Fashion Editor at Large recently voiced the theory that my generation – enthralled by reality TV shows like Project Catwalk and *ahem* The City – have come to see fashion as a form of entertainment unto itself. She assures me that when she was my age seats were hard to fill and the whole show-scene was a very business-like affair compared to the front row celebrities, bloggers, blaggers and show-crashers of recent seasons.
I think she’s right. Possibly because the champagne reception, the goody bags, and the paparazzi-esque street style photographers create a general air of privilege and exclusivity normally reserved for celebrities.
Of course there will be actual celebrities in attendance, and those celebrities understand how important it is to associate themselves with the right labels. Last year Beyonce and Cheryl Cole expressed a propensity for new designers when they both wore David Koma, thereby propelling him to top of the agenda in editor's meetings at the major fashion magazines. Off the back of the resulting buzz off schedule has become the new ‘on’ schedule, and Vauxhall Fashion Scout has had to move to the Freemasons Building to accommodate a 20% increase in demand for seats.
Competition for space is particularly fierce for the winner of this season's Merit Award - Hermione de Paula – whose prints look like reflections on a rippling lake.
"Hermione is extremely talented and is becoming renowned for her beautiful prints. Last season we showcased her as part of our Ones to Watch show which resulted in a huge amount of press coverage and her work being picked up by Browns Focus"
Martyn Roberts, Director, Vauxhall Fashion Scout
de Paula (who is of course a St. Martins graduate) will have her first stand-alone catwalk show sponsored by Vauxhall Fashion Scout as part of the Merit Award initiative. She will also receive PR and sales support through a tailored mentoring program which will help cultivate her talent and push the nitty gritty business aspects of the enterprise forward.
Judges - including Vogue.com's Jessica Bumpus, Jemma Dyas from Browns Focus, and Susie 'Bubble' Lau - look for 'creativity, quality of work, and business development' in a Merit Award winner, and the bar has been set pretty damn high by previous winners like these two:
And William Tempest
But if you really want to get a handle on who the big fashion stars of tomorrow are today, get a front row, second row, or even a standing ticket to Ones To Watch. This season's geniuses in the making are ASKH, David Longshaw, Eudon Choi, and Florence Kozuch.
Log on to FEAL on Friday 19th and find out which one I predict Cheryl will be wearing in a few months time...