FW Awards 2016 – The Winners

This weekend the 5th Annual FW Awards were held (see previous winners here) at our hastily rearranged event. The event is usually a picnic but the monsoon like conditions of the week meant that the picnic was abandoned and the awesome and amazing Lights Of Soho stepped in to let us host the great and good of the industry. Brewer Street is of course the perfect location for the awards and Lights Of Soho are part of LFW and overlook the Brewer Street Car Park that it’s held in.

So after all the deliberations, we were ready to turn the shortlists into winners. So who did my guests get to see revealed as the new champions of 2016?

We’ll start with the ones I decide . .

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FW Best Independent Designer – Joshua Kane

josh award

Joshua Kane takes home the title this year, and is the first Menswear collection (reviewed here) to have lifted the most coveted trophy in fashion though between nominations and awards day he has also released a stunning womens-wear collection.

Joshua is the absolute definition of what makes this award so special, he is engaged in every level of his business. He can be found on the till, doing the fittings, creating all the prints to make the fabrics he uses and creating every single look. Not only is he a producer of such a stunning collection that everyone I speak to about him simply adores but he is also an innovator.

He has moved the dial on how fashion should interact with people. He’s produced stunning videos of his shows and campaigns that allow people to experience what it was like to be there. He’s embraced click to buy in that content and understands that fashion doesn’t belong behind windows, it needs to be engaged with.

Nominees – Ethologie London, Ong-Oaj Pairam, James Kelly, Charlotte Zimbehl, Sports Philosophy, Vin & Omi

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FW Best Independent Accessory Maker

Winners Emma J Shipley & Little Shilpa

This was a new award this year and when it came to deciding who should win I couldn’t split two designers.

Emma J Shipley produces the most beautiful, light and tactile scarves. Her prints are all created from her own designs, and like all of my fave designers she is engaged at every single step of the production. Elegant, chic and utterly adaptable, in a year when the scarf became a go to item, Emma delivered hit after hit after hit.

Little Shilpa, the insane word of Little Shilpa, how to describe it, she is the most incredibly theatrical designer, each piece is a conformance. There is no other designer doing what she does, and yet she never delivers the same thing twice, in the space of six months she delivered the epic Alice In Wonderland style collection then moved of to simple pastels with the ext set of creations, but make no mistake, each piece is not just for wow & show, the collections are all very very wearable.

Nominees – Caitlin Charles-Jones, Brix & Bailey, Promises Promises, Imogen Belfield, Velsvoir

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FW Best Radio Show

Winner – Fashcast with Steff Jones & The Preshaah

Radio on Friday’s should be fun, it should have a great set of tunes to get you feeling good for the weekend, and it should have presenters that make you feel like you are not just tuning in, but are part of what they are doing. #Fashcast does that on Hoxton Radio for an hour at 11am every Friday.

Steff & David have created a show that has great guests and plenty of fashion chat while being funny, warm and engaging. We are all emotionally invested in #DatingWithDavid, we all want to know what Steff has bee up to, and you get all this plus the low down on whats happening over the weekend in London and the weather, it’s quite a packed hour.

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FW Best Event – Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair


Clerkenwell has fought off fierce competition to retain the title. While all three are stunning markets with amazing traders who care passionately about what they do, I’m yet to meet a trader at any of these three events for who this is just a business rather than a lifestyle, Clerkenwell pushed ahead with the other things it also does.

Not content with 50 of the best vintage traders you could hope to find in one place, not content with being in the beautiful setting of the building it is in CVF offers even more, a tea room with some of the best hand made cakes and treats in London, and properly made cups of tea, a rarity in the age of the coffee machine, it offers a beautician, it offers a specialist in alteration and repairs, and on top of that there are some amazing musicians that play live at every event. Savitri Coleman and her team haven’t just created a great fair they have created a day out that is unsurpassed in London right now.

If you want to check it out, the last one before their summer recess is Sunday the 12th of June, make sure you go if you can.

