Tasha Johnson brings us a spectacular round-up of the ACS Fashion Show, which took place just over a fortnight ago in order to fundraise for Leeds Mind charity.
What is the ACS?
The ACS stands for the African and Caribbean Society, under the umbrella of Leeds University Union. The society aims to educate members socially and professionally, so that they are more aware of themselves, and to empower and celebrate black culture. Members don’t have to be from African or Caribbean backgrounds, and the society is a safe place for people to develop themselves and friendships with others, as well as partake in fun cultural events.
What was the fundraiser for?
The event was intended to raise money for the charity Leeds Mind, which is an organisation centred around helping people achieve positive mental health. Harrison Pepple, the society’s welfare officer, said: “The main purpose of the show is to start a conversation on mental health, as it’s not spoken about much in the African-Caribbean Society. It’s important to let people know that they have a place to go if they need it, and that free counselling is available.” The show also aimed to showcase local designers of colour, and to support black businesses and anyone trying to get their name out there.
The theme of the show was ‘Phase’, looking toward different phases in fashion. For example, the Just Harry Designs’ collection represented the new movement toward more sustainable fashion with the use of recycled denim. The street wear collection, all of which was handmade, featured items such as a patchwork denim jacket, a patchwork denim skirt, and a series of t-shirts with flirty denim shapes on the nipple. Also, the collection from Mel Fox/The G in Me perfectly embodied the streetwear trend, with unique and interesting garments. Particularly memorable was the prison inspired jumpsuit, and the khaki jumpsuit.
Overall, the event had a great atmosphere throughout, with everyone in attendance having a genuinely great time. I would very much recommend joining the ACS and becoming a part of their inspiring creative movement, or at the very least attending one of their wonderful events.
The show kicked off with the first walk by designer Sheri Cuffe, featuring beautiful handmade two-piece designs, with a subverted kimono creation in periwinkle, lime, yellow and cream. Sheri Cuffe’s collection was inspired by the arrival of the Windrush generation in 1948 (a large group of people from the Caribbean immigrating to Britain). Each of the four pieces was beautifully embroidered with intricate patterns on the back representing different Caribbean islands. Fans and handbaskets were used as accessories to convey the idea of the women stepping off the boat and starting their new lives.
Accent Clothing and Tnisha Ranae
A range of suave and elegant men’s suits were displayed courtesy of Accent Clothing, while BA Fashion student Tnisha Ranae showcased a collection of women’s wear and swimsuits. Her collection paid tribute to her cousin, who died after being fatally stabbed in the chest outside a bar in Leeds city centre. According to Tnisha, “the swimwear was just really about embracing natural body shapes and sizes and having diverse models in race, shape, weight, height and size.” But, for the other collection, “it is dedicated to Marlon. He died from a single stab wound to the heart, so I looked at the heart and what protects it, the rib cage and muscles, and that informed my designs.”
Clyde Sherrife’s collection centred around a particular print, which was navy with a pop of colour. The dresses all shared this print, but varied in style and cut, and beautifully complemented both lighter and darker skin tones.