[Written by Florence Bridgman (she/her)]
[Image Credits: Florence Bridgman]
Crucially, when we engage in societal debates as important as domestic violence, we should guard from simply pitching the genders one against the other in a retrospective brawl. Instead, progression is more likely to be found in ventures that foster unity and mutual appreciation; for me In Bloom, this year’s Glasgow University Charity Fashion Show (GUCFS), did exactly that. Congratulations for a professional, innovative and joyful show!
Our eyes were delighted by an impressively wide array of designer pieces, a visual reminder that there is no wrong way to bloom. Resplendent colour mixed with minimalist demure and the avant-garde walked hand in hand with tradition, all modelled to their maximum by diverse catwalkers. The statement was entirely unifying because it’s ok to be individual. “The Fashion” no longer dictates—you choose it for yourself.
Along with global designers, there was a welcome to Scotland’s own blossoming fashion scene with Emma Wilkinson’s crisp and fresh take on the Scottish kilt—fierce and iconic. If I hadn’t been able to recognise some of the models from the library or beer bar, I would have assumed they were professionals, all beaming with confidence and wearing the garments with positivity. With a little watering and care, wonderful things can grow.
In Bloom was chosen as GUCFS’ theme to reflect the nurturing charity Glasgow Women’s Aid. Provocative and beautiful photo shoots throughout the year have focused on celebrating the multiplicity of identity, challenging social constructs and cultivating a community that can aid individual and social growth and respect. The moments of interaction between the models on the catwalk, twirling another to move focus was truly inspired—what better metaphor for “it’s not just for the self”. The TOM BOY X presentation was particularly enjoyed by the crowd, who cheered the models on as they let loose and danced. The spin was let’s tackle the gloom with BLOOM.
Credit is certainly due for the meticulous attention to detail in GUCFS’ creative approach. Throughout the year we have been treated to a strong sense of narrative and continuity with photo shoots carefully constructed into a tapestry of brilliance. The show was a culmination of hard work and sweat presented with a cool sparkle. On that note the creeper style shoe with sequin floral embroidery from Megan Nicholas was a personal favourite. Her collection as a whole felt particularly rooted in the theme of multiplicity with its intricate layering of textures, colours and prints. Red-toned eyeshadow and blusher was a clever nod to the Introductions Shoot from the beginning of the year and being in the audience felt like the culmination of a skilfully planned journey, one that had a purpose. And of course, it does—the proceeds will change real lives.
Finally, a slightly irritated address to those who seek to bin a fashion show with vanity: whilst I can appreciate this point of view, I would call it out on its own offense. Vanity is an intrinsic element of any form of performance, and in this case, it was combined with effort, care and real vision. As such it becomes an ingredient to create art—art being anything that reminds us of our worth and potential. This was art which displayed joy and promise and sent a strong message that we should all feel we can BLOOM.
In Bloom took place on 21 and 22 February at SWG3.