We spoke to the directors and models of Leeds RAG Fashion Show 2023

And learnt about what went on behind the scenes of this year’s show

The Tab Leeds spoke to director, Zuzanna Fiedorowicz , and models, Millie Kaye and Mia Hadjigeorgiou to find out about what it was like to be a part of Leeds RAG Fashion Show 2023.

Q. So, tell me about yourself.

Zuzanna: “I’m Zuzanna, an international student from Poland and I study Business Management with Marketing.”

Millie: “I’m Millie and I’m studying Fashion Branding with Communication at Leeds Arts University.”

Mia: “I’m Mia, a second year student from Manchester, studying History.”

Q. Zuzanna, what made you want to direct this year’s show?

Zuzanna: “In my second year I planned to apply for a marketing position but then lockdown happened and I felt that it wasn’t my time. Then I moved to Copenhagen and started working in the industry for the first time which gave me a lot of confidence. When I came back and decided to apply for the show my flatmates said, ‘Why are you applying for a marketing position? Apply to be a director!’ and I just thought, ‘It’s my last year in Leeds. Why not?’”

Q. What made you want to model for this year’s show?

Mia: “Last year’s show was so good and I just thought, ‘I really want to be a part of that’ and so I applied to be a model this year!”

Millie: “I’m part of a small modelling agency called ‘Northern Soul’ so I heard about it through there but I also planned on auditioning anyway. But, I don’t know about you, Mia, but I was so nervous about the audition.”

Mia: “Yeah, so, I wear contact lenses and I decided to not put them in so that I could blur out people’s faces during the audition and even for the real show! Also we would drink a bit backstage to get a bit of the nerves out.”

Photo credits: @benz_jyp

Q. What did this year’s topic of mental health mean to you guys?

Zuzanna: “I am someone who has struggled with mental health for the majority of my life and I feel like I’m finally in a place where I’m dealing with it. At home, mental health wasn’t something we talked about much and there was a lot of stigma around it. Our generation was the first to start talking about it and I thought this was an amazing platform to have this conversation and I think Josh was in agreement with that.”

Q. Tell us about the outfit you wore and what you liked about it.

Mia: “I didn’t actually know what I was going to be wearing until a day before the show but I was in the Punk-rock inspired scene; ‘Anger’. The designer, Agnes, created a Vivienne Westwood-inspired outfit which included a tartan corset with a red mesh underlay with tartan flared trousers. Then I wore my own block Mary Janes which hurt my feet so much but it was a really cool outfit and I think it was really important to pay homage to the mother of punk. I think I want to praise my stylist, Jess, as well because it was a lot to organise.”

Millie: “I wore a goth-inspired outfit for the scene, ‘Sadness’. It included a black button up top with a lace top and a skirt with a slit. We added a choker on my thigh and had my hair slicked back. Working with Lily, the stylist for ‘Sadness’, was really cool and she was really communicative the whole time.”

Names of stylists mentioned: Lily Sutton, Jessica Brodigan

Photo credits: @4liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii_

Q. What was your greatest challenge during the experience?

Zuzanna: “One of the main challenges was trying to gain corporate sponsors but also trying to get them to take us seriously. It’s a major event but when corporate companies hear ‘student-led’ it’s seen as a small thing. Some companies never even responded which was very discouraging but we’re still so proud that we did our best and we’re grateful for the people who contributed.”

Mia: “I’m just going to be candid- I’ve struggled with body issues and an eating disorder for quite a few years. There were four months between when our measurements were taken and the show so I had it in my head that I had to fit the measurements I was then. Also, my dad works away a lot and I knew no matter how I did my he’d be proud of me but I had this inner feeling of really wanting to impress him. But I think the whole thing’s been a massive confidence boost. My mum was concerned for a while it might go the other way but I think because of the support network I feel more confident now.”

Millie: “Bringing that confidence was a massive challenge. Having to take on a character in the theme of ‘Sadness’ was also something I’d never done before. I had to walk slower for ‘Sadness’ which was challenging because I had to concentrate and I could really feel my legs shaking.”

Q. How would you sum up your experience at Leeds RAG Fashion Show?

Zuzanna: “My highlight was meeting the people that I met. Even through the topic of mental health I found out so much about everyone’s own personal struggles and heard stories about how they got better which was so empowering. A lot of people could also relate to what Josh and I went through. It was so great to see mine and Josh’s vision come to life through this army of people who shared our values.”

Mia: “The words that come to mind are massive confidence boost, family-environment and very creative and innovative. We all became friends really quickly. There were times where things were stressful but the directors never took the stress out on anyone else.”

Millie: “It was a super supportive environment and it was really nice to be around people who were on the same wavelength as me. Doing all this for a good cause was really cool and the hard work that everyone put in was incredible.”

Featured image credit via @benz_jyp

Related stories recommended by this writer:

We went to Leeds RAG Fashion Show 2023

Leeds’ worst dating horror stories 

• A guide and definitive ranking of Leeds clubs