The poster boy fashion designer has to be Richard Gair of Gogairy Hand Painted Leathers. Two years ago he underwent a double organ transplant to cure his diabetes and failing kidney. To get him through his recovery he focused on his dream of setting up a fashion label based around his passion of drawing and his company was launched last year. He will be on the catwalk at Manchester Fashion Week despite facing another life threatening operation to remove a hernia the size and weight of a large watermelon. Also sporting a foot in a brace after breaking it and requiring it in a boot for 3 months, this man endures a daily cocktail of medication to keep him alive, to sustain the beating of his heart and instead of sitting at home, he has grabbed his life with gusto and making his dreams come true.
Positive mental health is not a trendy phrase, it's a way of life. It is the mindset of looking on the bright side of life and often our minds have to be reprogrammed for this. It is taking responsibility for every action you make. That new pair of shoes you can't afford but went ahead and bought anyway is not not your boyfriend's fault after he slung an unkind comment your way. You could have run a bubble bath and turned up Alexa instead of burning through the credit card.
Positive mental health is all about learning. Try something you haven't done before like come to Manchester Fashion Week opening night show at Hotel Football.
I bet many of you have never even been to a fashion show. Do you know what expect? The thrill of seeing brand new design collections from some of the UK's on trend new designers is unprecedente . There's menswear, womenswear and genderless wear.. Our ethos has always been that fashion is for everyone regardless of size, shape, gender or age. We all wear clothes. We all want to look good and feel fabulous.
Manchester Fashion Week has always championed of body confidence and that is reflected once again this year with the launch of UK brand Box & Scandal. It's owner is determined not to use super toned men on the catwalk as they parade designer boxer shorts aimed at comfort first for men of all shapes and sizes.
Equally Manchester brand, Kintsugi, is an all inclusive label targeting women using wheelchairs and those with prosthetic limbs who want to feel stylish in tailored pieces that are easy to slip on.
Fashion has always been used as a prop for mental health. The clothes we wear give us different sensations. A favourite outfit can make us feel a million dollars while a comfy out of shape onesie are left for our "fat" and "unattractive" days. Similarly shopping for a new outfit is often seen as a quick fix for the instant feel good factor.
I firmly believe that London should not be the central hub for creative talent in the fashion industry and it is incredibly frustrating that the north of the Uk has been overlooked in the past. Designers should not have to flock south to gain the attention of key buyers. North west most definitely is best. We have a rich history of a once flourishing textile industry that has seen a recent revival with brand such as Nooshin, who will be walzing down the catwalk with her Iranian-inspired hand made fabrics.
Manchester streetstyle features heavily with new brands Twisted Couture and Lethal Combination. Edgy and stylish, we ensure that the men are not left behind in the fashion stakes. Fashion promotes equality. Fashion promotes fun. Fashion inspires, energises and creates positive feelings. It gives hope to both the designers looking to expand their carers, and empowerment to the models chosen to be the face of their brand.
The entire creative team of make up artists headed by the award winning Sarah Halsall and hairdressers, stylists, dressers, backstage coordinators managed by Natalie Scully and myself ensures that we remain as always, a huge fashion week family supporting and uplifting each other. Now that's something to smile about.
Manchester Fashion Week opening night show takes place at Hotel Football on Monday 13 May. Doors open 5.30pm, shows start at 6pm.