You’ve got to admire hard work, creativity and tenacity of young students from Joseph Chamberlain College who managed to run not one, but three fashion shows – at 1pm, 3pm and 6pm – at the Library of Birmingham yesterday. Not speaking of the effort that went into designing the garments in the first place, the whole process of making them, persuading fellow students to model, preparing a lineup, taking care of hair, makeup and accessories, transporting and ensuring that fragile paper creations survive all three shows – this was no mean feat!
Joseph Chamberlain College fashion show was part of the Discovery Season dedicated to the opening of the library, but also related to the ‘grown up’ Birmingham Fashion Week taking place now. The show lineup contained some 50 garments created by BTEC National Diploma Art & Design and A level Fashion and Textile students. Some outfits were made of fabric, and some of newspapers, magazines and discarded library books.
Of course, the overall concept was naturally eclectic as many student designers were involved and they had diverse ideas how their creations would reflect the lives and experiences of the Birmingham community. Saying that, the sculptural paper section of the show that celebrated the opening of the Library of Birmingham seemed more focused and cohesive in both conception and execution.
You know, teenage fashion shows can be painfully awkward and full of mishaps – this one wasn’t! I only saw the last performance at 6pm but the atmosphere was purposeful but fun. The idea of using escalators as a runway is not new but still fresh and gives a nod to the 2012 Kenzo’s escalator spectacular and Louis Vuitton’s spring 2013 show in Cour Carree du Louvre. While processing the photos I thought that the blue-lit escalators of the library of Birmingham were just as great – they added a wonderful cool and modern ambiance to the student show.
Some garments were more elaborate than others, but they all revealed to some degree this painstaking detail in handling paper, an origami-esque manipulation of it on in twists, pleats and folds.
By the way, John noticed this young black model with yellow hair above and suggested they we should do a mini photo shoot with her on the ‘files for time’ basis. We didn’t give you our card but if you are reading this and are interested please get in touch! (Others can apply too).
Ultimately, for me this show was not just about clothes but about these young people. It empowered them, encourage to reveal their creative potential, boosted their confidence, fostered responsibility and organisational skills, and exposed their work to the wider Birmingham community. And they had fun doing it!
It just proves that a lot of things are accessible and achievable if you just dare to dream!
I also took some photos on the terrace after the show – they will appear in Part 2 tomorrow. I’ll also add an album to my Facebook page.