MANCHESTER’S first Fashion and Lifestyle Exhibition (taking place on the 11 and 12 October at Event City near the Trafford Center) seemed like a promising event to many.

The adverts for it assured the attendance of over 15,000 visitors – including Elle magazine – many celebrities, and fashion retailers, such as Bohoo.

Alas, the exhibition did not live up to its promise. In the late Sunday afternoon of 12 October, the police was forced to shut it down due to the uproar and protests of the discontented stallholders.

An exhibitor at this event was young business entrepreneur, Chloe Avon -who was to showcase her aspiring Staffordshire-based modelling agency Dream Street Models. Chloe Avon @Manchester Fashion&Lifestyle

‘I have never done such large scale projects before,’ shares Avon. ‘I usually like to keep everything low key and affordable without too much of a risk. But this event seemed like a perfect opportunity and could really make a massive difference for the models we have on book. So we booked in!’

Imagine Avon’s surprise when, arriving a day before the exhibition, she discovered that her participation fee of £2,000 provided her with just a piece of carpet to display on.

We actually had to go out and buy the furniture ourselves to make our stand look more appealing’.

But worse was yet to come. On the first day of the expo, the entertainment program, which included two fashion shows running at 12 and 5, was majorly delayed. Thus, the few visitors of this event departed angry and complaining.

On Sunday, the exhibition turned into a disastrous fiasco. All footfall was lost and on top of that there was a no-show from Elle or any of the other promised retailers and celebrities.

In the early afternoon, all stallholders were asked by the organizers to pack their stalls and leave immediately. They were not welcome or wanted anymore.

Thirty-six of the participants felt they were mis-sold. They were however, brave enough to gather around the organizers’ office to protest and to demand a refund.

‘The whole exhibition was then shut down by the police, who ushered us to leave’, remembers Avon.

An ambulance was even called to the scene, since one of the organizers was said to be having a panic attack.

And in this whole chaos, the rest of the organizers were able to suddenly vanish – with all of the stallholders’ money.

‘Now all exhibitors are left in the dark. We probably will not get a refund for the money we have lost’, Avon spoke on behalf of all.

The expo was described by many as an absolute disaster and for Avon – it was ‘an emotionally draining experience’.

I need to get my business back on track. Attending this event has put me in an awful situation, since I have invested way too much into it’,  she concluded indignantly.

Yet, if this event had been better organized, it would have been an absolute success since the exhibitors had so much to offer.

The few fashionistas in attendance came face to face with the most dazzling (Siamese Twin’s sequenced fashion line), the most elegant (Sofia Dourvani’s exquisite gowns with embellished Greek motifs) and the most creative (Eustratia’s latex collection) names in the Northwest fashion industry.

Below we have organized a few pictures and a bit of information about our favourite stands, participating in the exhibition.

1) Nzuri

Nzuri clothing is a brand inspired by Uganda’s many colours and its passionate people. The tribal jewellery it offers comes in round shapes of all sizes and bright colours. Nzuri’s clothing line resembles the typical Uganda-styled tribal dresses. All of the items in the collection are handmade by women in Uganda, who receive 50 per cent of all profit of the company. Nzuri

2) Sofia Dourvari

Sofia Dourvari’s Mediterranean roots are perceived in her exquisite, light and feminine gowns. These sheer fabrics are created with a wide range of occasions in mind. Sofia Dourvari is also not afraid to experiment with colours and shapes, while keeping her designs simple. In her timeless gowns, you will discover her signature mark – the embellished Greek motifs.

Sofia Dourvari

3) Siamese Twin

Siamese Twin’s collection was perhaps one of the most impressive ones on the catwalk. The designs incorporated sequins and floral patterns to produce a bright array of trendy clothing, inspired by the 90s movement in the United States. Siamese Twin (2)

4) Eustratia

Eustratia showcased a fantasy of garments, inspired by nature. With her latest collection, designer Stacey Black was able to create a fairytale of darkness and romance with futuristic elements. Her designs were entirely made of latex with lace added to create an essence of mysterious and seductive provocation. And on top of everything – her show on the catwalk was absolutely stunning. It actually left the audience speechless with its choreographed routines and dance.

Eustratia