In the run up to the Leeds RAG fashion show on the 11th February, we catch up with the show’s directors Esther Eldridge and Rachel Archer on how they’re hoping to make this year the best yet.
What are you both studying and how much has this helped you?
We both study Political subjects – Politics and Philosophy and International Development. It’s important to know the issues that surround the global economy and governmental relations as fashion does operate in a political environment. It also helped us decide the charities we wanted to support and why we believe they should be the heart of the show. Socio-economic issues have been raised by our studies and fuelled our passion for helping in the charity sector.
How will the 2016 RAG show differ from previous years?
Every year tries to be bigger and better, and this year we are no different. We’re very focused on our chosen charities and keep them at the centre of everything we do. We want everyone to feel included and that they can be a part of a fantastic event. Our theme is also about breaking boundaries and moving away from previous fantasy based themes.
What made you pick the charities will you be raising money for this year?
Most of us are in very privileged positions as students that an unfortunate amount of people will never have the same access to. Both of the charities we have chosen address inequalities in society and provide new opportunities for people. Leeds MENCAP is a fantastic local charity that works with children and young adults with learning disabilities, many who come from deprived backgrounds, to provide them with support and access to resources. The world is currently facing a devastating global refugee crisis, the Refugee Council works directly with these refugees helping them to rebuild their lives.
What is the most important thing you aim to achieve from this whole process?
The most important thing for us is raising as much money and awareness as possible for the chosen charities. The whole reason we are doing it and all our profits go to the charities, and we want everyone to have a fantastic time while raising money for such worthwhile causes.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Our biggest challenge so far has been managing a work/life balance. We are both very passionate third year students with part-time jobs and we find it hard to switch off. We want the show to be the best yet for everyone involved, including our fantastic committee.
How much of a part are local designers and shops playing this year?
There is a great range of local designers, featuring everything from vintage to scandi fashion. We have tried to source local designers and get as many Leeds shops as possible involved on varying scales. We also have fantastic local hairdressers Renegade providing us with styling for the show.
How have you avoided previous issues such as controversy over model casting?
We have kept model castings open and we invited everyone to come along. Our models were chosen for their fantastic personalities and enthusiasm for the show.
How did you pick the themes, and when will you announce them?
We picked the theme based on something that was completely different to what has been before. We wanted to steer away from the mystical and to have something real and relatable for everyone. Keep your eyes peeled, our theme is announced on the 14th of January.
What does your day to day role involve at the moment?
We are busy every day, meeting with different teams on our committee, managing our social media platforms and juggling lots of tasks. The best part of our job is that in one day we can experience everything from styling to finance, although this can sometimes be a test.
How do you find managing such a huge team of people?
Our committee is absolutely fantastic and we are lucky to have such talented amount of people on board. Obviously at times it can be stressful trying to make thirty different voices heard but we are overwhelmed by the levels of enthusiasm on the committee and support we have had from the RAG team.
What events will be taking place between now and the show?
We have our ‘Winter Warmer’ on the 8th of December featuring mulled wine and stalls featuring everything from henna to homemade crafts. We also have a Fitness fun day planned for January the 26th.
What would you say to anyone wanting to get involved next year?
Go go go! It will be one of the most rewarding experiences you can be a part of and you will meet some incredible people. The skills you learn are invaluable to help you develop both in your personal and private life. Also, fingers crossed, when we raise the fantastic amount we hope to raise for charity it will be the best feeling in the world!
What are you most excited about between now and the show?
Esther: To watch our dreams change into reality.
Rachel: Yeah and to strut our stuff on the catwalk at the end of the show.
Cover image: Tom Mill