Friday, 7 December 2012


Do you know what today is? Yes, it's Friday, 7th December 2012, but what else? There's a pretty big 5-day event that opened it's doors a short while ago. Not content with the magnitude of it's own legacy, it's about to make history by joining forces with another  popular TV name that you may be familiar with...Figured it out yet?!

The Clothes Show Live opened at the NEC in Birmingham this morning; joining forces with Britain & Ireland's Next Top Model Live, for a one-off spectacular of the likes that neither you nor I, have ever seen! I used to watch the show Religiously every Sunday evening as a child, fully subscribing to every pointer that Guru Caryn Franklin gave, without question. Why, you ask? Well...and you're going to have to go with me on this one...because quite frankly, I had never seen a young woman with such brilliantly-streaked silver hair before so naturally, by my (let's go with) imaginative logic, it meant that she was an authority sent from space...obviously?! Not kidding, in my younger years you couldn't have convinced me that sophisticated chic came from Earth. I wouldn't have it.

Maybe because in those days everything 'spacey' on television was silver...all this is not really the point though, so I will digress no longer! This isn't just any #FindOutFriday...For the last one of 2012, I wanted to give you something BIG. What better way to sign off a mindblowing year, than by matching this huge event and bringing you TWO interviews, with a representative from BOTH? The first, with a hugely respected lady, only somewhat integral to the running of The Clothes Show Live, being that she's producing it all and the second, with a face you may recognise from that Top Model household!

'Tis the Season, so Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Maryam Hamizadeh, Show Producer...

1. Welcome Maryam, to the #FindOutFriday hotseat! I know you may have a thing or two to get on with today, so I'll get straight to it!

For those who don't know, what exactly is involved in Show Production and how does it differ from Event Management in the case of The Clothes Show Live?

Maryam Hamizadeh, Show Producer
Clothes Show Live

Clothes Show Live involves a mixture of show production and event management. For the catwalk shows we have production teams who coordinate the music, models and lighting, we also have teams looking after exhibitors, teams looking after celebrities and general production teams who build sets and stands - I manage each individual team and ‘produce’ the show as a whole.

2. It sounds as though some technical training would need to be involved for all of that! What qualifications did you need to enter your chosen field?

I studied Events Management at Leeds Metropolitan Uni, and in my second year took a placement at Haymarket working on Clothes Show Live. After I had finished my degree they invited me back full time and the rest is history – this year will be my 12th show.

3. Wow, 12 shows? You've obviously gained an incredible amount of experience throughout your career so far; would you say the best lessons learned were those gained in the classroom or through your training on the job? Would you mind giving an example?

I think you need both on the job experience and classroom experience. There are a lot of elements from the classroom that you’d be lost without in the working environment such as learning about finance and balancing budgets. On the other hand, only first-hand experience can prepare you for overcoming obstacles and problem solving.

4. What would you say is the biggest misconception about your job role and how do you combat that? Is it the biggest difficulty you face?

There are quite a few misconceptions about my job! The first is that it’s very glamorous. Whilst there are showbiz elements, the role is demanding and involves a lot of hard work. People can’t believe that we spend a full year preparing for each show. There is so much involved in putting on the show, which is the UK's biggest fashion and beauty event, and I try to explain that we only have a small team and the complicated process involved.

5. To me personally, The Clothes Show is a British institution; it has a legacy all of it's own. I remember watching every Sunday as a kid! How easy has it been to translate the brand that long-term audiences are familiar with, to one they can identify with, live?

Luckily Clothes Show Live has enough credibility as the country’s leading fashion and beauty event that it hasn't been too difficult to translate the brand from TV to a live show, although an obstacle for us has been awareness as we no longer have the TV show and the magazine to put us on the map.

6. Britain & Ireland's Next Top Model took their show live 2 years ago, but this is the first time that you'll be joining forces. How easy/difficult has it been to marry the two for an event on this scale, whilst still keeping the brand identities separate?

Both shows have a lot of similarities and a lot of cross over in terms of audience profiles, brands and sponsors so it has been relatively easy to integrate the two. The only challenge has been that the BINTMLive event used to be held in London so the change of location to NEC in Birmingham has been the only obstacle we've had to overcome.

7. Looking at your list of Designers showcasing on the catwalk, you seem to have a mixture ranging from established to 'newbies' - how did you decide on your selection to create that balance?

