Fashion's Night Out: The cultural edit

Phoebe Hurst

As the annual, fashionable night out leaves London for the first time, we highlight the best cultural happenings set to take place.

Manchester is no stranger to fashion. Once known as “Cottonopolis,” the city made its fortune in thread and fabric. From cotton mills to warehouses and factories, it’s impossible to escape the architectural reminders of Manchester’s textile-orientated past. Thanks to the vintage stores and sportswear brands born in the Northern Quarter and Spinningfield’s luxury boutiques, modern day Manchester is a domineering force, if not in fashion, then at least in the retail stakes.

It’s interesting, then that international fashion bible Vogue chose Manchester as the first UK city outside of London to host the latest Fashion’s Night Out. The great and the good of the style world journey North next month for the annual shopping event, which features specially coordinated events from Selfridges, Burberry and Harvey Nichols. As part of the Manchester Weekender, venues and museums around the city are also involved, and stage a special night of style-themed discussions, tours and events.

Manchester Art Gallery spearheads the evening with a fashionable edition of its Thursday Lates series. The after-hours gallery event features a pop-up vintage fair stocked with handpicked pieces from independent traders, as well as its usual offerings of art, food and drink. Curators from the Gallery of Costume and professional photographers are on hand to capture visitors’ new finds in a Vintage Vogue photoshoot and lead a discussion exploring the very definition of fashion – and why it matters.

The Sisters Gorgeous have a thing or two to say about why fashion matters

The Sisters Gorgeous would certainly have a thing or two to say on the subject of why fashion matters. The underground performance collective host their Fashion’s Night Out life-drawing and photography event clad entirely in a monochrome palate. Staged at the Cornerhouse, the drop-in event takes inspiration from the gallery’s current Double Indemnity exhibition and film noir season. Expect ‘40s couture and razer-sharp cheek bones.

The Manchester Style: Art, Fashion and Craft tour, meanwhile takes to the Northern Quarter in its celebration of Manchester’s style heritage. Starting at Manchester Craft and Design Centre, the walk tells the story of the city’s textiles industry, taking in exhibitions and events at the Chinese Arts Centre and Manchester Art Gallery. Fashion explorers end up at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Spinningfields, just in time for its launch night and a “sound” performance from designer-maker, Hanna Neilsen.

Back at the Chinese Arts Centre, the gallery hosts Re-form, a showcase of UK-based Chinese designers inspired by the principles of geometry and the connections between science and nature. In honour of Fashion’s Night Out, Manchester School of Art graduate, Sophie Ho and Central St. Martin’s jewellery design graduate, Dian Luo talk about their search for the perfect form and share their future-facing designs. Finally, over at Castlefield Gallery, Nicola Ellis and Aura Satz’s Head to Head exhibition has a special late night opening, allowing visitors to experience the Manchester-based sculptor’s polyurethane creation and Satz’s Tate Modern-featured film installation in a fashionably late setting. Venues across the city, including Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, M2 3JL, 6pm-9pm, Thursday 10 October, free.

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