Norwich Fashion Week: Jarrold Catwalk events in the 1960s

Are you planning on going to an event at Norwich Fashion Week this year? Maybe one of the many catwalk shows? Looking through The Jarrold magazines deposited at the Norfolk Record Office (JLD 4/7/1/7) gives a good insight into the world of fashion as it was in the 60s. The article, entitled Fashion at Pinebanks, discloses the logistics of putting on a Young Style Fashion Style for Norwich Union Sports Association.

The company started the day with packing up the van, with the catwalk itself, carpets, mirrors and other fixtures and fittings to make the show possible. In the late afternoon a number of Jarrold Fashion Floor staff loaded over 100 dresses carefully on to the rail, ensuring that the already iron items were not creased before they took centre stage. Accessories included hats, furs, gloves and earrings. Staff rushed from closing the store at 7pm up to Pinebanks in order to help with preparations for the show, which started at 8.30pm.

The models had already been chosen, as the writer explains, ‘Mr Page picked out six extremely pretty girls from the Norwich Union and sent them along to the Store where we found them clothes that not only suited them, but were gay enough for the purpose. In addition six of our own fashion girls were brought in to make the number up to twelve for a snappy, crisp presentation’. Each model was given their own dresser to help with the quick costume changes.


The girls who displayed fashion, from The Jarrold Magazine. Norfolk Record Office JLD 4/7/1/7


The writer goes on to list some of the items included in the show, giving us an understanding of what was available and the cost to Norwich shoppers at the time. He writes, ‘We showed all kinds of clothes, from snappy trouser suits, culottes, and unlined tweed suited (8 1/2 guineas) [equivalent to £142.67 around the start of the 21st century] to exotic cuddly fun furs and party dresses. Suddenly gasp of surprise came when tow of the girls entered in really ‘snazzy’ party dress complete with accessories, looking a ‘million dollars’, but in dresses costing a mere 99s. 6d [equivalent to £76.12 around the start of the 21st century].’


On the Catwalk, from The Jarrold Magazine. Norfolk Record Office, JLD 4/7/1/7


The staff were back at work early again the next morning in order to take everything back to Jarrold, before taking their places on the shop floor for 9.30am.

The event was obviously deemed a success as Norwich Union asked them to run another show looking at summer holiday wear the following spring.

If you are visiting an event for Norwich Fashion Week this year you may find yourself more likely to appreciate how much work has gone on behind the scenes to make it all possible.

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