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Leeds RAG Fashion Show

As fashion show fanatics (and for Alex, former committee member last year), Leeds RAG Fashion Show 2017 was a must-see event


The show’s theme this year was ‘Samsara’, interpreted by LRFS as ‘cycle of the earth’. The entire night was centred around environmentally-conscious fashion, with all proceeds going towards the committee’s chosen charities, Labour Behind The Label and Cruelty Free International Trust. We were captivated by how plush, luxurious, and on-trend all the items looked, as well as the professional feel of the show, excellently executed from start to finish.



Her Campus managed to score two press passes for the event of the academic year, so we got all dolled up in preparation for our VIP treatment. A glass of bubbly in hand and fantastic goodie bag on shoulder, we circled around the various stalls, discussing cruelty-free makeup brand Arbonne and listening to amazing live music. Within the VIP area we found drinks sponsored by Red Bull and Jagermeister (which makes for a surprisingly yummy cocktail!) and snacks sponsored by Leeds’ own Humpit.



Finding our seats on the front row, we sat down in anticipation for the event to begin. The decoration had a really earthy feel, with mock vine leaves and strips of fabric hanging from the ceiling. Joel Stewart performed first with his acoustic guitar, working in harmony with the stripped back nature of the show’s theme. The Head of Charity made her opening speech, with the conscious question of, ‘what are you wearing?’ echoing the messages of their chosen charities.



The first scene, ‘Back To The Roots‘, revealed airy, light fabrics in neutral tones inspired by the beginning of the earth’s cycle. Heavy layering engulfed the model’s bodies, with borderline distressed and oversized pieces to accompany. However, the final model to walk for this scene completely changed the setting, stepping out in what can only be described as Maleficent-couture. A feathered headpiece and powerful horn-like silhouette, this unforgettable ensemble truly stole the show.


Second was ‘Elements’, which began with oil-slicked items in plastic netting shapes. This initially looked like a political statement, but more models emerged in a beautifully blinding blend of jewel tones. Each piece looked like it had been chipped from an ore under the stark lighting, the models themselves shimmering as they dripped with diamonds thanks to the hard work of The Gypsy Shrine. Jewel-clad ensembles revealed the brilliant spectacles nature has to offer, bringing us back to the seamless blend of fashion and the earth.



The ‘Minimalist’ scene was stunning, combining pleather with soft chiffon to resemble “wiping the slate clean”. The pieces varied from high-fashion secret agent to parisienne shapes, monotone accompanied by shades of nude and blush. Abstract shapes were a focal point, with overbearing fascinators and tornado-spiralled skirts (ironically echoing the day’s Storm Doris).



Following a break we returned to another acoustic set by Tom Harvey. The scene to follow built on the idea of ‘Denim Re-Worked’ – charity shop fabrics paired with distressed denim for a 80’s/early 90’s vibe. Random prints and pieces of material paired with stunning artwork blended easily into the denim, with pieces in the model’s hair in a Boy George style. Patches and slogans covered the jacket backs, and was perhaps the most lively sequence bursting with trend nostalgia. The scene really got the audience involved and excited, returning the catwalk as an ensemble clapping and dancing to generate a great atmosphere.



‘Revival: High Fashion Vintage’ exhibited stunning cocktail-hour style, using vintage fabrics reminiscent of your grandparent’s high fashion closet. Secutive shapes and materials oozed a 1920’s influence, where every model looked like they should have a whisky and cigar in hand. The show’s message was evident in this scene, where old fashion can be recycled yet still current.



The eponymous final scene, ‘Samsara’, exhibited ornate black opulence. Model’s faces were splashed with painted masks, initially looking like oil splatter but with magpie blue/black shades. Materials echoed the powerful ambience, featuring netting, chain, pleather, lace, and feathers. The finale felt like the black swan of the entire show, with bondage styles ringing throughout the pieces.


The evening was rounded off with a speech from the committee, announcing over £10,000 had been raised for these amazing charities! We were so grateful to have attended (and to have only seen three models fall, yet recover spectacularly and with so much grace), and hope LRFS’ message on eco-friendly fashion made an impact on the audience, as it certainly had one on us.



All photos are the authors’ own. 


Alex Farley-Wood and Laura Mavrias

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