Meet the directors of the Leeds RAG Fashion Show 2018
Clear your calendars for February 15th
Having modelled in the Leeds RAG Fashion Show together before (after meeting on the committee of LUU Street Dance society), it makes sense that Nick Fola Egunjobi and Jon Canizales have taken on the position of Directors this year. I met with the boys to discuss their plans; the show has always been a huge event, but their vision, and the way they speak about this year's ideas, is set to take it to an entirely new level.
The first big change? No elevated catwalk. The models will walk through the audience, creating an immersive experience similar to those seen at Fashion Weeks across the world. In Jon's words, the pair wanted to "take the show and make it very fashion, something you would expect from London Fashion Week". They were influenced by some of the biggest names in pop culture: Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, ASAP Rocky.
The intent is to put together a show which the audience can relate to on a deeper level.
This is where the theme comes in. Officially named TIMELESS, Jon and Nick describe this as being about "shared moments in time", seeking to understand and represent "what is synonymous in everyone's lives". Mental health is a prominent idea as well, included especially in the boys' decision to have Mind Leeds be one of the show's chosen charities. The other, Dementia UK, is intended to reflect another issue which affects students in their everyday lives.
Jon states that they've "been through things, like every other student has", and that from "the biggest conflict to the smallest conflict", the pair feel that "it's [their] responsibility to bring exposure" to what people go through. In using their platform, and an event as dramatic and artistic as the Fashion Show, to promote such issues, the directors have created an event that intends to be far more relatable and real than previous years perhaps have been.
I also asked the pair about diversity. It's a well-known fact that the Leeds RAG Fashion Show has an extremely open casting call, and that you don't have to look like a typical catwalk model to be selected. It seems like an obvious decision, and their response summarised this well: "it's not cool to not be inclusive". Part of making the show a relatable event is ensuring that everyone in the audience can see a bit of themselves on stage.
The pair have also been working with music producers to tie into the performances onstage, and the after-party, held at Duke Studios on Sheaf Street, is set to be an event in itself. The venue, in the boys' words, is very different from your typical Leeds fare.
And if you've never attended the Leeds RAG Fashion Show before? The message is simple: "it's a show", and "you'll remember it". While the specifics are still being kept under wraps, the way Nick and Jon's eyes light up when speaking about it suggests that they aren't exaggerating – this isn't a night to be missed.
Paper tickets have been sold in the Union over the past few weeks, and if you're still looking for one then head to the Leeds RAG Fashion Show Facebook page to enquire.