// by Molly Flaherty //
Now in its second year, it appears that the Oxford RAG Fashion Show has really entered its stride.
Upgrading the venue from the Blavatnik to Oxford’s Town Hall, the capacity for students to engage in the local fashion scene has substantially increased. The show has gone back to basics, abandoning last year’s immersive set up in favour of a traditional catwalk. There is a clear shift in focus: the designers are centre-stage in a night of music and entertainment, with both established and up-and-coming brands wishing to display their collections to a student audience.
The black-tie dress code offers attendees the chance to demonstrate their own best looks outside of ball season, providing an opportunity to gain inspiration for Trinity’s ball season. Olivia Bescoby, a third-year historian at Worcester and the show’s director, presents a very clear vision: “We want OURFS to be the most anticipated event the University hosts, a new Oxford tradition. The success of Fashion Shows at Durham and Leeds have proved how successful we can be, raising huge amounts of money for great causes simply through students enjoying themselves. In addition it’s a great opportunity for upcoming designers to showcase their work and to celebrate diversity in our choice of models.”
Coat by Rawan Maki
Looking at the range of designers is all that it takes to get a fashion fan excited. The first official announcement from the team was Alexandra Ryan, a Manchester-based designer inspired by Grace Jones ’70s chic and metallic fabrics. A former intern for Peter Pilotto, she has found independent success in recent years with the launch of her own brand. Meanwhile Rawan Maki, recently featured in Vogue Arabia, intends to style seven different looks for the event. The brand uses entirely recycled fabrics and materials, combining environmental sustainability with chic yet edgy designing. The spotlight is also shone on local designers, with Fresh Oxford displaying a range of vintage garments on the catwalk. Debuting their collection at the event will be business students, Sruthi and Napala, whose Westernised blazers, pocket squares, and ties made with Indian hand weaves bring an original element to the show not yet seen anywhere else.
Toyin Ihinmikalu, RAG’s Model Recruiter
But it is the show’s focus on diversity and representation that makes it so particularly relevant in Oxford today. The casting call from second year Law student, Toyin Ihinmikalu, for “models of all shapes, sizes, genders and ethnicities”, makes an important statement in light of recent news attention regarding the limited diversity within the university’s student body as a whole. The RAG Fashion Show team make it very clear: fashion, and indeed Oxford, requires equal and fair representation in order to flourish, and to cultivate a rich and prosperous environment. The night is one that fashion-lovers cannot afford to miss.
The Oxford RAG Fashion Show will take place from 7:30pm on March 1st at the Oxford Town Hall. Tickets are available via the official Facebook page.