It’s difficult to believe that the St Aidan’s College Charity Fashion Show is only days away. On
February 23rd , Aidan’s students will be filling Missoula to capacity for the most anticipated
night of the year. With amazing entertainment, to-die- for raffle prizes and many models
donating their ‘skills’ to the auction, it will undoubtedly be a night to remember.
Taking on the running of the show is a huge task. Every single element of the night has to
flow seamlessly, which requires months of preparation. However, being on the fashion
show exec has truly been one of the most rewarding and exciting aspects of our uni lives
this year. From deciding the theme, to picking the clothes, to raising funds for the charity we
have chosen to support, it’s been an experience like no other.
Our show’s theme this year is Arcadia. Our chair, Megan Clube says: ‘We’d begun to collate
brands for the show before even considering firm ideas for the theme, and we found
ourselves inspired by the works of all the up-and- coming designers tracked down by fashion
coordinators Flora Stafford and Ilona Phillips. The problem was, we loved everything so
much that we wanted to showcase it all! With visions of ethereal dresses, rave wear, logo
tees and beautiful lingerie colliding in our heads, we knew we had to find a theme that
would allow us to encompass anything and everything’.
We eventually settled on Arcadia for a number of reasons. Arcadia, in modern terms, means
a kind of beautiful, unattainable wonderland; therefore, we wanted to create this
wonderland, but make it accessible to all. We wanted something unusual to make the night
as magical as possible, and we thought there would be no better way than to invite the
guests to be a part of a wonderful utopia.
However, Arcadia also meant, crucially, that we had a lot of freedom with our clothing
brand choices. Many people have their own idea of what an Arcadian wonderland is. Some
see it as it was first portrayed; a beautiful, quiet, pastoral landscape. Others see it as a crazy,
‘’weird and wonderful’’ place, where anything can happen, as it was portrayed by Lewis
Carroll in Alice in Wonderland. So, we could combine everyone’s idea of this fantastical
place, and easily use both elegant gowns and psychedelic two pieces whilst staying within
We decided to take this idea even further, and take the audience on a journey through
different types of Arcadia. The structure of the show will be ‘From Order to Chaos’,
travelling from visions of a tranquil Arcadia into the chaos and hedonism of an ‘anything
goes’ Arcadia. We used the same idea in our pre-show events. Our ‘Theme Release’ party
took place at My House Durham, where guests were given delicious, creative cocktails and
socialized under a beautiful pink blossom tree inside the venue- a wonderfully classy
evening. Our official pre-party was at Fabio’s, where there was dancing, shots and glitter- a
hazy, crazy night out. We also had a fantastic event poster designed for us by Charley Ray, a
Brighton student, showing the mixture of calmness and chaos through figures partying and
lounging in and around a beautiful forest lake.
Our show will begin with an idyllic, serene feel, and one of the brands that we felt best
embodied this is Belmont Designs. We are especially proud to showcase these gorgeous
dresses given that they are designed by an Aidan’s alumnus, the talented Clare Lichfield.
These dresses are classic yet quirky with an ethereal feel, and are inspired by Clare’s
upbringing in Paris, her life at Durham and her year abroad in Hangzhou. The result is a
mixture of regal ball gowns and light, breezy maxi dresses. This unique elegance ties in
perfectly with our initial tranquil, ordered paradise, and our models gliding down the
catwalk in Clare’s creations will definitely be a special sight.
We will then be transitioning gradually into an eclectic, psychedelic expression of our
theme. One of the brands encapsulating this will be Babydol Clothing, whose founder,
Megan May, aims to celebrate individuality through custom-made, colourful statement
pieces. We’ve been particularly inspired by the brand’s use of holograms, rainbow colours,
fur and sequins to create some truly stunning items, and we love the trance festival/rave
vibe that the pieces all have. The extravagance of the pieces links with our exploration into a
more hedonistic, delirious side of Arcadia. Expect to see the models under crazy lights, with
pumping music, dressed in Babydol’s most colourful, sassy clothing.
We were lucky enough to use Babydol Clothing for a photoshoot in the Durham Botanic
Gardens. The shoot, named ‘Into Eden’, demonstrated the juxtaposition of serenity and
chaos which we are focusing on in the show. Models in Babydol holographic two pieces,
holding snakes, were photographed against the peaceful backdrops of rolling hills and
tropical greenery, capturing perfectly the essence of the pastoral transitioning to the wild.
We can promise an unforgettable evening, a truly unique blending of classic elegance and
intoxicating chaos- all in aid of our chosen charity, Children North East. We knew we wanted
to fundraise for a local charity, and once we found Children North East, we felt we had to
support the amazing work they do. Children North East works with local disadvantaged
children and young people, as well as their parents, and their ethos has always been, ’Give a
hand up, not a handout.’ They support families in crisis, help children from backgrounds of
domestic and substance abuse, and provide advice and counselling for young people facing
mental health issues, to name but a few of their services. Their work is invaluable to the
community, and they won the Charity of the Year Award at the North East Charity Awards
2016. We are proud to be supporting them.
So, if you aren’t coming to the show, stay alert for separate after-party tickets, which will be
released a few days before the show. If you are, be prepared for a night like no other, as we
guide you through our very own Arcadia.