RESIDENT Edinburgh supermodel Anna Freemantle is out to prove that serious glamour can be a family affair.
The Noir! spring fair returns to Summerhall (the former Dick Vet School) tomorrow, all under the watchful eye of the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival director, promising “an all-day fashion, design, food and arts market; a distinctly seasonal affair celebrating Scotland’s top creative talent through bespoke stalls, exhibitions, live music performances, activities for kids and much more”.
Anna, who has lived in the Capital for roughly six years, has run 11 previous fairs alongside artist husband Jonathan, but admits the scale of the events has changed somewhat over time.
“In the beginning we would be getting in, say, about 200 people a day, now it’s more like 1500,” says the 33-year-old mother-of-two.
“There’s also going to be around 70 different stalls on Sunday, which is quite a step up. We’ve even had to turn people away.”
Anna hopes the event will attract city dwellers from all walks of life.
“There’s been a slight concern that people perhaps think of these events as being very ‘high-end’ and maybe a bit too posh for them, while nothing could be further from the truth,” she says. “Yes, we do try to provide the best of what is available locally, but the atmosphere here is very friendly and inclusive, absolutely everyone is welcome to come down and have a look. That’s why many of the stallholders come back time and time again, they say they have a lovely time chatting to one another and to customers, and making useful connections with other local independent business people.”
Julie Nicoll, 40, owner of Analogue Books, who will be bringing a stall to Noir! for the second time, is certainly not arguing with that statement.
She says: “Everyone involved with the fairs is lovely, there’s such a broad range of products, really great things on offer. It’s so nice that Noir! specifically seeks to support local businesses and designers.”
Analogue, on Candlemaker Row, is credited by Anna as having possibly the widest selection of fashion publications in the city.
Julie, who has run the store for 12 years alongside furniture designing husband Russell, says: “That’s very nice to hear. I don’t think we have absolutely everything, but we certainly have quite a broad selection from around the world. And it’s not just fashion publications and books that we stock, we try to cover all aspects of art and design and we’ll be bringing a wide selection along on Sunday – though people are always welcome down at the store if they want to see more.”
Also plying his wares will be Kestin Hare, joint-owner of the Common People Clothing label.
“This will be our first time at Noir! and we’re very much looking forward to it,” he says. “They had approached us about doing the last fair, which was a Christmas one, but unfortunately I had too many other commitments at the time. I’d heard good things about Noir! though, so I went along for a look and was very impressed. It’s a great concept and a really nice idea to get all the best local traders together.”
Common People was first launched two years ago and “focuses on premium quality, craftsmanship and local sourcing to create a contemporary product with identity”.
Designer Kestin launched the label following successful stints at Nigel Cabourn and Reiss, and his clothing is now stocked in stores such as Cruise, Archive and Urban Outfitters, with stockists in the Far East also lining up to get their hands on his creations.
Kestin, who lives in Duddingston, says: “I grew up in Edinburgh but moved away when I was 19, and only returned when I was 35 and launching Common People. Events like this are great for me because I can see everything that the city has to offer in one place, be it fashion, art or food. It’s really encouraging to see so many people pulling together to make something special. These are difficult times for everyone, but it’s always encouraging to see traders who still put the quality of the product first. I’m especially looking forward to checking out what Valvona & Crolla will be bringing to the table!”
Anna, mother to Max, four, and Leon, one, adds: “If you’ve got kids, feel free to bring them along! There’s plenty for them to do, too, so no need to worry about them becoming restless as you shop.”
Activities for the youngsters include a stall run by Edinburgh-based arts and crafts studio Kiss the Fish. As well as catering to crafty adults, the company offers fun-filled kid-friendly activities such as decopatch, a paper craft similar to papier mache and ceramics. There will also be a face painter and a cupcake decorating workshop, though it is unlikely many of those creations will exist for too long before being eaten.
While the kids are busy getting creative, the adults are free to browse stalls from a host of Edinburgh favourites, including Lily-Mo, Vi Nouveau, Georgia Wiseman, Semple Farm, Harajuki, Joyce Paton, Godiva Boutique, Twist & Sprout, Euan McWhirter, Ruth Barclay, Pyrus, Dragonfly, Cushion Box, The Edinburgh Vintage Showroom and We Are Faux.
And if shopping is not really your thing, that’s not all Noir! has going on.
As Jonathan says: “We’ve got some great musicians involved and there will be music all day for people to enjoy, be they shoppers or people in sampling the wonderful food and drink that will also be on offer. We have the Edinburgh Samba School, whose full band will be performing throughout the day in the courtyard and inside. There will also be roving performances from Finnie, formerly the guitarist in the Edinburgh band Emelle. He’ll be roaming around inside and outside the building like a kind of mobile busker!”
• Noir! takes place tomorrow from noon to 6pm at Summerhall, 1 Summerhall (bar open until late). Entry is £4/£3, kids free. For more information visit http://noiredinburgh.blogspot.co.uk/