Sheffield has long been known as the Steel City, a city which built itself from nothing to something putting itself firmly on the map with steelworks scattered throughout the city and products scattered throughout the world. Look in your cutlery drawer and you’ll more than likely find something with ‘made in Sheffield’ stamped on it in there. But now, years after the factories have closed and production has stopped, this Northern city is reinventing itself in another sector.
Welcome to Sheffield, the city of style.
It may not be the obvious choice when you think of the world’s most fashionable cities. Milan, Paris, London and New York rule the roost but look a little further and you’ll find a fashion revolution happening right here.
For big brand names Sheffield’s High Street is not exactly booming, you’ll find those in Meadowhall – our 20 year old shopping centre and one of the first to be built in the country. It may have been a brilliant investment for the city back in the early 90’s but it has punished the city centre over the past few years of recession. Though, if you are on the lookout for something different, there’s plenty to be found in the centre of Sheffield, little boutiques and alt brand labels now well-known and established are here.
One of our biggest fashion exports is Drop Dead Clothing, the man behind it: Oli Sykes, lead singer of Bring Me The Horizon. Starting right here in Sheffield back in 2006 as a small t-shirt company it has now grown into a worldwide brand and one of the biggest alternative clothing brands in the UK. Worn by many, spotted on celebrities, shipping their products worldwide and 2 years ago they opened their first flagship store in London’s Carnaby Street.
Another big name is Alice Takes A Trip, a reworked vintage clothing company based in Sheffield but shipping all across the UK. Gaining fans and customers selling their clothes at vintage markets and via ASOS Marketplace, again it has become a big brand in the city building itself up from small roots to having a big UK following.
It’s not only fashion labels or an array of boutiques we are known for but the very successful and popular vintage fairs that now take place all around the country started right here. Founded in 2007 the fairs have gone from strength to strength, now held in over 20 UK cities taking place most weekends. They picked up on the retro trend with stalls full of vintage wears, vintage hair and make-up salons, tea and cakes and all for a small entry fee, it is a true fashion success story.
And any respectable fashion city needs its own fashion week and that’s exactly what Sheffield has. The first one was held in 2011, after its success it is back again for round two this year, showcasing the best in Sheffield fashion with events taking place around the city. In an interview with Sheffield’s local paper The Star, fashion week organiser Ben Sequerra wants us to stop our lack of confidence; “We don’t sell ourselves.”, take the next big thing because “We don’t make the most of the talent we have.” and showcase it for everyone to see.
We might not be as well-known as the fashion capitals but we are making our mark all over the UK and the world. With plenty of creativity and a city full of stylish and eclectic types it was only a matter of time until fashion took over. We may be known as the city of steel forever but we should also be recognised as a city making serious marks in the fashion world.