On September 9th, Cargo nightclub in Shoreditch, which would usually be host to sweaty bodies drinking and dancing until the early hours, became host to some much more righteous activity; ProjectFEM’s feminist fashion show and exhibition. As we walked in, we were greeted with walls bathed in pink lighting (we were definitely in the right place), and stalls selling various wares- t-shirts embroidered with pictures of tampons, modern takes on the traditional Dashiki, and handmade lingerie to mention but a few of the goods on offer. This certainly set the tone of what was to be expected from the show itself.
After a moment of waiting around, we were ushered into the main room to watch the fashion show. The show began with a few words from the event’s organizer, Holly Campbell, who reiterated the intents and purposes of the event- to promote the works of socially and ethically responsible designers, with the help of diverse and representative models. The catwalk certainly did live up to expectations; first to walk was a model by the name of Amanda Jane, an intersex person and advocate of intersex rights. Amanda was followed by an array of models of a variety of shapes, sizes, genders, races, ages- any variation you can think of, it was there. The ‘atypical’ models shone just as brightly as the more ‘typical.’ The event was topped off with speeches, including the special guests; Rain Dove, a model renowned for her own challenging of gender boundaries, Cory Wade of America’s Next Top Model, and Sophie Walker of the Women’s Equality Party.
The message of the event was certainly made apparent in all of its aspects; and I believe that it practised what it was preaching- the importance of being inclusive, displayed realistically, without excluding those who are traditionally considered to be privileged in their gender or appearance. I personally believe it is important to instil an idea of being inclusive into the fashion industry without fully eradicating what is already there. The dawn of acceptance of the non-traditional should not result in the attack of those who are more traditionally accepted. True equality was represented in the models used at the event, and I would love to see more examples of this at other events, and in the media. ProjectFEM’s fashion show was a truly enjoyable event with an accepting atmosphere, and I would love to see more from them in the future.
Words by Sascha Morgan-Evans