Gok Wan is the first man I have met that truly knows and celebrates women.
From the moment he walks on stage to the last second before he leaves, he strikes us with his, always accurate, fashion tips, style and quick-witted mind.
First of all, he is prepared. The man knows his stuff; fashion is his language, he speaks it fluently and is generous enough to make sure we do as well. The way he talks, moves and expresses himself is refreshing in a world of appearances, Instagram filters and tabloid headlines.
From being, almost, brutally honest about the industry (“I am a man who loves the industry but fashion is not for everyone and forces women to do things they should never do to their bodies”) to championing the British high street (“We should reinforce [The British high street] to show the world what we do best”), Gok Wan creates a powerful event exploring issues that affect us all.
The Bristol stop of his One Size Fits All tour is an all-round experience:
We get on our feet, cheer, dance, laugh and clap. Mind you, at this stage, he has been in the room for less than 5 seconds.
The event runs effortlessly. His team is cheerful, warm and they make you feel at home. You have a full TV crew running the show and boy, they don’t disappoint.
It’s a ladies day through and through. It’s brunch so we feel obliged to start drinking at 11 – would be rude not to.
We chat, network and learn about both the business women at our table and those selling at the event itself. From Wellbeing Bristol to Lady Tree Design, we buy into Gok’s local mission, which puts local shops and brands in the spotlight for the day; quite literally as we get home with a few shopping bags ourselves.
A focus on local brands and the British High Street is something that is at the core of One Size Fits All. The British High Street is dying, Mr Wan reminds us throughout the day, while also showing us how exciting and different our high street can be:
We have the pleasure to see some of the very best high street shops in the UK showcasing their collections; far from being diluted into a sea of predictable trends and cheap fabrics, our high street still values quality and personality.
The most important moment of the day is, however, when Gok gets called to do what he does best: giving someone a makeover while distilling a drop of newly found confidence.
In Bristol, it’s Emily.
Cancer survivor, mother of two adopted kids, Emily is the one we all vote for, cheer for and cry for when we see her transform; it’s as if we’re at home watching from the comfort of the sofa with a bag of crisps in hand, completely transfixed.
The best thing is that she is at One Size Fits All with her best friends who nominate her and remind us of the most important reason why we love events like this: the power of sisterhood.
Sponsored by Outlet Fashion UK, the makeover sees Emily having a well-deserved few hours of pampering and bubbly.
We catch up with her while she has her hair done and she tells us about how she keeps herself busy with her teaching job, parenting duties and raising money for Women Cancer UK and, soon, Breast Cancer UK.
She talks about her kids and how she would tell “her younger daughter to do things for herself and not subject herself to uncomfortable underwear or clothes”.
I am 31 years old but Emily is who I want to be when I grow up.
By the time we get back, Gok is telling us all about the importance of wearing the right lingerie and seriously makes us question whether we are wearing the right bra size in the first place. The party is almost over. Emily comes back. She hasn’t seen herself. Just like the TV show, there are no mirrors backstage. A big mirror is brought to the stage, she turns and looks at herself.
Of course, she looks absolutely stunning but there is more to that . It’s what she carries with her- her struggles, experiences, relationships, love – that make her who she is: beautiful, perfect and enough. Something we should all be reminded of once in a while.
Not a dry eye in the audience. Sometimes it just takes a little sparkle to see that we are more than enough, we are awesome.
…do not run away just yet!
See our backstage interview with Mr Wan below:
Sum up today in three words
Fun, stylish and naughty
What inspires you the most about women
Just women, I suppose
Their power, their strength, beauty inside and out. I have always been very drawn to women since I was a very young kid. I do see myself working for women. I love that. I am very lucky when I was younger I had strong women in my life; and as I as got older, I surrounded myself with women; very strong, very powerful, opinionated women.
I loved it.
Self-care, what does it mean to you?
As we get older we do realise, we need to work a little bit on who we are. We are like a garden. I am constantly trying to better my lifestyle. Makes me happier, more confident, comfortable.
What are you most looking forward to this Christmas?
I am in Panto, come see me!
What are your Top winter trends?
Sharp tailoring, it’s a very neat season!
What do you do when you feel stressed?
When I feel very stressed, I got home to my parents.
They give me a reality check and tell me that everything is going to be alright. I very much use my family for that. I believe them when they say everything is going to be alright.
Thank you so much, Gok!