ujia.org), 12th November, with 10 female models for us to dress for the grand finale.

Each year June Parsons Designs chooses to support local charities and community events.  We have been touched by the many conflicts around the world and when Jane offered the opportunity to get involved with UJIA we felt compelled to say yes.  To those individuals who questioned whether involvement in this fashion show was the right move for June Parsons Designs, we say yes.  It wasn't for any political reasons.  Just simply for our human responsibility.  We are all responsible for the welfare of our fellow humans.  UJIA is investing in education and communities in Israel.  It is only through education and strength of good character that the world can peacefully move forward together. 

 

First things first. Can we do it? Yes, we can. Of course we can. And keep our standards? Hmm, it's going to be tough and challenging. It's going to be great. 

 

What size are the models? Who are the models? Are they professional or volunteers? That makes a difference. Professional models turn up, get measured and wait for you to put clothes on them like a coat hanger. They wear your clothes without question and get the job done. Volunteers come in with the high street fashion buyer's sense and opinions. They don't want to simply be your clothes hanger for 5 minutes. This is also good because you get a better idea of how consumers might feel when wearing your clothes.

 

Anyone can look decent in a standard shop bought wedding dress. But to carry off flamboyant individual designs with style and flair, you have to be self assured and comfortable in your own skin. Luckily, the volunteers were of this calibre.

 

The ten models drifted in over the next two weeks. Yes, you heard correct - two weeks. Did we mention we only had three weeks until the show? For a high street shop which stocks hundreds of other designer's dresses from factories, that's not a problem. But for a bespoke design business that only stocks a few samples because every design is a one off and made to order, that is a big challenge.

 

Eventually we had all the models' measurements and started to match samples to them. It soon became evident that our tall curvy samples did not match many of the petite models. We would need to make 6 full outfits, steam clean 1 sample dress, make 2 extra skirts to match 2 sample corsets and make an extra corset to match a sample skirt.

 

We were determined to stay true to our company values which include:

 

* Superior fit and finish – without enough time to do mock ups and extra fittings we just had to wing it with fit and go as near to standard sizing as possible. All our bespoke garments are lined and often interlined for maximum quality and have hand stitched hems. With one week to make the best part of 9 outfits, something had to give. We opted for fast fashion rolled hems on all the skirts and dress. It's not the end of the world; the hems can be hand finished at a later date for anyone who wishes to purchase the sample outfits.

 

* Uniqueness – The English Garden corset has proved to be a hit with our various audiences over the course of this year and one of the models for this show really liked it but it was far to big for her. It would have required an awful lot of work to adjust it so we set out to make another. To stay true to our Uniqueness value, we changed the flowers to an open cup white rose with Swarovski pearls in the centres and peach dog roses scattered across the lace. The original sample had antique pink roses and peony with Swarovski crystals in the centres and orange blossom scattered.

 

We arrived at the Audi showroom in Leeds which was our venue for the evening. It was 5pm precisely so we had plenty of time to establish ourselves in the changing area. We then found out that another bridal company was also taking part during the second half of the show. There goes our promised grand finale. June took it in her professional stride. These things can happen at the last minute. We hung all our garments up, set out corsets and tiaras on a table, stacked hat boxes on the floor and waited.

 

Our team for the night was made up of a fabulous Assistant Margaret Woodhead and Helen Coughlan the creative designer owner of Lady Rosemary's Hats. Helen had met with June in the early stages to discuss ideas for creating a set of fascinators and hatinators to compliment the outfits.

 

As the show played out it became evident that everyone was running behind time and our changing time was rapidly shortening with the delay of each suppliers scenes. We needed 9 minutes to dress the models. We got 3. Yes, I kid ye not. We got 3 minutes to dress 10 models in corseted outfits. We managed but the tiaras remained on the table.

 

The show must go on and the models were chivied onto the catwalk as one group. We had set them in order of 3 scenes with 3 music tracks but because of timing issues from previous scenes, our collection went out as one. Each scene would have had it's own description explaining the reasoning, style options and appropriate music track. It ended up being a mish mash of styles to one track, Diamonds Are Forever by Shirley Bassey. It didn't matter to the audience; their applauding and smiles confirmed this. They were captivated by the use of colours, embellishments and silhouettes.

 

Here's the plan for our scenes:

 

Scene 1 – Whimsical – for the playful little girl within us all

Sea Foam silk and flowers Victorian style corset with long fishtail skirt

Chartreuse silk corset with hand made lace decals, crystals and silk tulle skirt

1930s style ice blue silk dress with crystal detail

 

Scene 2 - Alternative – for second time brides & glamorous individuals

Black crystal corset and short organza skirt

Purple lace and crystal corset with long ballgown skirt

Black feather corset with bias cut skirt

 

Scene 3 – Traditional – for the ladies who simply must have a white wedding

White lace and crystal simple corset with long fishtail skirt

White lace and crystal Victorian style corset with long fitted fishtail skirt

Champagne gold dress with diamante belt

JP showstopper silk corset with dramatic ballgown skirt

 

Now we have evaluated the work, the show and written up lessons learned, as you do with these things. We have set aside the garments and they will become available to purchase over the coming months. More photos of the outfits will be added to the website soon. 

If you are interested in purchasing one of the samples please contact us for details. Email info@juneparsons.com Phone 07825587803.

 

June's team of 3 Seamstresses, 1 Milliner and 1 Assistant were brilliant at getting the collection together with such short notice.

 

Would we do it again? Of course.

 

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