By Charlie Taylor-Kroll
Durham University College Fashion Show (DUCFS) have had their biggest and most successful year to date, shattering previous fundraising records in aid of Syrian refugees.
The 34th annual fashion show, which is regarded by many as the ‘headline’ event in the Epiphany term calendar, managed to raise £75,000 for the International Rescue Committee in aid of refugees in Syria.
The fashion show saw a record-breaking attendance of 1,600 students come to watch 60 student models take to the catwalk, making the occasion the largest event staged by Durham University students and one of the largest in the UK.
The sum raised at this year’s show comfortably exceeded previous years’ fundraising amounts with £27,000 and £7,000 being raised in 2016 and 2013 respectively.
Part of this year’s success was due to use of the 2,000-seater Rainton Meadow Arena where the fashion show was held, which was significantly bigger than the Town Hall and Mount Oswald Golf Club which have been venues in previous years.
The show, themed ‘Mavericks to Movements,’ included this year’s pioneering brands Sea Dragon swimwear, Ivy Park leisurewear, Rose and Williard womenswear and Studio Pia lingerie.
As well as its success on the stage, the money raised from the show will prove pivotal to the humanitarian work that the International Rescue Committee (IRC) provide to refugees in Syria. The IRC aids civilians by providing essential, life-saving humanitarian supplies to conflict-affected civilian populations inside Syria.
We chose the charity because of its outstanding commitment to not only providing humanitarian relief in the worst affected areas of the world, but also to inspire hope and encourage sustainable development to help broken communities rebuild their lives
Vice President of Fashion Show Executive Committee, Georgia Gogarty said, “We chose the charity because of its outstanding commitment to not only providing humanitarian relief in the worst affected areas of the world, but also to inspire hope and encourage sustainable development to help broken communities rebuild their lives”
Vice President and Executive Director at International Rescue Committee Sanj Srikanthan told Palatinate, “The IRC would like to thank the students of Durham University for choosing to raise money for refugees.”
“At a time of unprecedented displacement across the world it is heartening to see young people engaging on the issue and taking action to show their solidarity.”“The funds will help the IRC to continue supporting some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
Rowena Soon, President of the Fashion Show Executive Committee praised the achievement of the fashion show in raising the record-breaking amount, as well as emphasising the importance of supporting refugees in the current political climate.
She said, “A donation of £75,000 will be the largest amount ever raised in the UK by a student event and knowing it is going to such an incredible cause makes the committee incredibly proud of our student community
“In the current political climate, with Trump most recently signing an executive order to allow extreme vetting on all refugees, the need to keep the humanity and dignity of displaced people at the forefront of people’s minds has never been stronger.”
Fashion Coordinator Katie Smith reiterated the words of the president, praising the contribution of the student organisers and models.
She told Palatinate, “I’m so immensely proud of what we’ve achieved, £75,000 is the most money ever raised for charity by a student event and we couldn’t have done it without everyone’s hard work and dedication.
“Durham students have had a hard time in the press lately and this show has proven what good we can do when we all work together and how much people are willing to do to help others.”
Photograph: Mike Dennison