Women's Editor Christen Pears on a fashion evening which showcased local talent.

FROM classic tailoring to cutting edge student designs, Darlington has a wealth of fashion retailers and designers. A Show of Fashion, held at the new Atlantic Bar and Club in Duke Street, gave them a chance to showcase their work.

The event was organised by Allison McKay, a hair stylist and make-up artist who has worked with all the major glossy magazines. She has recently moved from London to Hurworth and set up her own production company, AM Creative Productions. Allison also writes a monthly hair and make-up advice column in The Northern Echo's NE Magazine.

"I really wanted to show what a wealth of talent we have in Darlington," she says. "I could have gone to some of the big high street names but we have such creative people here there would have been no point. There are several designers, as well as some independent shops, who sell clothes you wouldn't find anywhere else."

Among the designers were Embellis, based in Skinnergate, who showed a range of hand embroidered and beaded corsets, while students from Darlington College experimented with combat-inspired styles and classic tweeds. Leggs and Fourth Chamber brought a casual note to the evening while Kate Saint and Affleck & Moffat Menswear showed more formal styles.

There were more than 30 models, some professional but mostly amateurs. Allison says: "We wanted personality rather than looks because I wanted it to be entertaining, not just the usual up and down the catwalk fashion show."

One of the models was 17-year-old jazz singer Cherie Gears, a pupil at Eaglescliffe School.

She and fellow pupils formed a jazz quartet in the summer and performed a range of classics such as Fly Me to the Moon and Summertime.

Cherie's sister Harmony choreographed the evening while Toni and Guy styled the models' hair and the BeneFit counter in Binns did the make-up.