Written by Gemma E JonesLJMU English Student, Opinions Editor of The Looprevil Press and Assistant Editor of the American Studies Today.
Photography by Denise McKeown
Last Thursday night, what were you doing? Doing work? Sitting alone at home similar to a lonely spinster watching the television and eating ice cream and crying in the dark? Or perhaps the opposite of spinster-ism…being a quintessential bachelor type and having a cheeky catch up with friends? (“Catch Up” of course consisting of alcohol, epic pub banter and trying to hit on everyone who walks within ten yards of you…)
Well suffice to say that whatever you were doing on that god forbidden night you missed out majorly on the ROGUE ethical fashion show cased to high esteem on our very own of doorstep of the Liverpool Student’s Union building.
Not only was it tremendously fun and worthwhile going and partaking in gloriously gazing out the outfits if you too are quite the fashion enthusiast like me, but it was fundamentally too for a lovingly worthwhile charitable cause. And I ask you dear peasants, what can be better than sitting on the “FROW” of a fashion show, staring infatuated at various beautiful outfits and models and knowing that such a fun loving and slightly-ever-so-obsessive fashionable hobby can actually help and contribute towards the greater good of mankind?
Certainly nothing else in this sad and miserable life.
And believe me after seeing some of the outfits from this particular show, you can sign me up for all the charitable causes you want, as long as I am surrounded and smothered by leather, gold chains and vintage bags, I’ll be more than willing.
Raising funds and awareness of Christian Aid, the show was organised by current Liverpool John Moores communication students and an LJMU English graduate, Jessica Durham who has an internship with Christian Aid itself.
The concept behind ROGUE was inspired and intensified by the statistics on climate change and how easily people (particularly us guilty and ever so slightly fashion conscious women…myself included!) are willing to throw billions of their old clothes away every year, without really having any comprehension on what it is doing to our continuously depreciating and decaying environment.
Liverpool John Moores University fashion students became motivated and captivated by Jessica’s aims and generously used their own free time to create, design and fabricate designs and collections for the benefit of raising money for third world poverty and the organisation itself.
Jamie Elwood, Melissa Dawson and Victoria Rawley, second year fashion students who volunteered and created the one of the most acclaimed collections of the night ‘Enchanted Nightmares’ were more than happy to do their bit not only to assist the charity the best they can but as a god-given opportunity to broadcast to an audience their creative flairs. They agreed:
“It was quite hard to collaborate as we all have different styles. But it was more time consuming than expensive because it was an ethical show, I mean we have still got material in a bag left from our designs.”
And that was one of the main motifs of the show, inexpensiveness. HOWEVER before the show started paradoxically, me amongst other clothes hoarding lovers and financially dangerous shopaholics alike were kept busy (and distracted easily from what I was supposed to be doing…supposed “work” and “reporting”) whilst final preparations were being made with the large array of impressive vintage fashion stalls.
Everywhere I turned I became intoxicated by denim jackets, silk shirts, vintage clutch bags and pretty cute as a button maxi dresses as bright as the eye could see.
Amongst the fashion stalls were renowned local businesses such as Red Hat No Knickers (www.redhatnoknickers.co.uk) , Moth Balls, Re-Enchanted Susan Hayward and Pillbox Vintage.
One of the stalls that attracted me avidly like the old stylish moth to the fashionable flame was Wanda’s Wardrobe (http://www.wandas-wardrobe.co.uk/) in which recent Liverpool John Moores graduate, Aimee Walsh, runs under the LJMU Enterprise scheme.
Aimee has been doing the scheme for two months where they tell you how to run a business. If they teach you directly about a business full of fabulous vintage one-off finds nobody else will ever have, well you can count my sorry cigarette tailored pants behind in.
After some impulsive and I-shouldn’t-have-bought-that-really-you-know purchases, the fashion show began. The first half of the show was solely dedicated to designs and collections the Liverpool John Moores fashion students made; making clothing from recycled materials and branding them as wearable.
Amongst the loud catwalk music and smoke effects, there was many an outfit that caught my wandering and roaming eyes. These consisted of; grey and black dresses, brimmed with black spikes in a clever and original architectural twist (very Statue of Liberty, if the Statue of Liberty had style and went to after parties of course… really though, who knew a statue could be so trendy?!), Beyonce-esque “Single Ladies” outfits, oozing classic sex bomb allure, sports luxe knitted bodices, recycled party leather dresses (Think D&G people) and playsuits amidst with pretty Polly lace.
Some of the sort of course you couldn’t wear for a night out or to go get a pint of milk from the shop as of course not all catwalk creations should be mimicked (well…mimic if you dare and at your own peril…) as they stand as the bridges of ultimate creativity and as works of art.
