We caught up with Aida Abdul-Raheem, one of this year’s models…
Hey Aida, thanks so much for chatting to us!
Thanks for having me!
Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you study and what year are you in?
I’m a third year Arabic and English student.
Photography: Eniafe Momodu
How did you get involved with LRFS?
The two directors Jon and Nick are my housemates and good friends. Our house basically became the centre spot for all things LRFS related and I was inspired to get involved seeing how much creativity was going into the show. The boys encouraged me to attend a casting as they wanted as many people to participate as possible but they made it clear that they had little influence over whether or not I got in as that was up to the model managers, Aly and Freya. My friend Serene and I attended a casting together and it was so nerve-wracking on the day, but the committee were friendly and really patient when I got nervous and asked to have a minute before I did my walk.
Was this your first Fashion Show?
It was! I had a lot of fun.
Have you done any modelling before? How did you find this experience?
The only modelling I have ever done before this was wearing Street Dance Society’s merchandise for photos and a video a couple of years back, and even though I really enjoyed it I’m not sure how far it qualifies. I loved this experience with LRFS, it was quite daunting on show day walking before so many people but once the initial nerves passed I started to really enjoy it.
Which scene of the show were you in? How did the directors go about assigning people to scenes?
I was in Peace. I think the directors assigned people according to a certain look they were going for as well as the colour schemes involved in each scene. Overall I think they made some great choices, Peace was naturally a very serene walk at a slow pace whereas War for example was much more powerful and dynamic, and I think that really came through in each model’s style of walk.
What were the rehearsals like? Where and how often?
The rehearsals were pretty chilled, we would practice synchronised walking in a room somewhere in Baines Wing or Michael Sadler, but as show day neared we started practicing in the Refectory which was naturally far wider a space and required a surprising amount of practice! These rehearsals were once a week with an occasional drop-in session, then on show week we had rehearsals scheduled every evening with a full-day rehearsal on the day.
Photography: Eniafe Momodu
What kind of thing did the rehearsals involve?
The rehearsals for Peace involved walking at a synchronised pace and rhythm with a partner, but you couldn’t look at each other as you walked because the audience would be able to tell and it wouldn’t look professional. Initially the model managers would clap to the beat to enable us to time our steps accordingly, but as show day neared we had to practice naturally timing ourselves to our partners. It was actually much more difficult than I expected.
What’s been your favourite thing about this year’s show?
I’d say my favourite thing about the show was probably the attention to detail within every scene. The amount of creativity involved in the show was mesmerising; from the ballerinas used in Death to the strobe lighting effects of War and the confetti and feel-good rhythms of Re, I’m so sad that I never got to see the show myself as a member of the audience! You can really see how much effort went in to distinguishing each scene, and I’d attribute that to the creative talents of the committee who put on a truly great show. Another thing I loved about this year’s show was how diverse it was. People of all different backgrounds and body types modelled for the show. It is no secret that the modelling world generally lacks in that area even though some efforts are being made to change that, and I think it is becoming more and more valuable to feel represented in fashion, so to be able to model designer clothes and walk a runway without having to worry about your size or your stretch marks or any of those other natural things which can sometimes inhibit you from even attending a casting for a show like this one was very important, to me at least! It felt good to be a part of something where a range of people could feel represented.
Photography: Dylan Mentzel