Deborah St Louis is the glamorous and ever youthful founder of Fashions Finest, the second largest independent trade event during London Fashion Week.
A champion of the diverse spectrum of national and international fashion designers, Deborah’s Fashions Finest event, along with the hugely popular Britain’s Top Designer Awards provides an invaluable springboard for emerging designers, helping them to take their craft to the next stage. Previous Britain’s Top Designer winners have gone on to receive international press attention and grown their brand outstandingly.
We managed to grab five minutes with Deborah at the February 2017 event to ask her five questions:
How long you been running Fashion’s Finest?
We started in 2009. We initially launched with an online magazine, using it to share different features, styling tips, latest trends and personal fashion tips. We followed this up in 2010 with an event called Fashions Finest Renaissance, a Covent Garden-based affair that featured fashion, music and spoken word. Coincidentally, one of the events fell during London Fashion week and we were inundated with up and coming designers. I had a lightbulb moment and we evolved and grew into the two-day event we have today.
What happens to the designers after they win?
They get world-class mentoring by our judges, which is the most important for me. They also win a sponsored place in the next show. They really value the support and advice they get from the judges. The accolade of winning the top designer award also catapults them into another level. Every single one of our winners has gone on to do something amazing, totally different. It’s really good to see. It’s important for winners to use that title and the fact that they have won to propel themselves to better things.
How important is it to host an inclusive event?
What I always say is that Fashions Finest is a reflection of me and my life. I come from a very mixed community. I’m British, I have Caribbean parents and I have friends from all over the world. So it was always important to me to have a platform that everybody feels like they belong and that they fit in.
What did you do before Fashions Finest?
My background is in fashion. My mother was a dressmaker and I learnt those creative skills from her. In fact, I also do dress making. I’ve been a model before too, mainly trade shows, modelling for companies that I’ve worked for like Speedo and a couple of lingerie companies. However, I left all of that and went into the public sector. It was hard living outside London and trying to keep up with the fashion scene. Fast forward a few years and I met my business partner, got the bug again and started Fashion’s Finest.
How long does it take to organise Fashion Finest?
It’s a year-long process! Yes, I’ll have a week’s break, perhaps not even a week, because immediately after, I’m still wrapping up the event. Before you know it, the planning for the next cycle starts again?
Find out more about Fashions Finest: www.fashionsfinest.com