Style icon Alexander McQueen might be hard to beat as one of Lewisham’s most fashionable exports, but a creative team of volunteers have come pretty close in designing and hosting one of South London’s top community fashion events.
Now in its fourth year, Forest Hill Fashion Week will take over the area from Thursday 22 – Sunday 25 September. Brought to the community by Forest Hill Arts - the group that saved Forest Hill library – the festival will host a number of fashion-inspired events suitable for everyone.
The full programme is available here. Highlights include cupcake decorating at Sugar Mountain, a clothes swap at The Archie Parker, a clothes and craft fair at V22 Louise House, live music by Crepe Records and the all-dazzling catwalk show created by Gems Performing Arts and Sugar Mountain. All events are free – most you can just turn up on the day but some need to be pre-booked so check the website for more details.
One of the highlights of Forest Hill Fashion Week is the Pavement2Catwalk workshops. This work is curated by actor and singer Donald Waugh, who after making a career in Grange Hill and Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, was unexpectedly hit by homelessness and addiction. Following his own recovery, he set up the Pavement2Catwalk community interest company which runs workshops with marginalised groups. For Forest Hill Fashion Week he has been working with Blenheim ReAL, Catford – Brighter Horizons, Downham and Link Place, Hainault, who will create pieces for the catwalk show.
The catwalk, held on Sunday 25 September at V22 will also feature pieces from Uniquely Lalah, Emperor Empress, Best of Both Boutique and Georgia Nash, all accompanied by music by Lydia Maddix and Crepe Records.
If you’re in Forest Hill on the 25th watch out for the flash mob that will be popping-up throughout the day. There will also be a kids’ golden ticket trail with tickets to be discovered all along Dartmouth Road and sweets to be won from Sugar Mountain.
The festival is a testament to the community spirit of Forest Hill, which thrives on local businesses – some mentioned above – and many others such as Aga’s Little Deli and The Railway Telegraph which come to life during this event and other times throughout the calendar creating a neighbourhood that locals are proud to be a part of and others love to visit.
FHFW is coordinated by Pauline Wright, from Sugar Mountain, and Emma Drysdale of Forest Hill Arts and supported by a team of volunteer displaying a shining example of community engagement in action. Pauline says “FHFW is not just about fashion, it’s about bringing the community together. I love working with Emma as we bounce off each other’s enthusiasm and with Donald [Waugh] who is a complete inspiration to all.” Emma added “I am pleased to be able to offer the community fun and free events. Forest Hill has such wonderful community spirit and hopefully it will grow and grow."
Events like this will only be able to grow if locals get behind them and take part. So don’t be a diva, strut on down to Forest Hill later this month and get a slice of the fabulousness!
You can use your Lewisham Card at several Forest Hill businesses hosting the Fashion week, including:
Sugar Mountain - 20% off
The Archie Parker - 10% off
Aga’s Little Deli - 10% off
Railway Telegraph - 20% off food Mon - Thurs
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