5th Edinburgh Fashion Festival debates the ‘Future of Fashion’

Photo courtesy: EIFF 2016

The transformation of fashion in the modern era will be addressed by leading fashion figures in this year’s Edinburgh International Fashion Festival this week from Thursday 21 to Sunday 24 July.

The grand opening on the Thursday evening will take place in Ocean Terminal, featuring a talk from acclaimed hair stylist Gianni Scumaci and the launch of a dedicated pop-up shop in collaboration with ‘Sink the Pink’.

Photo: EIFF 2016
Photo: EIFF 2016

During the rest of the four-day event a number of free symposiums at the National Museum will debate fashion’s future in the capital – from the popular emergence of unisex clothing to the influence of social media on the evolution of the lifestyle brand – as well as exhibitions and other events.

The programme boasts a number of esteemed speakers in the sector, including Adam Welch of MR PORTER, Holli Rogers, CEO of Browns, Azza Yousif of Vogue Hommes and Le Monde’s Alice Pfeiffer discussing some of the most striking changes in fashion from a unique industry perspective.

The programme – organised by Festival founder  Anna Freemantle-Zee – offers an insight into how the sector has evolved and highlights the key influencers that are shaping fashion and lifestyle brands today offering audiences a chance to hear what the experts think in an ever-changing industry that continues to mirror society.

Anna was inspired to launch the country’s biggest celebration of the industry in Edinburgh as she believes Scotland holds a lot of talent and offers an abundance of networking opportunities.  The model appreciates Edinburgh’s “true concern for where the industry is heading and what needs to be done to change things”.

EIFF 2016
Photo: EIFF 2016

Kicking off the symposiums is ‘Object of Desire’ – an examination of the relationship between fashion and sexuality and how attitudes to sex can be revealed through individual style. The panel, moderated by Alice Pfeiffer from LeMonde, will explore the inextricable link between creative capacity and sexual desire, while also touching on the rise of female influencers in fashion media.

Headlined by Adam Welch, editor of MR PORTER, the ‘Blurred Lines’ panel will analyse the less prominent gender gap in fashion branding and the consequent effect on the male consumer discussing how gender neutral clothing could soon be the norm.

Closing the symposium agenda a panel will delve into the power of social media to go beyond fashion and expand into a much broader vision of a lifestyle brand.  Panellist Charlotte Rey, co-founder of Campbell-Rey hopes to highlight how fashion is now present in every aspect of our lives, from furniture and books to food and music, as a result of the ‘‘Gram Generation”.

There will also be a talk led by Claire Bergkamp on Saturday afternoon at the UK’s leading low carbon innovation centre.  Claire currently oversees Stella McCartney’s ethical trade and hopes to offer her expertise through a sustainable business master class.

As part of the festival and an expansion on her 2014 exhibition, renowned author Saskia De Brauw will celebrate the launch of her new book, The Accidental Fold, at the Surgeons’ Hall on Saturday 23rd July.

Photo: EIFF 2016
Photo: EIFF 2016

To conclude the fashion festival Betony Vernon, renowned designer and sexual anthropologist, will hold a Q&A as well as a book signing of The Boudoir Bible on Sunday 24th July at 12.30pm before a final sleepwear salon show by Karen Mabon at the impressive Waldorf Astoria.  Mabon will unveil her latest signature sleepwear in an exclusive preview of the collection in the regal surroundings of the hotel.

The Edinburgh International Fashion Festival also includes a series of exhibitions, shows, workshops and panel talks in some of the city’s most exclusive venues such as the National Museum, The Royal College of Surgeons, The ECCI and the Waldorf Astoria.

Further information and to reserve free tickets visit:  www.internationalfashionfestival.com

Events and Exhibitions 2016

Clò Mór – Harris to Paris 21 June – end August 11am – late Waldorf Astoria – Caledonian Hotel
Festival Opening: Gianni Scumaci Talk/Exhibition 21 July 7.30pm-9.30pm Ocean Terminal
Object of Desire – Sex, Fashion and the Female Gaze (Symposium) 23 July 11am – 12.15pm National Museum of Scotland (auditorium) Chambers Street
Sustainable Business Models 23 July 12.30pm – 2pm ECCI, Infirmary Street
His or Hers Fashion/Future of Menswear (Symposium) 23 July 3.15pm –4.30pm National Museum of Scotland (auditorium) Chambers Street
All Things Sustainable by Stella McCartney 23 July – 7 August 10am – 5pm Archerfield House (Fletcher’s Spa), Dirleton
Saskia de Brauw Book Launch – The Accidental Fold 23 July 6.30pm-7.30pm Surgeon’s Hall Museums, Nicholson Street
The Way We Live and Shop (Symposium) 24 July 11am – 12.15pm National Museum of Scotland (auditorium) Chambers Street
Karen Mabon Sleepwear Salon Show 24 July 6pm – 8pm Pompadour by Galvin, The Caledonian

Symposiums (National Museum)

  1. Object of desire: Sex, fashion and the female gaze.

This panel discussion will consider fashion as the physical materialization of desire—examining how our attitudes to sex are made visible, literally, in how we choose to conceal, reveal or adorn our bodies with clothes and accessories. Unpicking the complicated relationship fashion has towards sensuality and sexuality it will interrogate the prejudices and politics of beauty, alongside the rising wave of female image-makers challenging the predominance of the male gaze in fashion advertising and media.


Alice Pfeiffer: Journalist at Le Monde with subject expertise on sexuality, eroticism, fashion, gender and feminism.


Betony Vernon: Designer, author and sexual anthropologist

Isabella Burley: Editor-in-Chief Dazed & Confused magazine; Guest Editor of Baroness magazine

Resha Sharma: Designer Fleet Ilya, leather fashion and bondage

  1. Blurred lines: His or hers fashion and the future of menswear

As the gender divide in fashion design becomes narrower, with girls borrowing from the boys and vice versa, and with an increasing number of brands choosing to show their men’s and women’s collections together, this panel interrogates the current state of menswear fashion from an industry perspective while also asking, to what extent is this trend alienating to the everyday male customer?

Moderator: Adam Welch: Editor, MR PORTER


Azza Yousif: stylist, Vogue Hommes

Erica Toogood: designer of Toogood Unisex Outerware

Maretyn Bal: Creative Director BLK DNM

Lou Stoppard: Editor, ShowStudio and curator of ‘Mad About The Boy’ exhibition at Fashion Space Gallery.

  1. The way we live… and shop: the rise and rise of the lifestyle brand

Blame it on Instagram, but just fashion is not enough—today people want to curate, buy (and ‘gram) beautiful things for every aspect of their lives: from clothes and beauty to furniture, books, homeware, music, food and art. This has resulted in a proliferation of niche brands as well as the extension of many fashion labels into lifestyle product ranges, either via collaborations or new business development. This panel will highlight the retailers, designers, creatives, artisans and editors leading the lifestyle movement.

Moderator: Fiona Mackay: brand strategist for fashion and lifestyle brands.


Holli Rogers, CEO of Browns, former Fashion Director at Net-a-Porter.

Charlotte Rey: Art Director and co-founder of Campbell-Rey, a creative consultancy and design partnership that specializes in luxury lifestyle brands.

Georgina Harding: founder, Semaine.com

Further information and to reserve free tickets visit:  www.internationalfashionfestival.com


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