Shut arrrrrppppp! // Le Blow does Essex Fashion Week 2012 with STRIP

I must ‘fess up, aside from an uh-maze weekend at V Festival in Chelmsford this year (and let’s face it – all I saw was the inside of the VIP area, and what?), I’d never been to Essex before.

And what with TOWIE putting Essex firmly on the map, I’ve secretly wanted to go East-side to the exotic land they call *whispers* Essex…

Two of the TOWIE crew at Essex Fashion Week 2012

So when the lovely ladies at STRIP invited me to go along to Essex Fashion Week 2012 in the concrete confines of the CEME Conference Centre in Dagenham, I said: ‘Shut arrrrrrrrrp!’ And then, ‘yes please!’

Here’s my main observations from Essex Fashion Week 2012…

Yes, the girls really DO look like that

When our car pulled up, I felt like I was on some kind of weird safari in Dagenham, and wound up my window furiously for safety.

We were surrounded by orange-coloured females staggering about like velociraptors; perched atop ridic high heels, with plenty of boob and bum cheek hanging out.


Yes, they really DO talk like that

The TOWIE-esque, high-pitched, slightly camp (and that’s just the fellas) accent is no joke. ‘Bin’ instead of ‘been’; ‘li’ah’ instead of ‘like’; and generally stringing out the last syllable of words, don’t theyyyyyyyyy? TOTES REEM.

The boys are prettier than the girls

It’s a strange phenomenon. You gotta be highly groomed in Essex. But where as on the girls, this tends to spill into plastic fantastic territory – fake lashes, brows, nails, lips, hair, tan, teeth, tits, etc – the boys tend to look pretty handsome; all baby soft skin, dazzling smiles, perfectly coiffed hair and immaculately put together outfits.

There were Mark Wright-a-likes EVERYWHERE (though sadly no Mark Wright himself).


Harry Derbidge at Essex Fashion Week 2012

Yes, I know he’s not my way inclined (OBVS), but I’ve met him a few times now and he’s so fucking lovely. He was there promoting his boutique Harry’s World and even gave me a free T-shirt with his handsome little face on.

I’ve been sleeping with Harry’s face on my chest every night since…

The grooming is contagious

Dogs at Essex Fashion Week 2012

Within minutes of arrival, I wanted to be a deep shade of mahogany with the hair of a Russian gyspy attached to my head, at least 27,872 more layers of make-up applied (with a MUCH heavier hand) and vajazzled within an inch of my life.

In the end, I settled for getting HD Brows (which were uhh-MAZE and deserve a whole blog post of their own) plus a few eyelash extensions  in STRIP’s VIP Pampering Room.

Peplums are IN in Essex

Me at Essex Fashion Week 2012

Peplum waists were all over the EFW catwalks – practically every collection included variants of them – on dresses mostly.

And funnily enough, having NO idea what to wear for my Essex jaunt, I’d actually settled on a peplum top (from Primark) with gold sequin trousers (from and was feeling pretty smug. Hellz, *I* even got papped street style a few times (probs to feature with the shock headline: ‘wot – no tan?’)…

Where reality TV collides

Not only does reality TV suddenly become very real when you’re mixing with the cast members, but the different national variations mix with one another! My table was next to The Valleys’ tabe AKA the Welsh version of TOWIE. Bizarre.

Essex Fashion Week lasts for a day


So, STRIP invited me along as the main sponsors of Essex Fashion Week (with a newly opened salon in Loughton), and also to showcase their new lingerie collection.

Unlike, say, London Fashion Week where fashion shows take place one after the other across different venues and lasting for around ten minutes each, at EFW guests are seated at round tables for dinner (with goldfish in bowls as centrepieces) and the fashwan action takes place on a catwalk in the middle.

goldfish bowl at Essex Fashion Week 2012

So you’re essentially eating chicken breast as fake ones wobble past you in a sequin body con frock.

Most of the labels showing their collections were boutiques owned by TOWIE cast members past and present, and the action lasted for four hours, with musical entertainment in-between from the likes of Two Shoes (LOVED their 90s inspired set) and some other slightly tubby bloke I didn’t recognise.

STRIP provided us with the grand finale, in more ways than one, as you’ll see from the photos. The models were stunning – as was the lingerie. I’ve got my beady eye on the slogan shapewear dress (which I’m quite tempted to wear as outerwear…) and the super sexy leopard print set. Grrrr.

STRIP Essex Fashion Week grand finale

STRIP Essex Fashion Week 2012

STRIP Essex Fashion Week 2012 lingerie
STRIP Essex Fashion Week 2012 finale

After the STRIP show had finished, it was time to party, Essex style. There were buckets of champagne aplenty and EXCELLENT celebrity fodder for drunken photo opps.

I had a very nice time – big thanks to the STRIP London massive – and as they say: there ain’t no party like an S Club par-tay (hey, ho!)…

Essex Fashion Week 2012 Bradley from S Club 7

To book an appointment or find out more about STRIP’s products and services visit


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