We went to Leeds RAG Fashion Show 2023

And here’s everything you missed


After raising £23,895 last year, LRFS was back again for its 15th year for an incredible show raising money for the charities, Young Minds and Leeds Survivor-Led Crisis Service, following this year’s theme of Mental Health.

The highly anticipated Leeds RAG fashion show has won numerous awards, including the Best Event at the LUU, so it was no surprise that this year was as breathtaking and thought-provoking as ever.

Through the concept of “Eudemonia”, the directors hoped to portray the “journey that many young people are challenged to undertake in order to achieve a happy life” and highlight the message that no one needs to suffer in silence.

“Eudemonia”, directly translated, is the Greek word for well-being and good spirit; a very fitting theme for this year’s cause.

Directors, Zuzanna Fiedorowicz and Joshua Davies

The show, which took place in The Refectory, consisted of five scenes, portraying the different stages and struggles of navigating “Eudemonia”.

Sadness

The first scene titled “Sadness” presented a series of designs using mostly blacks and drawing on Gothic literature and art to reflect one’s darkest and most painful experiences.

The blue lighting and sombre keyboard playing was the perfect accompaniment to the collection of draped, dark fabrics.

Designers included: Kelly Ros, Banu Esen, Zoe Brooker, Sophie Dee, Estelle Smalley, Ummara Amjad, Macy Austin, Jess Gulliver, Izabella Jarvis and Katie Forsyth.

Stylist: Lily Sutton

Lost

Scene two focused on the theme, “Lost”, exploring and exposing a “post-apocalyptic world”. The designs reflected a chaotic mental state through the use of unsymmetrical outfits and futuristic garments.

Lydia Violeta, popular content creator and student, told The Leeds Tab “the portrayal of mental struggle was captured beautifully through the designs”.

Members of the audience also blocked their ears at the intense music, paralleling the “unnerving” sentiment that comes with feeling lost.

Stylist: Ashita Doshi

Anger

Inspired by Punk, the third scene titled “Anger” displayed a series of reds, blacks and whites, featuring choker necklaces and dark make-up looks. The models took to the stage in a series of fitted corsets and mixed metals, contrasted with bare skin and carefully crafted tears and rips.

The bright, red lighting acknowledged the anger one feels towards the world, at situations we are faced with, those around us and ourselves.

This scene featured the works of the following designers: Georgia Peach, Gabriella Hyland, Thea Jobson, Fabrizio Corbjno, Agnieszka Agne Zukowska, Ruslan Zinchenko, Sash Wilding, Cat Studio and Zosia Davis.

Stylist: Jessica Brodigan

After the first half, it was time for cocktails at Terrace. Just before the start of the second half, a short interview with students was played on the screen. They are asked, “What gives you hope for the future?” to which one girl replies “rainbows”, explaining that this is what she calls any small thing that makes her smile in her day-to-day life.

Found

This takes the audience smoothly into the next scene titled, “Found”. We made a swift departure from leather and tailored darks, to a parade of tulles, silks and floating pastel fabrics. This featured softer coloured designs, including  pastel pinks, whites and rose golds with some models holding flowers down the catwalk; a new theme of mental peace.

This scene’s designers included: Georgia Peach, Lucia Guedan, Mary, Kavya Nepal, Louis Oreilly, Gabriella Sanchez, Olivia Eden, Eleanor Wylde, Zhong Studio, Macy Austin, Georgia Rand, Estelle Smalley, Zosia Davis and Jemimah. 

Stylist: Jessica Dunn

Hope

The final scene titled “Hope” featured models beaming down the catwalk dressed in bold frills and bright colour combinations with one of the final dresses featuring a bright pink trail which seemed to be a crowd favourite.

I heard a guy behind me say, “there’s something about seeing people happy that makes me happy” and I think that perfectly sums up the mood of this scene.

The designers in the “Hope” scene included: Meg Gardner, Benedetta Lanzione, Gabriella Sanchez, Louis O’Reilly, Saba Siddiqui, Sophie Merriner, Kamal Barwany, Maximillian Raynor and Harriet Hooper

Stylist: Charlotte Parry

One of the show’s greatest strengths seemed to have been the attention to detail. The contrasting facial expressions and walking styles of the models between each scene played a significant role in transforming the atmosphere and mood in the room, reflecting the message of their outfits.

The powerful changes in lighting and music, and my personal favourite addition of the candles at the end of the catwalk in the first scene, did not go unnoticed.

Issy, a Leeds student , said “the lighting and music really made the atmosphere”, excellently accompanying the incredible pieces put together by the designers and stylists of the show.

Two members of the audience told The Leeds Tab: “the makeup, the accessories, the hairstyles; it’s all literally perfect”. The work of the hair stylists, makeup artists and entire backstage team behind the scenes cannot go without mention. All the models looked breathtaking.

The talent of young creatives, along with their love for fashion and art, truly served as a wonderful contribution toward positive change in the perception of mental health.

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