LRFS 2017 – A Retrospective

Fashion Editor, Ellie Tattam, reflects on last year’s ‘Samsara’ themed fashion show in all it’s glory.

As we near the latest instalment of the Leeds Rag Fashion Show, it only makes sense to take a look back on the success of the previous year’s show, Samsara, to get us all itching to see what 2018 has in store. 

Samsara was themed around the idea of Sustainability, choosing to support the two charities: Cruelty Free International Trust, which is an organisation who aid the stopping of animal testing with focus surrounding the cosmetic industry, and Labour Behind the Label, a charity working to motivate company transparency and improve labour conditions within the industry which still remain devastating in some cases.  These charities were very appropriately selected and the idea of opting to use a fashion show event to draw attention to such pressing matters in the fashion industry was a well thought out concept. Sponsoring the show was Deliveroo and No Curfew Events, whilst Marks and Spencer also made a significant donation to the selected charities ensuring the success of the RAG event in making a difference to these causes. 

The show itself was perfectly executed and will prove difficult to top. The team were driven, hard-working and incredibly motivated, which shone through in the final product. 

 The show was split into six sections,  growing from the roots of the earth through to the eventual Samsara finale, Samsara meaning world and referring to the cyclic changes it encompasses including the idea of rebirth. The first section got down to the earthly roots where everything begins, reflected on the catwalk with environmental looks and the concept of sustainability. There was a very natural, earthly tone to the garments, emphasised by the muted tones of the clothes and their cuts and shapes referring to leaf-like shapes. 

Progressing into the next scene, this focused on reflection on the elements, with reference to coal, oil, water and diamonds. The composition of elements and glorious use of body art and jewels was hard to draw your eye from, particularly after the minimal looks of the previous section. The light was composed to reflect and emphasise the shimmer of the outfit constructions and the daring use of mesh and paint drew on some great Free the Nipple vibes. 

Back to basics, the third section reintroduced minimal styles, which strived to represent the benefits of the slow fashion industry and demonstrate the lack of necessity for the pace of fast fashion that surrounds us today. The outfits were beautifully composed, presenting the idea that beauty can be easily achieved and patience is a key component in attaining this. Out of all of the pieces, model Lydia Evans definitely topped it all off with her incredible spiral silhouette monopolising the catwalk, all executed professionally. Section four then reverted to a more vibrant motif in advocating the glory of reworked denim. This scene was by far one of the most enjoyable of them all, the choreography and vibrant attitudes of the models making everyone want to get up and join in. There was a vintage attitude to the collection and the use of popping colours, textures and tones effectively complemented the denim dynamics, not to forget the fishnets!

The final two scenes were equally thrilling. The fifth contained plenty of reworked denim, suggesting an idea of revival. All of the pieces were high end vintage which demonstrated the idea that vintage can be as trendy as you like it to be and the recycling of garments doesn’t mean that it has to lose its appeal, if anything it can enhance it. Everyone was dolled up to the max and looked incredible, particularly the statement lace ball gown which although covered very little, left a mighty impression of elegance and glamour. And of course, the finale. Samsara. It left the show hanging with a dark, twisted outlook as to what the outcome would be if sustainability wasn’t something we developed compassion for. An end to make an impact, the garments were striking and featured a heavy constitution of PVC and remarkable make up that sent the show out with an explosion of applause. 

All in all, Samsara was a great success and the composition, styling and outcome of the show was amazing. Now we’ve had a refreshment of what we were blown away with in 2017, we will be gripping the edge of our seats waiting to see what will be in store for TIME.LESS. And I have a feeling we will not be disappointed.

Ellie Tattam

Image: Joanna Patalot