LondonEdge February 2018 – The ultimate alternative fashion and lifestyle trade show
If you’re obsessed with all things Gothic and Alternative (as I am) London Edge is the place to go to see what’s new with the brands you already know and who / what’s up and coming in the industry. With over 150 different exhibitors, 4 catwalk shows a day, dozens of ‘Edge Influencers’ and an after show party on Sunday evening it’s a gothic fashion bloggers dream. Also as it’s a trade show you can’t actually purchase items there, which is a relief as I would have needed a new mortgage and a removals lorry to bring home all the items I coveted.
As mum to the Heavy Metal Minions I’m not exactly cruising the clubs and bars of an evening. Don’t get me wrong, I have some wonderful nights out with my ‘Mum friends’ and of course the odd meal out with Mr Heavy Metal but I am definitely the most Goth person in the room, usually the only Goth in the room, so it’s not like I’m rubbing shoulders with other Goth and Alternative people, discussing the newest fashion releases or just seeing what other like minded individuals are wearing. Instagram, various different email blasts from Alternative brands and my favourite YouTubers are my main sources of information on the subject, and it’s certainly difficult to have a chat about it all on those sort of platforms.
That said, I have been emailing a fellow fashion blogger Thunderella666 – Belle Out of Hell, and we decided to both head to London Edge to check it out and to finally meet in person. I can honestly say I had the best day I have had in years! Thunderella and I got on like house on fire – it was as if we had known each other for years. She looked absolutely amazing and from the moment we met we were discussing clothes, accessories, shoes, everything we both love in Goth fashion. We weirdly have a very similar taste in shoes and boots, and we even both arrived in goth headdresses – Thunderella in a beautiful metal black rose crown she had purchased from thegothicshop.co.uk a couple of days earlier and I in my rose and 1.5inch spiked hairband from gothichats.co.uk.
Then we explored the show! There was every type of stall imaginable – Manic Panic hairdye, Charlotte Clark Ceramics, Weird and Wonderful Ceramics, Mermaid Salon cosmetics and brushes, Sharon McKinley Designs jewellery, GothX bags, Punky Pins, The Original Atelier masks and headdresses, Queen of Darkness clothing, New Rock boots and many, many, many more!
But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only are there established brands whose clothes, shoes and accessories appear in the catwalk shows ( 2 different shows, both occurring twice so 4 shows in 1 day!), there are the ‘Edge Makers and Designers’, new businesses and designers appearing at London Edge to help get them the exposure and recognition they so genuinely deserve. This also means we got to see some amazing new designers and creators that we (and almost everyone else) had genuinely not seen before. My personal favourites were:
Exo Umbra – Designer and business owner Sophie hand makes beautiful and interesting wicca and strega inspired garments. Because each item is handmade its totally unique and also means you can order items to your own specifications. I absolutely fell in love with 4 or 5 different items and will hopefully be ordering something soon – roll on pay day!! Her items have interesting, draping shapes, some with wiccan symbols and runes hand painted onto them, beautiful stitched details and asymmetric hemlines. I think the thing I love most is the sizes range from S to 5XL – its so rare to see a brand that is so inclusive to all sizes, hopefully Sophie is a trailblazer for how fashion brands will operate in the future.
Metallimonsters – Darkwear, for kids! As a mum I loved this brand, sadly though the Heavy Metal Minions are too big for their largest sizes (the curse of having a 6 foot 5 inch husband!), hopefully as this brand grows and expands they will branch out into larger sizes. They offer slogan baby grows, bibs, hats, dresses, t-shirts, hoodies and much much more. I love that more brands are catering to alternative mums – especially when you see the bland, boring, gender stereotyped selection of kids clothes available on the highstreet. My absolute favourite piece is their Wednesday dress – a black tunic style dress with a white peter pan collar. Heavy Metal daughter would adore looking like young Wednesday Adams – please make bigger sizes soon!!
Ink and Wilderness – Ex tattoo artist and illustrator Amy has produced a range of exquisite ink drawings of various different subjects, from skulls and bats (always my favourite), to wildlife and lettering, there’s something for everyone. The thing I loved most was the spectrum of different media her designs had been so meticulously printed on to. The sew on patches were top of my list, the designs really popped on the fabric – I just need to find the right jacket and then I’m buying all of them to stitch on. Amy even gave us little gift packs with a beautiful card and some little prints.
But London Edge is not just trade stalls – it would still totally rock if it were but there are also the ‘Edge Influencers’, alternative Instagram, YouTube and Twitter personalities to act as brand ambassadors. These sirens wander the event speaking to stall holders and other attendees, being photographed for publicity shots as well as just for a selfie. They included Rebecca Crow, Miss Deadly Red, Psychara, Aimeeisweirdd, Lorella.de.vil, Louiselafantasma and Pennold, all firm favourite on my Instagram feed, so we also felt like we were in the presence of alternative modelling royalty! And just when I thought my tiny brain couldn’t take any more, I kept spotting ‘famous’ attendees – The Kate of Kate’s Clothing (most of my money goes directly to them), Ruby Thunder, Patty Cakes Burlesque and so many other alternative fashion bloggers, I thought I might have an aneurysm over the awesomeness.
London Edge is a 2 day event, and sadly the Heavy Metal Minions had school on Monday so I couldn’t attend the second day but I made damn sure I got my ass down to the after show party. Held at the Electrowerks at Angel there’s a bar in an old tube train, an inclusive selection of different music being played by some awesome Dj’s (all female – London Edge is most definitely a feminist haven) as well as burlesque and cabaret acts from artists like Rebecca Crow, Tigress, Melanie Ivy and more. Thunderella and I went old school and made a handbag pile in the centre of the dance floor and then moshed our little heads (and headdresses) off, screamed along to all the awesome metal tunes and had an absolute blast, before sloping off to get the train home.
My only criticism of the event is the models that are chosen for the catwalk show. As alternative women in a mainstream world we are used to being bombarded with the same same blonde, 6 foot, rake skinny, utterly unremarkable (except for their perfect skin and features) models being in every advert and fashion magazine, well everywhere. London Edge is supposed to be the alternative to that, clothes, accessories etc for those of us who are NOT the mainstream. Whether that be tattoos, coloured hair, body shape or size this catwalk show is supposed to appeal to the alternative consumer, yet the models are clearly NOT alternative, clearly have no connection to the brands, and it makes the clothes look, well rubbish. They would do better wheeling a clothes rail down the catwalk as none of the models have any boobs or a bum to show off the gorgeous cuts of the different items, and the styling of some of the clothes is weird. It looks like someone who isn’t into alternative fashion tried to style them to look vaguely ‘normal fashion’ – particularly the gothic clothes. Most of the shoes didn’t ‘go’ with the clothes, one model was so tall the braces she was wearing weren’t long enough on their longest setting so she was having to stoop when she walked and was still very clearly getting an atomic wedgy. It was kind of funny, but it also wasn’t. It was my complaint after September’s London Edge but nothing seems to have changed, which is frustrating.
(This image is from September 2017 – I forgot to take any of this years catwalk show – ooops!!)
So, my highlights were the awesome stalls, meeting new vendors and seeing new brands and designers I was not previously aware of, rubbing shoulders with the goth Influencers (meaning being in the same room as, whispering “look its …. She’s soooo cool”) and getting to dance my ass off at the awesome party with the truly awesome Thunderella. As the February London Edge is the smaller event compared to the September event, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for September – I’ve already made sure I’m not working!
Now I just need to win the lottery so I can buy everything I saw at the event. I may also need a bigger house to put it all in!