Meet the team behind Edinburgh’s biggest Charity Fashion Show yet

It’s not like ECFS is the coolest event of the year or anything


This year’s ECFS big dogs – their Events Director Sophie Mackenzie and Chairwoman Amber Coleman, spoke to us about just what they are plotting ahead of next week’s show.

Fourth year Law and IR student, Sophie, and third year History of Art student, Amber, gave us an inside look on just how the whole shebang has come together, as well as some personal highlights.

What got you involved in the first place?

Sophie: Since I first saw the show in 2013 as a wee fresher I had told myself I wanted to get involved in ECFS, and suddenly I was in 4th year and no closer to that goal! Clearly unable to enter through the model front, I went for Events Director as I have connections in that industry. I loved that it coupled events and a charitable purpose, homelessness is something we all need to fight as it feeds into horrible occurrences such as human trafficking.

Amber: I’ve always loved working on a project with lots of people. I am into fashion and creative projects specifically, and ECFS was the perfect solution. I have been involved for 2 years, but this year I wanted to changed the theme and the vision.

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Sophie Mackenzie, left, Amber Coleman, right. Photo credit: Lucy Henshall

What is the theme this year?

Amber: The theme for ECFS 2016 is “Urban Conscious.” It’s important as students we are aware of where we live, work, go out and have fun. We are at the end of the day young, and the city is where we revolve our lives around. This ties in nicely with The Rock Trust, which provides assistance to 16-25 year old homeless youth of Edinburgh and the Lothian’s. I have always been passionate about helping homeless people!

Sophie: The show’s theme is “Fresh from the Factory,” as we are holding it in The Biscuit Factory. This location reflects our theme and editorials that have been shot within the borders of Edinburgh City itself, rather than its organic surroundings, such as the Highlands, as previous years have done.

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Photo credit: Lucy Henshall

How hard is it to be bigger and better each year?

Sophie: We are an organisation who wants to obviously keep becoming bigger and better for the sake of our charities, but there’s difficulties in that as such an established event, each year ECFS produces a unique experience. This year we’ve tried to introduce new events, new venues and new experiences

For instance, our Upper Level Concept Space, to be used pre-show and interval, will host fashion stalls, live music, bars, cocktail stands, interactive mediums and an art exhibition. Also, each ticket includes at least one drink, and food during the interval, which has never been done before!

Amber: This year we also focused on making shoots more persistent and finding talent from around Edinburgh, platforming new designers and collaborating with so many up and coming creatives. It is always difficult to live up to previous years success, so the best thing I thought was to change the theme completely and give it a more raw aesthetic.

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Photo credit: Adam Baxter

Which brands or students are you really excited to be working with?

Amber: we are super excited to be working closely with our main sponsor, Topshop. This is clearly a great achievement to have such an established brand put their name behind us, and provide us with clothes and make up that really reflects the image of Edinburgh students.

ECFS 2016 has also made a conscientious effort to source students for all aspects of the actual show. Notably, Richard Addicott is debuting his much anticipated music project in the first half of the show each night, and there will also be live pre-show and interval performances by students Saffron Lawrence, Ezana Barnabas Alem and Jambouree. Furthermore, working in partnership with the student-run Foam Collective, our art exhibited on the night is all by ECA students, such as Lucy Henshall and Lia Chiarin.

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Photo credit: Marina Mche

ECFS is the biggest student event of the year – what’s it like to be involved in it?

Sophie: It’s been such a fun experience which I really couldn’t imagine not being a part of. The committee members this year have become so close to one other, which means there is a flawless sense of teamwork between all the different sections of the committee. This is also down to the amazing leadership of our Chairwoman, Amber Coleman.

I think the best achievement for me personally as Events Director was securing the BIGGEST ECFS Afterparty venue EVER, The Warehouse. It is basically an underground warehouse in the Grassmarket with a capacity of 800 that becomes completely transformed by festival grade lighting, sound equipment and décor, and has only opened its doors to the likes of Seth Troxler and Huxley.

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Photo credit: Lucy Henshall

What’s your personal style like?

Sophie: Some of my outfits are questionable in hindsight but fashion is meant to be fun! Generally, I rarely go out the house in anything but a pair of black jeans and trainers, but my jackets, tops, jumpers chosen on the day all come down to what has been washed in time. I like sourcing clothes from my hometowns Sydney and Copenhagen, and also on travels through Europe and Africa. For instance, my outfit for ECFS 2016 was picked up in a vintage store in Vienna!

Amber: My favorite designers are Isabelle Marant, the Kooples, All Saints and Zadig & Voltaire. I like to keep my style low key but fun, always with a bit of colour. I currently love my bright orange coat, sometimes pairing with my leather pants.

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Photo credit: Lucy Henshall

Best ECFS anecdote?

Sophie: After an impromptu ECFS night out I woke up in a random bed between models Sam and Zoe. I now reveal in the fact I can HONESTLY say, “this one time I blacked out, and woke up next to two models.”

Amber: There’s been too many, like the Launch Party! But one of the highlights was the boozy committee dinner at Bodega, where everyone looked back on our successes and really started to look forward to the Show, which is so soon!

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The models in question… Photo credit: Lucy Henshall

This year’s ECFS promises to be bigger and better than the last, and it’s all for a good cause- so keep up to date on the event page, and get your tickets here before they sell out.