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Rival fashion events in dispute over banner

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A dispute over advertising “sabotage” has sparked a row between the organisers of two rival fashion weeks, both of which are coming to the island next month.

Amir X, founder of Bermuda International Collections, claims the Corporation of Hamilton illegally removed a privately placed banner for his event because it competed with its own Bermuda Fashion Festival.

The Corporation argued that the banner on Reid Street hoardings constituted public property and that it broke rules by promoting events outside of Hamilton.

However, the hoardings' owner rejected both of the Corporation's reasons — saying that he owned the property and that it had never intervened previously over banners advertising events elsewhere.

Amir, an international model from Devonshire, said that BIC was his attempt to “share my world” with the island.

“I'm trying to expose Bermuda as an global hub for people to see fashions that they would find in Paris, Milan or London,” he said, adding that preparations had taken him nine months.

The event at CedarBridge Academy's Ruth Seaton James Auditorium from July 4 to 9 will welcome international designers and models, as well as showcasing local talent.

The BFF launches its show immediately after, on July 10, and will take place at various locations in Hamilton until July 16.

To promote his inaugural fashion week, which he hopes to stage twice a year, Amir used hoardings on the corner of Reid Street and Court Street which belong to Thomas “Ted” Powell, who also owns The Spot restaurant.

On Saturday afternoon, he hung up a “beautiful and impactful” 24-by-7-foot banner, only to discover on Monday afternoon that it had been taken down by the Corporation of Hamilton's events department.

After collecting it, he briefly rehung the banner in the same location on Tuesday and watched over it to ensure it was not taken down again.

“Mr Powell has never had this problem before, and banners go up at this location all the time,” Amir told The Royal Gazette.

“Everything has been going very well up until now. The Corporation of Hamilton definitely feel threatened, so they're trying to sabotage my event by unlawfully taking down a banner that's on private property.”

Amir went on to criticise the Corporation for previously refusing to let him promote Bermuda International Collections anywhere in the city.

“I applied to hang my banners throughout Hamilton and was denied,” said Amir, who worked at last year's BFF but left over compatibility issues.

“The Corporation said that banners are not generally approved to be hung within the city for events that are held outside of the city, unless it's for a national holiday.

“Where do they get these rules? Am I supposed to believe that?”

A Corporation of Hamilton spokeswoman denied that the removal was politically or financially motivated. “The banner is on hoardings on Reid Street which is on city property (sidewalk not private property) and in contravention of policy,” she said.

“An application was received some months ago, and was refused as this event is not being held within the city.

“No form or fee to display this particular banner has been received, and this matter has been dealt with the same as any other similar offence would be.

“The City of Hamilton wishes Bermuda International Collections well and is proud that another fashion event has been developed on the island.”

But the hoardings' owner Mr Powell refuted these claims, listing multiple occasions in which non-Hamilton events had been advertised at the same space.

“The banner is not on city property in any way, shape or form,” he said. “I'd like to know when they bought the hoardings from me.

“I've had banners on those hoardings for more than two years.

“It has been used by all manner of entertainment groups for events outside the city and even the island, and I've never had this sort of problem from the Corporation.”

If looks could kill: the contentious banner on Reid Street (Photograph supplied)
Banner removed: Amir X, the founder of Bermuda International Collections (Photograph supplied)

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Published June 29, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 29, 2016 at 7:43 am)

Rival fashion events in dispute over banner

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