The food and fashion industry are both worlds filled with glamour, desirability and, at the top end at least, exclusivity. We can buy fast food and fast fashion but it is designer labels and Michelin restaurants that many of us dream of. The interconnection between these two luxurious industries can be felt especially strongly in Manchester, a place of innovation where boundaries are constantly being pushed and stars are on the rise. Joanna Boon ivestigates the love affair of fashion and food within Manchester.
Food and fashion come together in more ways than one, with top end restaurants and bars not infrequently being used to host fashion exhibitions, and employees moving between the two with relative ease. We all need to eat and wear clothes, so food and fashion will always be a part of our lives- but there is something more; quality food and designer outfits also speak of status and the quality of life we can enjoy.
To better understand how food and fashion are melded into Mancunian culture, I spoke to two of the area’s most successful entrepreneurs. Sadiq recently opened Caramello’s Café in Didsbury, but worked for many years previously in the fashion industry. It was whilst travelling across the world for his job in fashion that he began engaging with many different food types, and developed a love of quality deserts in particular.
Karina also works in the food industry and recently launched the gorgeous Menagerie in the city centre. She has used her stunning restaurant to host four or five fashion exhibitions already, and the beautifully designed Menagerie is certainly an idyllic spot to watch designer gowns float past. The restaurant was built with this performance aspect in mind, and a runway has been seamlessly incorporated into the space to allow for more interactive dining.
The woman behind this success, Karina Jadhev, says that the two industries have ‘linked together really nicely for us. Hospitality is increasingly about immersive dining and fashion is perfect for engaging people. Likewise, fashion shows are now about the whole experience, so it works well on both ends. It’s a natural progression really.’
Given that models are supposedly expected to starve themselves down to be seen on the runway, it is perhaps surprising that restaurants are often designers first choice. Manchester has a much more progressive vibe than that though, and increasingly we are seeing glamorous, but healthier, models on the runway and greater inclusivity into these luxurious spaces. It is still slow progress but Manchester is breaking down these barriers much faster than other places renowned for their fashion culture.
All the models in Forever Unique’s collection, the first exhibition that Karina hosted in Menagerie, were utterly stunning but healthy looking and the sense of fun to be found on the runway, fitted perfectly with the hip vibe of the restaurant and in keeping with the spirit of Manchester. Both Menagerie and Caramello’s opened in the last year, highlighting the entrepreneurial spirit in Manchester, and the creativity to be found running through our streets.
Speaking to Sadiq about his involvement with both the fashion and food industry he said, ‘working in the fashion industry definitely helped when it came to designing my own restaurant, even the presentation of the food. There’s more longevity in the food industry, your creativity can be expressed quicker because you don’t have to wait for the right season; but the two industries are very similar, and everyone needs both of them.’
Sadiq and Karina may be stand- out success stories, and are certainly paving the way for more to come, but are not alone in connecting food and fashion. Nowhere is Manchester’s creative industry working harder than in this interconnection between top end industries. With new restaurants opening, Mancunian designers leading the way, and an audience eager for more, it is an exciting time to see the development of food and fashion’s partnership in Manchester.