Manchester  MMU’s Big Issue

Now in its third year of running, Manchester Metropolitan has once again outdone itself by organizing an incredibly inspiring conference event titled “What’s Next?”. With a focus on the trends and innovations that will be shaping our industry in the near future, together with the issues of ethics and sustainability that have become so incredibly important and thought provoking, speakers of the day included the likes of: Neil DuLake, Armando Chant, Melanie Reim, Alexander Lamb, Sophie Carlier, Carry Somers, and Sass Brown.

Neil DuLake

Previously heading up The Guardian’s Media Group advertising team, DuLake has since become an expert in both challenging, and helping the fashion and retail industries adopt the latest trends since joining Google three years ago.

Talking about omni-channel shopping trends, and how mobile devices will increasingly begin to replace desktop computers, the most engaging and thought provoking point Neil DuLake made was in regards to the consumer trend of researching online, and purchasing offline (the RDPO effect) – thus heralding the return of the high street, and “retail theatre”.


Armando Chant

A fashion/textile practitioner, Armando’s creative practice focuses on pattern, surface, layering and mark-making, leading his talk to become a truly inspiring look into the mindset and thought processes of a true artist, who is immersed in his own craft. Often thinking of images within a narrative, the original object is transformed into something entirely new and often abstract within Chant’s work. Not only that, but the presentation revealed his view of gestures as ephemeral fragments, and his own work as visual reconstitutions of what exists at the time, leading the whole presentation to become a rather poetic exploration of artistic craft.


Melanie Reim

An illustrator with an ability to deliver engaging, seductive and powerful figures that reflect the signs of the times, Reim interestingly explored the important influence of the past within the context of fashion illustration, and especially the work of those who she classified as “accidental fashion illustrators” of the 1950s and 60s. Amongst many, a rather interesting point made included an analysis of the illustrator’s role/purpose, with Reim’s view of it being to direct the viewer to what “we want them to look at”. Also exploring the impact of negative and positive shape space within the composition of illustrative pieces and their ability to develop a focal point, it was a charming look at a side of the fashion industry often less explored.


Anna Smolovyk – MMU


Written by Zoë Hitchen