Leeds School of Arts

Fashion inspiration in Leeds

I’m a senior lecturer on the BA (Hons) Fashion Marketing and MA Fashion degrees, and I know how hard it can be for my students to keep inspired, particularly when you are always being asked to ‘think of ideas’ for projects.

Leeds fashion

But the beauty of Leeds is that it is a city that’s woven through with creative hotspots. By taking some time out to engage with these outlets, you’ll find that those ideas will soon bubble up. It won’t take long for the challenge to shift from ‘what idea?’ to ‘which idea?’

Here are four of those hotspots to visit:

  • The Village: One place that I find inspirational, and I know my students enjoy visiting, is The Village bookstore – not least because it’s a respite from seeing the same old online fashion stories. It’s a teeny-tiny shop that makes up for its diminutive floor space with a giant range of zines, magazines and books. Publications are curations of people’s ideas, and by engaging with these on paper, you’ll find inspiration and motivation from other fashion creatives around the world. You’ll also get an understanding of editorial fashion promotion.
  • Colours May Vary: I’d like to say this is another magazine shop but the premises give so much more. The shop is located in Munro House, and there is a café and exhibition space. A browse of indie magazines followed by a latte and a peruse of a creative exhibition is a potent cocktail to get those ideas flowing. The exhibitions may not always be fashion based but fashion is about creating narratives in fabric, runway shows, collections, trends and styling. All these narratives are summed up in fashion magazines. These are the key points to refer to if you’re looking for sparks to generate an idea.
  • Victoria Quarter: And then there’s the visual merchandising (VM) of the various outlets in the city. VM is a way to reflect the trends and identities associated with a brand. From the Indies such as Blue Rinse to the internationals such as H&M, the visual merchandising of the stores will ramp up your ideas in terms of styling, buying, VM and retail. The Victoria Quarter gathers together a mighty collection of global fashion brands, including All Saints, Vivienne Westwood and & Other Stories, so if you’re pushed for time, go here for a full-on fashion fix.
  • Street style: Finally, for fashion inspiration, you can’t beat the street style of Leeds. The city is comparatively young, with the majority of its population in their 20s. Combine that with the music scene, creative university courses and the support for start-ups, and you’ve got a vibrancy in urban style. Take your camera, go for a walk, and you’ll find fashion inspiration all around you.

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