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With preparations already well under way for what is set to be the highlight of Durham’s fashion calendar, Sally Hargrave recently spoke to Alicia Newman, the president of DUCFS, Durham University’s prestigious charity fashion show.

The show, which has raised thousands of pounds for charities in the past, has chosen to support Stop the Traffik, a fantastic organisation that raises money to fight against human trafficking. The charity, which was founded in 2006, now has members in more than 100 countries worldwide. It is a charity which Alicia, and indeed all of the Exec, feel strongly about supporting – “as a charity it is relevant on a local scale as well as on an international scale, which I think is also really important. It’s shocking and awful, but exploitation of this kind can happen much closer to home than you would expect.” In March of this year, for example, five people in Newcastle were arrested under suspicions of trafficking people into the UK for exploitation.

Looking at the breakdown of where the money DUCFS raises through ticket sales and their various club nights will go, it is obvious that Alicia knows a lot about how the show will benefit Stop The Traffik. The money raised will go towards, amongst other things, the training of schools and community groups who are at risk, and the development, printing and distribution of flexi-cards out into vulnerable communities, so that people can spot the signs of someone who has been trafficked. The show does more than just provide monetary support though, also putting on talks and events to raise awareness for the enormous problem that is human trafficking.

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Photograph: Alasdair Harris


The president Alicia, a fourth-year Spanish and Italian student, has just returned to Durham from her year abroad – she spent time in Italy working at a law firm, and in Spain at an estate agent. She says that she enjoys being busy, and that is good because she must be – apart from being the president of DUCFS, something that she describes as an “almost a nine to five job”, she is an ambassador for Women in Business in Durham and is involved in Castle’s ents committee, all of which she has to juggle alongside the small matter of her degree!

Nonetheless, her enthusiasm for the fashion show is second to none, particularly now that preparations are in full swing. The charity for this year has been released, the models have been chosen and most excitingly of all, the venue has been confirmed. This year, for the first time ever, the event will take place on Palace Green, against the backdrop of Durham’s most iconic monument – the cathedral. The show will incorporate collections from a number of designers from the local area and also from further afield, all in fitting with the theme, which is to be revealed in December. What Alicia does give away is that this year is set to be “much more of a spectacle, with live acts and more of an interactive feel”.

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Photograph: Alasdair Harris


One of Alicia’s main focuses for the upcoming show was to get as wide a range of people involved as possible. The Exec have placed a real focus on getting more diversity into the model castings, partly by scouting for potential models on the streets of Durham. The main criteria for the models? “The most important thing that we look for in our models is confidence.”

So, if the lead-up to the main event is anything to go by, the show promises to be an incredible night of fashion and fun, for an extremely worthwhile cause.

Tickets will be released on the 7th December at 10am via the DSU.

The theme has been announced as Couture to Chaos.


Photographs: Alasdair Harris,

President: Alicia Newman

Models – Top: Anouchka, Alicia and Bianca (Exec.), Bottom: Justin and Mariam

With thanks to Alicia Newman

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