As the UK’s number one fashion and beauty event it’s important for us to get credible, established designers on board such as Henry Holland and Mark Fast, who are relevant to our audience and really on trend at the moment. We are, however, dedicated to fostering new talent and the show has long been a platform for launching new designers. This year we have the ASOS Graduate Marketplace featuring 10 rising designers who are selling and displaying their collections at the show before launching on ASOS in their own online boutique from January. The scheme was devised to further support young fashion and was open to any emerging graduate designers who completed their course between May 2009 and May 2012. The 10 finalists were chosen by a judging panel that included buyers from ASOS, celebrity stylist Karl Willett and the Clothes Show Live team.

8. And then there are the Hosts. Did you make your selection based on the direction of future fashion trends or where you think the market is at right now?

Grace Woodward,
TCSL Co-Host
Henry Holland
TCSL Co-Host
All our hosts are chosen for a combination of their relevance and credibility. We want them to be well perceived in the industry, but we don’t want to alienate our audience with someone who doesn't have a big profile in the media

This year we have a great balance with

Daisy Lowe as our celebrity ambassador,
Henry Holland and Grace Woodward as our Suzuki Fashion Theatre hosts
and performances by Peter Andre and JLS 
– to name just a few!

Daisy Lowe, Celebrity Ambassador

9. There's obviously still something of a stigma attached to the way that fuller-figured women are represented in the British media - do you think that this year's range of Designers are more sympathetic to that in the creations they plan to showcase?

Yes, definitely. Whilst designers do still use sample size models we work with them to make sure that the models are all healthy and have a positive body image. This year we have TOWIE star turned fashion designer Gemma Collins exhibiting her plus size fashion range, we have Mark Fast exhibiting and talking in our fashion seminars who hit the headlines a few years ago for using plus sized models in his London Fashion Week catwalk show, and we are working with our educational ambassador Caryn Franklin who is heavily involved in her project All Walks Beyond the Catwalk - an industry initiative to promote and celebrate the use of a more diverse range of models in fashion imagery.

10. Finally, what's going to be your personal highlight of the 5-day show?

Brit-Pop Boyband JLS are just one of the acts
providing musical entertainment during the 5-day event

I’m excited about the opening but to be honest the whole event is going to be fantastic. We have something amazing happening on each day so I couldn't possibly pick a highlight. Obviously JLS's DJ set on Monday in the Suzuki Fashion Theatre is going to be amazing.


Maryam Hamizadeh is the Show Producer at Clothes Show Live, the UK's biggest fashion event taking place at NEC Birmingham from 7-11 December.

To buy tickets visit

Keep up to date with LIVE show news via their Website and Social Media Channels:

The Clothes Show LIVE on Facebook / Twitter 

Don't know about you all, but I LOVED that! Excited? Well hold on to your Spanx...Britain & Ireland's Next Top Model  concluded Cycle 8 earlier this year, now the girls are reuniting for this landmark event!

Meet Finalist Tasmin Golding...

1. Welcome Tasmin, to the #FindOutFriday hotseat! I cannot imagine what the dressing room is like right now, so I’ll try not to hold you and your rollers up too long! Let's Go! 

You shot to fame on the latest season on Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model. How does the preparation for the Live show compare with that of being in the Top Model house?

Tasmin Golding, Cycle 8 Finalist,

Hello! I wouldn't say I've shot to fame but seeing yourself on TV is a very strange experience! And I am so thankful I had the opportunity. The Live show has been a lot more chilled out in terms of preparation. Before I went on BINTM I was completely blind as to what would be expected of me, but now I think we are all getting to grips with the work that goes into this industry. It is very exciting stuff!

2. What’s going to be the most daunting thing about the Live event for you?

The most nerve wracking part of any show is the first time you step out on stage: You've been in hair and make up for a few hours and you’re all in line waiting back stage, the girl in front of you steps out, you know you're next and you're waiting for the show director to call your name, then it's time to kill it.

3. A lot of people don’t realise how much preparation goes into this from the model’s perspective. Scheduling, fittings, meetings and more - can you talk through the less glamorous side of what’s involved?

It is mad amounts of work involved from the modelling point of view. I think it’s extremely important to carry the high energy from the moment you arrive at the job to the moment you leave. In the case of the Live show it will be from 7 or 8 am till 6 or 7 pm. Back stage is always chaos: people running around constantly. By the time the day’s done you collapse in bed ready for round 2.

