Durham University Charity Fashion Show 2020

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DUCFS has grown exponentially year by year. Since it was founded in 1983, the charity has raised thousands of pounds for charity, and even more so recently. In 2013, £7,000 was raised  for charity. This rather pales in comparison to the last few fashion shows. In 2018, DUCFS raised £105,000 for charity MIND and last year raised a record breaking £150,000 was raised.

This year is set to be bigger and better than ever, with huge sponsors such as Red Bull, Dominoes and Deliveroo. There is a reason why DUCFS is the largest student charity fashion show in the UK. From Kombucha to slavery-free Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate, attendees with be treated to high quality and ethical food whilst watching the show. The Charity Fashion Show prides itself in the continuing championing of emerging designers within the industry. Designers such as Alice Jane Potter, Rose Elizabeth Connor and Harry Odell have recently graced the DUCFS stage. The concept for this year’s fashion show is #shapeshift.

Shapeshift describes the ambition to change and shift the fashion landscape from one of problematic moral mistreatment of workers on a mass scale.  It is a well known fact that the fashion industry is one of the largest culprits when it comes to modern slavery. IT was reported that in 2016, 40.3 million people were in modern slavery. Out of those, 71 percent of whom were women. #Shapeshift strives for a workplace of sustainable, humane and ethical practice all over the globe.

The two charities DUCFS are supporting are in pursuit of these aims, but with slightly different emphases. Fashion Revolution is a charity aiming to tackle issues in the fashion industry at large. This includes environmental, ethical and social concerns. Fashion Revolution campaigns against injustices throughout the fashion food chain, from raw material producers to the biggest designer brands.

#Shapeshift strives for a workplace of sustainable, humane and ethical practice all over the globe.

It is a fast growing charity focussed on changing perceptions of the fashion industry, reaching 289 million people through their Fashion Revolution Week in 2019. They believe in enforcing action based change within the industry, encouraging each individual to understand that they can make a change. STOP THE TRAFFIK was founded in 2006 by Steve Chalke MBE. STOP THE TRAFFIK is a global organisation focussing on the cessation of human trafficking.

It tracks human traffick movement and identifies common routes across the globe where people are trafficked and aims to work with governments and police to help combat this humanitarian issue. 5.75 million people were reached through their social media campaigns in 2019. STOP THE TRAFFIK’s CEO Ruth Dearnley aims to use the global community as a way to combat the human trafficking crisis. Speaking to DUCFS, she said ‘We have an incredible opportunity to put people and technology together to disrupt a global crime in a way that’s never been done before.’ I am looking forward to seeing how they create an artistic vision of #shapeshift with designs, technology and production.

Particularly in the current climate, it will be interesting to see whether their creative vision will take them so far in diversification.  Size inclusion is one of the most pressing issues facing the fashion world in recent years. Whilst the current model list does not seem particularly diverse in body type, I would be intrigued to see whether performers are any more diverse. The exploration of human trafficking as a social issue will influence every aspect of the creative vision.

The artistic expression of the stories of survivors will be explored through the walks. Designers are increasingly engaging with creative storytelling on the catwalk, such as Rihanna’s iconic Savage X Fenty catwalk show in September 2019 or Undercover’s 2020 F/W Finale. DUCFS will explore issues surrounding human trafficking in a conceptual manner.

Exploring issues such as the root causes, entrapment and the need for amplification of worker’s issues. Entrapment issues often involve deceit and trickery. Fake apprenticeship schemes in India trick people into working for factories. People are forced into 12 hour days, 6 or 7 days a week and left vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse. Hopefully the money raised by DUCFS this year will be larger than ever, to aid STOP THE TRAFFIK and Fashion Revolution to end these abuses of power.

Image: DUCFS

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