Nominees – Crafty Fox Market, Hackney Flea Market

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FW Friend Of The Site Award

Ali Lowe Of Felicities 


Alongside giving me incredible access to the labels connected to Felicities Ali has been a great support this year. Regular readers will know that I had a period where I was really struggling with producing anything and Ali via a telling off and then spending some time with me to get my ideas and thought processes straight again really is part of the reason I didn’t walk away from all this during that period.

Ali is far to modest about just how supportive she has been, but in a world where people don’t say thank you enough she is someone I really have to say it to.

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Over to the awards created by the judging panel short lists.

FW Best Blog

Winner – Jess On Thames

The best blog is a short list created by the specific judging panel who then score the nominated blogs. This year one site above all others stood out in an amazing field, comments coming back praised the photography, personal feel and the exceptional content.

In the words of Julie from A Lady In London who nominated Jess on Thames

“Jess is an amazing expat blogger who writes about everything from London life to travel. She’s a great photographer and has a unique way of bringing her subjects to life.”

Nominees – Wander to WonderkalanchoePolkadot PinkPint Sized BeautyNadaAdelletherunnerbeansFashion Slave!

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Now over to the over judging panel that creates the other short lists, that I then pick from

Best Designer

Winner – Balmain

This was the year Balmain stormed the red carpet signing off at the Met Gala with not just one, not just two, but four of the best looks of the night. It has used it’s heritage as a platform to deliver hit after red carpet hit, and some of the most achingly beautiful collections to have graced runways, magazines and shops this year. Much like those Met Gala looks, everything this most august of French Houses sparkled and shimmered with everything it took a needle to in the last 12 months.

Such is the revival of the House Of Balmain that it’s gone from never being nominated in the previous four years to winner this year.

Nominated – Natalie B Coleman, Ashley Isham, Alessandro Michele for Gucci, Isabel Marant, Chanel, Armani Prive, Proenza Schouler

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Best High Street Store

Winner – Uniqlo

Uniqlo was perhaps a surprise winner for some, but after the short list was released they led feedback from people, their collaborations have been spot on and they maintain a position of warmth on the High treet by not having been caught up in the ethical fire storms that have hit many labels in the last few years and quite frankly being the best store for staples. Their cashmere jumpers are simple yet feel amazing, they have an amazing range of colours and collar types. Uniqlo have become the go to store for the simple that sits alongside the statement pieces in your wardrobe, but they have still managed some beautiful coats over the winter and some fabulous tailoring of day wear.

Nominated – Liberty London, Topshop, Mango, Zara, ASOS, COS

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Worst High Street Store

Winner – Top Shop

Top Shop retains the least wanted title in fashion, for many many reasons that I and you gave as well as getting two nominations.Top Shop splits fashion folk down the middle, as you can see above it was also nominated for best store.

However this year has been an anus horribilis to quote our Monarch. Away from the clothes racks, the owner has been further implicated in his tax affairs, will be hauled in front of parliament over his alleged pension plundering, and Top Shop has been dealing with the fall out from a court case linked to low wages and removing employees taking action for a living wage. On top of that the fashion elites fave shop keeper has managed to drag Beyonce into being linked to sweatshops, quite the year!!!

But alongside that many people I follow on social media have voiced their feeling that the collections continue to fall in quality and desire, that they have now firmly lost the aspirational fashionista quality they had a decade ago and have become H&M at Zara prices. Various profit reports in the last few years would indicate its a rocky patch at least for them.

Nominated – American Apparel, Primark, Miss Selfridge, New Look, Zara, Desigual

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Best Trend – Athleisure

This has been the year that fitness clothing made the final leap from being looked down on to being part of everybodies wardrobe. Athleisure means clothing that transitions from home to gym and meets the desire to look good as you go about the things you have to do. It’s completed it’s arrival on the High Street as much as in our homes and quite simply nothing can match how ubiquitous it has become.