4. You’re currently at University studying Fine Arts; what made you decide to go in for BINTM?

I actually applied for BINTM on a total whim. I was in Miss Selfridges on Oxford St and I saw an advert for the London audition that was the following morning. I didn't have any classes that day so I went to the audition instead of sleeping late. Funnily enough, I got to the audition quite early and I was the first girl in London to be auditioned. There were so many girls there I never imagined I would get through!

5. You've gone on record as saying that you weren't as experienced before the show, as perhaps some of the other models. You've done a fair few projects since then, what do you think are the most valuable skills that you've picked up going into BINTM & The Clothes Show Live?

I can’t stress how much more confidence I have now since going on the show. I didn't even realise how shy and quiet I was before BINTM. It helped me come out of my shell and be comfortable with letting people get to know the real me. I'm not saying it’s always great, but I have learned to trust my instincts and block out the noise.

6. You've done a bit of travelling over the last few months; have the various cultures that you've been exposed to enhanced your abilities in any way?

Sometimes I can’t believe how lucky I am. I have done so much travelling in my lifetime; it has helped me understand how diverse this world really is. This summer I went to Miami, then China, Japan & South Korea. Each country has its specific culture and way that its people operate. It is an important lesson to learn that the way people think where you come from is not the only way. It’s a huge and beautiful world, full of fascinating people who all have their own trails and stories. It’s really important to appreciate this when you meet anyone new in your life.

7. Being of Jamaican origin, some might say that roots teach us to be a bit more grounded than in British Culture. Since being on the show, what do you find to be the biggest difference about how you're received amongst your peers at home and in the UK?

I am going back to JA for Christmas and I cannot wait! Coming from such a small but dynamic island with such a strong cultural identity of its own, it took me years to assimilate to British culture & I'm still not completely used to it! The two countries can’t be any more different. I think Jamaica is the most beautiful place on earth.

However, it has serious challenges with poverty, unemployment and a massive public debt that limits the State's ability to provide assistance for its citizens. Many things that people in the UK take for granted are luxuries in Jamaica. My life involves me spending a lot of time in the UK and Jamaica, and sometimes you can feel like an outsider in both, always observing and learning and catching up on what you've missed, But I love that diversity. It’s really a privilege to have been able to experience both societies to the extent I have.

8. So Fashion, Fashion, Fashion next! Can you tell me who you’ll be wearing and when visitors can catch you?

I love clothes! I am a clothes fanatic! Can’t get enough. I recently realised I wear way too much black, so at the moment I am buying a bunch of statement jewellery and trophy jackets, and mixing textures for fun. Also, I am about to start selling a range of snap-back caps so you will definitely see me rocking them back stage at the show!

9. I do believe that you’re a shoe-lover like me but, also like me, are cursed with ‘that sizing issue’! Where do they find the pretty shoes in larger sizes for you? Help a girl out, would you? The High Streets are NOT our friend!

I have a love-hate relationship with shoes! I am so tall I hardly wear heels; but I think they’re so important in completing an outfit.

Topshop and New Look are OK for affordable shoes in larger sizes. Zara's autumn/winter shoe collection is divine & not too expensive, the bigger sizes are hard to come by instore, so order online!

10. Finally, what are you most looking forward to throughout the 5-day show?

I am most looking forward to meeting fans of the show! I sometimes hear from girls and guys on twitter. They are so lovely and have such kind things to say. It will be so great to meet them all in person...

Connect with Tasmin via her Social Media Catalogue:

Don't forget that you can keep up with all of the #BINTMLive news via their Social Media too!


I must say an absolutely MASSIVE Thank You to Maryam, Tasmin and also Natalie Stewart at The Good Relations Group for taking part and facilitating a double interview that I absolutely loved every minute of! The doors are open now, sending each of you all the very best for an amazing 5 days!

Although this is the last #FindOutFriday for 2012 cry not, because not only will we be bringing you a host of #ESPspotlight Specials right up until the New Year, but the 2013 schedule is already in motion and it's set to be even BIGGER than this year!

Thank You most of all to everyone who takes the time out to read, share and comment on the pieces; you are greatly appreciated and make all the hard work that goes into putting these features together worthwhile!

Until next time...HAPPY FESTIVE SEASON!
ES ;o)