Yet I was surprised by how simplistic, minimal and significantly wearable some of the pieces from the collection were. Sheer blouses, simply elegant dresses (ideal for a night out amongst your amigos) and classic velvet top and golden skirt combos where some of the pieces that made me convert ever so slightly from a high street shop junky to an ethical fashion devotee. I felt even more inadequate that I myself , a sheer peasant with no creative or sewing skills could not even dream of being such an ethical fashion lover when the bar was raised even higher again by the second collection; the coats.
I tell you if Spring Summer was not sulking very closely around the corner of our streets I would have been right now, roaming around the streets of Liverpool One like a lunatic looking for acceptable and similar copy cats.
Amongst the coats were Kerry Crone’s very lovely and McQueen-esque maroon leather coat which was the first one that appeared on the runway and made me just get a little bit too overexcited, like a spoilt blonde middle class child opening up her 50 Christmas presents or something. Others too were very imitative of Burberry’s classic styles and this collection was very much for the boys too, so never fear you males! Suffice to say granddad jumpers and navy cardigans are definitely back in town…(And thus should incidentally be on your radar.)
The next collection followed up on pure vintage fashions and outfits. Vintage too in a sense is partly ethical and by wearing other peoples “trash” your are making them into your own personal “treasures” and thus proves justification and a sudden epiphany that the vintage stalls were not just there for my own aesthetic enjoyment (it’s not all about you Gemma sadly…), they were there to take part, unveil their own key pieces and intensify the appeal of a revived and ever growing fascination with modern vintage street style.
Suffice to say the stalls and vintage outfits did not disappoint. Whatsoever. When does vintage ever disappoint? Everything I saw I became hypersexual over. This was because I knew there was only one of them and that one solitary item would be mine and mine alone for the taking. I wanted everything. I wanted the red dress, the midi floral skirts and dresses similar to SS12 designs of Louis Vitton, the black maxi dresses with the gold specs and the navy blue see through dress even though I would have nowhere on this earth to wear it. Even if I just had it to wear around the house to the dishes in like some mad Edwardian women , I would be quite contented. Never mind. I suppose there is always the next fashion show…
I managed to grab an interview with organiser and Christian aid worker Jessica Durham after the show to congratulate her on such a wonderful fashionable display, aesthetically pleasing to my own naked eyes and arranging the Liverpool John Moores students and Vintage shops to create/bring in such pretty lust worthy clothes:
GS: So what was the inspiration behind the ROGUE ethical Fashion Show?
JD: The ethical show was basically to show awareness of our climate change, the fact that we waste billions of tonnes of clothing each year is just shocking. I think it’s important for Christian Aid to highlight and educate people through fashion how we are responsible when we throw our clothes away, particularly women as they are the ones most affected by fashion.
GS: The statistics are that high? I feel so guilty now myself! But when you say an “ethical” show what does that really mean?
JD: The “ethical” stance for this show is the recycling or rather the “upcycling” of old clothes. The stuff the fashion students made obviously was mostly made from recycled material itself but the vintage side to the show was to show that what people throw out for waste which is deconstructive for the climate other people could be easily interested in. The show is then ethical in that sense as well. I have a few friends from the vintage stalls here too who were very happy to help.
GS: I couldn’t agree more. I don’t know how anyone would want to throw that vintage stuff away! How come you decided to use the Liverpool Student Union as a venue?
JD: It is right on our doorstep and sometimes it is overlooked and never used. We wanted to promote the SU other than just a place where people drink and get many different people involved. We wanted to utilise essentially what we already had.
GS: That makes perfect sense…I thought it was a really good spacious venue…and talking of the fashion show did you find anything that caught your eye, what was your favourite collection?!
JD: I can’t say that! (Laughs and pauses.) I really liked the “Enchanted Nightmares” collection near the beginning; I found the designs and pieces from that really interesting. I also loved the 1950’s inspired pink aprons as they showed a really positive message about women and domesticity and the girls really got the message of a creative domestic.
GS: They really caught my eyes as well…so artistic! Is there anything else you would like to say or add regarding the show?
JD: Yes, I’d just like to thank everyone who has been involved in the show from the lecturers, to the fashion students inspired by what I said, organisers and Christian Aid. They are amazing students and really can’t thank them all enough and just wanted to say that fashion does not just have to be so high end as we all can’t afford it. I hope the show proves this and changes people’s perceptions.
An engaging atmosphere, a brilliantly creative show, providing myself and others with loads of possible inspirations for my own Spring/Summer outfits. I hope Liverpool Student Union decides to forgo another overflow of spontaneous ethical fashion very very soon. In the mean time, I might get my little self reacquainted with the Liverpool street vintage shops…after as the designers have proven all that glitters certainly can be gold, if of course you want it to be…