‘Production has been mental’: We sat down with the GUCFS team ahead of this week’s shows

I sat down with Lexi, Beth, and Nathan to hear about their experience running the uni fashion show

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go along to one of the final Glasgow University Charity Fashion Show rehearsals at Well in the union. I got to watch the models practice and had an opportunity to speak with the executive team about the upcoming shows.

The family-like vibe of the rehearsal was a great space to walk into, with the models sitting on the sidelines cheering those practising and laughter and music soundtracking the run. The team were all busy at work and the excitement was discernible.

Beth, Lexi, and Nathan who are the co-presidents and vice president respectively sat down with me to tell me a bit more about their experiences in GUCFS over the years and about the approaching show.

How do you feel like you handle the show alongside uni work?

‘Like everything, it’s a massive commitment; purely time management and being really, really organised. We have weekly director meetings and at least twice a semester we meet with the whole committee… that allows you to keep on top of what everyone’s doing and how everyone can help each other out. Whenever you care about something a lot it doesn’t feel like something you need to manage.’ – Beth

‘I make sure I’m time-blocking every day so there is a section of it that is purely spent on the fashion show. Probably the biggest perk of co-presidency is that Beth and I meet and sit in the library together most days and just talk through everything that needs to go on throughout the day. It’s easier being able to talk it all out with someone. I would say it’s like managing uni alongside a part-time job.” – Lexi

‘Nothing comes across as a chore because everyone that’s a part of it wants to be a part of it.’ – Nathan

How did you get into GUCFS and how can other people?

‘We are three people who are probably quite niche-ly involved since first-year… As people when they first get here don’t really know what it’s about. I think that’s something a lot of societies struggle with. Lexi and I were both recruited by friends who were part of GUCFS before. We’ve tried to evolve out of this mindset of people only coming into GUCFS through connections as it’s better to have more of an original, organic recruitment with people from different social circles and that’s something we’re trying to prioritise. It’s a unique society and the opportunities you can get from it are great.’ – Beth

‘It was by complete chance that I got involved. I was literally out in Freshers’ Week at BBQ Kings (when that still existed) and a girl approached me and asked if I was a first-year and if I would consider modelling in the show. I kept bumping into her and she kept telling me to go to castings. The retention is great in GUCFS, like I went from a couple of years modelling to production to now VP.’ – Nathan

‘We’ve been working on appealing to people’s sense of career. So, my friend said I should apply as it’s really really good for my CV. At that point, I didn’t have anything to put on my CV so I thought I should really get involved. I remember filling out the application form for the society and being like ‘why do I need to fill this whole form in?’ but the point is you get professional experience and that just continues throughout the different roles in GUCFS.’ – Lexi

How did the relationship with your charitable partner this year come about? (Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis)

‘Our entire department tries to choose someone that the entire student population will really connect with. Nominations are open throughout the student body for charities and many charities nominate themselves too. GCRC has come up year after year and it’s so significant, so important, and currently so relevant. I feel like that was really key, seeing how many times it came up in that nomination process.’ – Beth

‘There’s a common misconception that we are choosing the charity every year but it’s quite a lengthy process with the nominations. It feels good to know that everyone on the committee has had their say and everyone had a chance to nominate. You know that everyone is switched onto the idea of the charity being completely essential. From the offset, that is what we’re doing this for. The external bodies that production has been in contact with have been incredibly helpful and welcoming especially after hearing this is in support of GCRC.’ – Lexi

‘The support from the wider student body as well, when doing bake sales or simply just talking to people about GCRC, is immense. I think the feedback from people is that they’re really happy with the charity choice because of the relevancy of GCRC at the moment throughout GU student population.’ – Nathan

We see how much amazing work goes into the final show but what does the actual process look like production-wise?

‘I think production is an all-encompassing role, especially when I got into it last year I had stuff that I never thought I would be doing. For example, thinking about stage design and all these different elements and you’re doing everything to facilitate the creative theme. It’s about bringing that to life for people coming and with the budget not being unlimited, there’s a lot of creative thinking and problem-solving.’ – Nathan

‘Production this year has been mental. The goal for this year was to make it slightly different to how it’s operated previously. This is our second year in this venue (Platform) and production chooses the venue, scouts it out, sorts out audio/visual, and we have lots of new elements coming in. The production team has so much experience working with external people and trying to bring other elements in. We have so many people that have helped out, but I don’t want to give too much away!’ – Lexi

‘The process of trying to make a venue that is already quite unique more personalised has been a process. We’re kind of working with that space and how we can make it more on board with our creative theme which this year is YOUTH. I think it’s a great theme because of how universal yet different the experience is. It’s then trying to bring it into a venue that doesn’t seem to want to change – it’s very solid and stoic! It comes down to how we decorate, for example with our VIP party it’s about what is going on the tables and bringing the theme through from the stage into the VIP.’ – Beth

‘The creative vision definitely centres you a lot and I think working so closely with other departments in the whole society to facilitate that vision is a huge part of it.’ – Lexi

What are you most excited about the show?

‘Most of the committee will be there from 9am on the show days and then go home to get ready but we [Lexi, Nathan and Beth] will all get ready together there but only when absolutely everything is set up. I’m really looking forward to that moment where we can sit for a minute together, get ready, and then have our night.’ – Lexi

‘There’s a moment when everyone’s gone into the venue for the show and everyone’s chatting, the lights go down and the show trailer starts and then the first model comes out. At that moment, the crowd is screaming and you’re standing there with your team thinking ‘we’ve pulled this off’. That’s the feeling I can’t wait to have.’ – Beth

‘I’ve really enjoyed coming out from backstage, where I’ve been for the actual shows the past couple of years, and getting to speak to friends and family who are all there to support you. Seeing it all coming true, as well, is hugely exciting.’ – Nathan

The Glasgow University Charity Fashion Show is this Friday and Saturday (17th and 18th). Saturday is sold out but there are still Friday tickets and you can get them here. Check out their Instagram for more info.

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