Show 7: The London Fashion Week Underdog

What happens when a bunch of (insanely) talented London students put on a show to kick off the much anticipated A/W 17 Fashion Week? This.

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Let’s face it: fashion can be insanely elitist. High prices, privileged circles, and unspoken ‘connections’ are key to the maintaining of a world that many of us will never get a taste of. London Fashion Week is proof: you only need to look at what the guests got in their goody bags, or hear a few of the Front Row names to realise that this is fashion with a capital F and a requisite to be a Somebody.

Sometimes, though, something or someone comes along to make you realise once again that this tiny bit of the fashion world is in no way representative of the whole industry. In this instance, it was Show 7, the brainchild of a group of creative fashion students from renowned Central Saint Martins (CSM) and London College of Fashion (LCF), that proved fashion, and Fashion Week, is something that is open to all.

The show was put on by seven students, all keen to make a name for themselves in the fashion world.Ciara Di Salle, Rhiannon Davies, James Walsh, Johannes Warnke, Sophia Donald, Paul Parnell and Ben Mak are all studying some variation on Fashion Design, whether it be with knitwear, tailoring, marketing or womenswear.  Mix these eclectic students together with a bunch of innovation, creativity and drive, and you have Show 7.

Forget grand halls and exotic venues, Cannon Street Jersey Fabrics, a fully functioning fabric warehouse in Tottenham, was the site of the venture. Among rolls of patterned materials and stacks of fabrics, fellow students, fashion magazines and beaming parents lined the makeshift but oh so cool catwalk.

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From Ciara Di Salle’s arctic inspired coats to Ben Mak’s leopard print gowns, Show 7 was a totally varied affair. Intricate laser-cut garments designed by Johannes Warnke appeared alongside fur and knit combos courtesy of Rhiannon Davies.

James Walsh’s bold colours and classic designs were modelled on the 60’s housewife, a fair few decades before the 90s vibe of Sophia Donald’s collection. Paul Parnell’s clothes were a tongue in cheek and completely barmy yet brilliant concoction based on the concept of Baked & Glazed, although more naughty-but-nice than their donut counterparts.

Lighting, filming and photography was done by other UAL students, meaning the whole evening was a thoroughly student-led affair. Despite this,  not one of the looks that went down the catwalk could be called anything less than highly professional and completely LFW worthy.

This was the part of Fashion Week that shunned the usual elitist model, and opened it out to pretty much everyone and anyone. What Show 7 ultimately achieved though, was to show just what can be done on a limited budget, with tons of enthusiasm, a few willing helpers, and bags and bags of potential. These kids have talent – and I have no doubt that they will be fashion’s future.

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