Charity and haute couture come together at Glasgow University
Glasgow University’s first ever fashion show took to the catwalk on Saturday 21st February, raising money for ‘The Beaston Pebble Appeal’ with an impressive and professional spectacle. Hunter Halls underwent a massive transformation, boasting a huge catwalk, impressive speakers and DJ set, as well as VIP tables, bars and a dance floor. Just from the initial set up, the time and effort put into the event was apparent; it screamed professionalism, culture and, more importantly, Glasgow.
The whole night reeked of dedication and sophistication; walking into Hunter Halls you could easily imagine yourself in London or Paris. Howie Nicholspy, designer for 21st century kilts and with over 500 fashion shows under his belt, spoke exclusively to the Glasgow Guardian stating “The whole setup was professional, the models were all good looking and well picked. It’s rare to actually have a professional fashion show, expect of course for Paris, London, Milan; the majority of shows we do are charity events and this is definitely up there ”.
Most universities regularly host fashion shows to some extent, however the St. Andrew’s Charity Fashion is the main contender, being one of the largest in Scotland. Nicholspy went on to say “St Andrews this year was a monster mess up of a party; Models came out in our kilts topless and women sprayed champagne on all of them, ignoring the fact that these designer kilts now needed to be cleaned”.
This year’s charity, the Beaston Pebble Appeal, is one of Scotland’s pioneers for cancer research. The Appeal proudly opened the new Wolfson Wohl Centre at the Glasgow University’s Garscube Estate with the help of over £10 million in public donations last year. The University’s research in Cancer Studies has been rated in the top five in the UK and is already considered the best in Scotland. The GUCSF has now made a significant contribution to his achievement, aiming to raise £20,000 for the Beaston Pebble Appeal.
The fashion set itself showcased a broad and interesting range of clothes. KellyDawn Riot, a Glasgow Art School graduate, kicked off the show with a vibrant,creative and almost asiatic collection of Menswear. The designer Kelly McGrath was recently awarded the “New Talent Award for Scotland, Re:Designed” which she describes and an “exhilarating experience”
21st Century Kilts were also one of the crowd’s favorites, boasting a interesting and modern take on Scotland’s traditional garb, meaning designer Howie Nicholspy and assistant Fraser Moody really stole the second half of the show. Nicholspy is a legend in the Scottish Fashion world, growing up in the industry, he took over his parents hand-sewn kilt business when he was only 18.
Rachel Macmillan, a Glasgow-born, Heriot-Watt university graduate, brought a fabulous range of womenswear. Nominated for Young Designer of the year within 6 months of her company's launch, her captivating showcase of dresses, coats and outfits brought a mix of simplicity, design and colour (or lack of it). The finale, appropriately named boxer shorts brand DIck Winters, met a great reaction from the crowd.
Abandon Ship Apparel, brought Glasgow’s hipsterish fashion to stage, with models sporting dresses with unique patterns such as; a range of crustaceans, repeating patterns of watermelons and cartoonified babies in various outfits and positions.One model showcased a simplistic white t-shirt with the words “If you’re seeing this now, its too late” awkwardly sharpied across in capitals. Maybe thats just too hipster for Glasgow.
Backstage, Nadejda Spassova, a student studying finance and statistics, chose to be the head of womenswear over the catwalk, and described the show as “beautifully organised”. In an exclusive with the Glasgow Guardian, she went on to say “My job was to scream at people, it was highly stressful and I had to get everyone ready and in line, but everyone performed beautifully, I loved the whole thing and it was a lot more than I was hoping for”. Nadejda, who usually takes the role of a model, was one of the vital organisers for GUCSF; “It was a great experience to be an organiser backstage, its very stressful; there's a lot more authority and responsibility, while the models are great, like the icing on the cake, its backstage where the work happens.”
Cameron Tasker, the artistic director, was equally delighted with how the event unfolded. He told the Glasgow Guardian “I’m really happy with tonight, all the hard work that went in, showed and the whole event was to a good standard, I’m extremely proud”. When asked about the stress involve, Tasker optimistically replied “Yes, it can be stressful, but its worth it in the end, life is like a stressful rollercoaster anyway, but this has come out better than I Imagined”. He went on to say “Bring on 2016”.
The models of the show, made up entirely of students who were scouted on campus, explained their joy in the experience. Ossian Broman, University of Glasgow student from Sweden, said how he was initially “Scared shitless, I had no past experience, but I really enjoyed it, and I loved the kilt selection.” Johanna Crighton, an English literature student from Preston, said “even though I’m not looking for a fashion career, I’m loving this so far, the timing is so difficult, its harder than you think, but its worth it in the end”
Annabeth Wilson told the Glasgow Guardian “it extremely hectic, I think we seemed professional and even though we noticed some mistakes, hopefully the others wouldn’t notice”. When asked about the difficulty of modeling, Annabeth replied “it becomes like a character, you learn to block out your friends and family, my mum and sister were there, looking straight at me, but I couldn’t react or think about it because I would mess up my timing”
Morgan McTiernan, Co-Head of Publicity, told the Glasgow Guardian that some of the models had been scouted after the show and are on the road to a true fashion career.
Despite all this success it was still a student event, and of course some students seemed not to notice the fashion show that was getting in the way of their drinking. Another student was also kindly escorted out of the building an hour before the show even started, are misjudging his jump onto the VIP table spilling the contents of a bucket of free drinks.
The mysterious and secret location of the after party was revealed to be “the ferry”, a boat on the river Clyde. Despite a lack of adequate transport to the venue, the atmosphere inside was incredible, notably with all the models and designers finally de-stressing after the tremendous buildup and main event. While the DJ was subpar, the drinks were expensive and there was a total of 2 taxis available to take the 200+ students leaving the remote location home, this barely made a dent in the night itself, which was wonderfully executed.
Overall, the GUCFS have set the bar extremely high with their first ever fashion show. They were undoubtedly on par, or possibly even better than St. Andrews, even when Miss World Ellie McKeating was a no-show and designer Ellie Mckeating pulled out. GUCFS should be very proud of their achievement and have laid the foundations of a highly successful annual fashion show.