Nominated -Piled up neutrals, Bomber jackets, Frayed edges, The 70s still sticking around, Off the shoulder, Double Breasted Wool/Felt Coats

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Worst Trend – Patent Ankle Boots

Because they are bloody awful*

*sorry if you like them, we can still be friends 😀

Nominees – Cut Outs, The 70’s, The 80s, Cropped palazzos, Ironic brand T-Shirts, Bralet over shirt layering

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Best Accessory 

Winner – Neck Scarves

They can be dressed up, they can be dressed down, they can be used as belts, they can be wrapped round bag handles. Simply put they are a very easy way to change up and refresh the looks in your wardrobe while adding either a jaunty feel or a chic lift to any outfit. They really made a comeback this year. and because you can get them in any pattern or print imaginable they can enhance the uniqueness of who you are.

Nominated –  Simple Bags, Chloe Drew Bag, Sunnies, Bucket Bags, The Tiara, Statement Earrings (Shoulder Dusters)

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The Always Incredible Style Icon Of The Year 

Winner – David Bowie

Not sure I really need to explain the importance of David Bowie to British fashion, he didn’t just inspire a few looks, he inspired entire fashion movements, from Glam Rock, via the Berlin Period to The Thin White Duke, Bowie was the van guard, he was our lightening rod to where we were going to be heading.

He worked with some of the greatest designers of all time and he made so many of us brave enough to embrace who we were, he made it ok to be different and individual and he did it all with a grace and ease that could only be admired.

It feels right that he is remembered not only for the music but for the style, even in his passing he remains an icon to this industry and so many people.

Nominated – Taylor Swift, Diane Kruger, Iris Apfel, Victoria Beckham, Cate Blanchette

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Best Awards Outfit 

Winner – Alicia Vikander’s Oscars dress by Louis Vuitton

BD 8 Alicia Vikander Oscars

Stunning elegant, great use of colour, sparing but effective use of print, this ticks every box, its everything you want from an awards dress. Alicia Vikander never missed a beat all the way through Awards Season but this was definitely the pick of the lot from her.

Nominated – Keiran Shipka in Erdem at The SAG Awards, Taylor Swift in Versace at The Grammys 2016, Cate Blanchett in Alexander McQueen at The Baftas, Lady Gaga as Bowie by Marc Jacob at the Grammys, Kendall Jenner In Versace Atelier at The Met Gala, Jennifer Lawrence in Dior at The Oscars 2016, Saoirse Ronan By Calvin Klein at The Oscars

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Worst Awards Outfit Of The Year

Winner – Cheryl Fernandez-Versini at the BRIT Awards

WD 2 Cheryl Brits

I mean just look at it, I can’t find a single positive, Cheryl usually is very well dressed and a regular in the best of the red carpets, but this is like someone fired brocade at an old pair of frayed net curtains then dyed it in custard. Secondly why are Brits dresses so much worse than other red carpets?

When I read out the short list to the guests they hadn’t even seen the pic I had, but everyone of them said yes that was awful as it had stuck in their heads.

Nominated – Izzy Bizu in Stella McCartney at the BRIT Awards, Miley Cyrus everywhere, Madonna at The Met Gala, Heidi Klum by Marchesa at the Oscars, Manika’s Grammys dress by Arthur Christine

About Ross Pollard

Since starting writing on my 31st birthday in 2011 I have held a number of positions at magazines and websites as well as regularly producing articles for numerous publications alongside contributing to TV & radio shows as a freelance fashion journalist including Hoxton Radio & Fashion One TV. Alongside writing, I have worked in other industries helping to design & grow digital platforms, develop businesses and support operations practices. This experience has proved invaluable in building an understanding of how businesses work, and the landscape in which retail, B2B commerce and other commercial operations develop. Knowledge of commercial interests has helped shape my fashion industry insights beyond critiquing of garments

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