Horizon 2017, the third edition of the charity fashion show organised by students of Glasgow University, took place on the 18th of February, once again attracting the best talent as well as the University's many fashion icons for a night of unapologetic glamour housed in the rough warehouse interiors of SWG3. Established as a philanthropic enterprise which annually supports a charity of choice, this year's GUCFS effectively intertwined visionary designs set in the backdrop of Glasgow's post-industrial aesthetic in an effort to raise a considerable donation for SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health), Scotland’s leading mental health charity founded in 1923.
Brought about by a team of dedicated students, the fashion show was a culmination of extensive preparations and a series of painstakingly organised campaigns that ran throughout the academic year.
While the fashion was undeniably the focal point of the evening, it did not overshadow the society's core mission. Bringing together a large body of students, the night was foremost a gala dedicated to raising awareness of mental ill-health.
As a first-time attender of a charity fashion show (or any fashion show for that matter), I was absolutely struck by the sheer professionalism and grandeur of the event. From the minute I got out of the cab and shuffled over to the venue in my skin-tight dress and heels I had not yet mastered walking in, I was faced with a poised and astonishingly well-dressed crowd. Once inside, I followed the blasting house music and found myself in the vast warehouse space featuring the centrally positioned catwalk and a lengthy bar swarmed by attendees wishing to ready themselves for the show.
The catwalk itself kicked off slightly after 10 o'clock, opening with futuristic and irresistibly extravagant designs by a Salford University graduate Adeel Kaiser Ali, whose collection had also featured in the London Graduate Fashion Week. The boldly original outfits completed by bizarre sci-fi-esque white sunglasses firmly established it as my personal favourite.
The models, if not all professionals, definitely appeared as such. Walking down the runway without one false step, Sheena Mac Auley, a 4th year Business and Management student and a model since the age of 15, told me about the perpetual worries faced even by the most experienced in the field: 'There are always thoughts like what if I trip or what if my heel gets caught in my hem. The best thing to do is appear confident, that's key.'
Meredith Stewart, also a 4th-year student and a professional model, said: 'It was strange stepping out on the night as we hadn't rehearsed with many people watching, and suddenly there were all these bright lights and people screaming, some people would put their arms on the runway or touch you on the leg which was a surprise!'
Despite the nerves that might have stuck with the models and the organisers, the show was professional and thoroughly entertaining, no doubt exceeding expectations of many. The runway was all incredibly well thought out, with an unusual flow of collections which kept viewers engaged and impatient to see more.
Following the quirky collection by Adeel, the audience was exposed to a series of mixed regional and foreign aesthetic influences, ranging from casual contemporary wear by Edinburgh based Trapped Clothing to a Spanish-inspired collection by Fernanda Goodship, abundant in fluted sleeves, ruffled skirts and necklines which were amongst the crowd's favourites.
The second half of the show was largely dominated by regional influences, with the grand finale showcasing the national garb with perfectly tailored kilts by MacGregor and MacDuff.
Placing emphasis on the value of community and joined collective efforts in fundraising for a good cause, GUCFS also prides itself in being a society which tightens bonds between students, allowing them to grow as a community and develop sought-after skills.
Indeed, after the show Sheena Mac Auley said: 'Over the course of the preparations you make lots of new friends, through the two years I've been involved in GUCFS I've made friends for life and strengthened relationships that were previously existing'.
Similarly, Nina Mdwaba who is currently a second year joint-honours student of psychology and theatre said: 'The GUCFS fashion show was by far one of my favourite shows that I've been involved in. Everyone was super nice and the atmosphere was light and cheerful.'
All in all, Horizon 2017 was a well-executed social gathering which attracted a significant portion of the student body and ingrained a sense of collective community while contributing to the spreading of mental health awareness.