The Clothes Show Live at the Birmingham NEC 2011; Review, Photos (Part 1)

It was a last minute idea to go to The Clothes Show – the last time I went was about 6 years ago, as a student and I spent time randomly mooching around all the shops.  I was offered a set of tickets, so I took myself, Mr C, Megan, 11 years old and star of YouTube, and Faye the teenager aged 17 to the event.

Primarily, my reason for making the 2 and a half hour drive was because I knew the teenager would love it; she is at college and wants to work in fashion so I was hoping the visit would be beneficial and inspiring to her (not just a chance for me to go shopping, honest!).

The Clothes Show in Birmingham is absolutely huge – you could absolutely get lost.  When you buy a ticket, you get entry to the event as well as the catwalk show. Some passes allow you to get discounts and offers depending on how much you pay.  By the end of the day I had four different passes (don’t ask)!

The Models Own Stand:

Models Own Nail Polish Stand The Clothes Show 2011 1

There’s a mixture of things going on at The Clothes Show, and primariy, it’s shopping! None-shopaholics need not apply, it will drive you insane…

There’s also an educational area, with the colleges and universities, and also some cute sections like the handmade area (for knitting and crafts) as well as a dance section and a paparazzi den where a number of “Celebs” that I have never heard of, but the teenager has, turn up for people to queue up to take photos with.

There is the massive arena for the hour long catwalk show too, which you have to queue up for (or with a VIP ticket you get to skip right to the front!).  The shopping area is divided up in to sections (red section, purple section etc. on the map) although it was not entirely clear to me how and why they were split up. For example, beauty seemed to be primarily in one section, but then they’d be other beauty stands elsewhere in the arena.

The beauty brands that were present ranged from the well known (ie. Benefit, Rimmel) to the obscure – so obscure I can’t remember the names, but it usually included a word like SPARKLEZ and GLITTERZ.

The Benefit counter was rammed the whole time:

The Clothes Show Live 2011 Birmingham NEC

There were some big names there fashion wise with discounts, like Superdry, and lesser known boutique brands.

There were a lot of market type stalls selling – dare I say it – cheap tat.  People loved it though; there was quite a young crowd at The Clothes Show but there were also some ladies I spoke to who didn’t quite ‘get it’ as it just seemed like a ‘big shopping expedition for kids’.

But if you look hard enough, interwoven amongst all the nutty market stall type sellers, are were some unique, one off designers who quite frankly I felt a bit sorry for being stuck between someone selling 3 scarves for £5 and someone selling Justin Bieber hoodies.  I spotted a tiny stall and found a cat scarf and some cute ceramic necklaces – the lady on the stall told me 3of them do all the designs themselves and hand print the clothes and accessories.  I bought 2 items from the stall!

The Carmex Yellow Taxi!

The Clothes Show Live 2011 Carmex Bus

Bargains seem to be the main theme of the day – I didn’t find the market stalls were great for bargains because it is just cheap to begin with, but some of the bigger brands had great deals – make up wise Models Own did a goody bag, £10 for any 3 items of your choice PLUS a silver bag with 12 more items (random)!!! Crazy right?!

I also got 5 pairs of Henry Holland for Pretty Polly Tights – the teenager told me they are £15 each usually and I paid £20 for all 5.  I am addicted to tights!

Jelly Pong Pong always do good deals and it was 2 goody bags with 2 random items in each for £5 (!) – amazing value and a super cute brand but it makes me wonder – how can they justify the items at full price if they can literally give them away at the show?

Illamasqua had some decent offers – 3 items for £15 BUT it was a very limited selection of about 4 cream blushers (the pink sold out long ago) in 2 shades of red and a deep mauve, 4 pigments, some eyeshadows and lip glosses.  I am sure a lot of it is end of season or discontinued colours they are getting rid of.  Nevertheless I bought a blush, gloss (which seemed to match!) and a pigment, and 3 eye pencils which were only £5 for the lot.  Ugly colours though, but I got carried away in the moment – and I was elbowed out of the way by a guy on the counter twice, and when I returned to the stand later, he made a point of asking the three women around me if they needed any help but made a point of not asking me so I was a bit irate.  Thanks for that Trevor! (my name for him).

The Clothes Show Live 2011 Make Up Colour Couture

On the negative side; what I didn’t get was why there were some dodgy stalls there – the Fajazzle!? (the stall had ‘bargain bags’ which was a horrid little plastic bag with 1 brandless polish and a tiny jar of glitter for £5 – I mean, people aren’t that dumb) and some perfume stand where they rounded people up as  a crowd to get ‘perfume for free’.

There’s no such thing as free perfume, so it was very much like one of those market scams where people are gathered and end up parting with money for utter tripe – why is this kind of stall allowed when there are kids spending their pocket money here?

The catwalk show I saw backstage (more on this in my next post) and from the front. It’s great fun for anyone who has never seen a catwalk show before, and there were some performances too from Kimberly Wyatt and…some other people.

Educational Book Stalls:

The Clothes Show 2011 Birmingham NEC


It’s been years since I went to The Clothes Show and despite finding it somewhat crass in some areas, it was fun, and I would totally go again!  The teenager absolutely loved every second of it (she is 17) and the child (11) and Mr C (29) would rather hang themselves off a tall building than go again – they were bored after 35 minutes and we spent 9 hours there so bear in mind what company you take with you!

Next post – backstage with Benefit!

Did you go to the Clothes Show? Did you enjoy it?
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  1. says

    Thank you for the in-depth tour of the Clothes Show – you have confirmed it’s teenage orientation! Glad you scored on the tights!

  2. Penoirz says

    Whaa? why was Trevor such a complete knob? Next time, just tip the displays over – gives people like that something to do

  3. Jen says

    I was a huge fan of the Clothes Show the first time I went, but I have to say I was slightly disappointed with it last year (there seemed to be more stalls all selling the same cheap tat!) so I decided that I wouldn’t bother this year!
    I also said that if I went again I would take my small suitcase with me, as the last time I went with my friend, we nearly collapse from exhaustion carrying all our bags on the train back to Manchester (no seats, so stood for the entire journey :S)
    Glad that you managed to find some bargains to go home with!

  4. Charlotte says

    I really enjoyed your article and I am thinking of going in December. How much money would you recommend to take?? I just want to know how much to save up!