We went to Leeds RAG Fashion Show 2022

If you weren’t there, you really missed out x

With the closing party taking place last night at Headrow House, another successful year has passed for Leeds RAG Fashion Show. Last weekend, the show returned for 2022 and it didn’t disappoint. On Friday and Saturday, Leeds University Union was transformed into a space, where the directors, models and committee of over 50 students showcased fashion, music and dance, while educating the audience and raising money for charity.

So far they have raised over £20,000 for Stop Hate UK and Racial Justice Network and you can still donate here.

The night started in the VIP area in Pyramid, where guests picked up goodie bags, a glass of Prosecco and a Red Bull Jäger, before proceeding into the Refectory for the show.

The set design contained protest imagery and graffiti based on what director Jam had seen around London. The plinths displayed Jam’s “Juxta Jams” drawing style, which explores themes of mental health through a marginalised lens.

Split into five scenes and a finale, this year’s show, for which the theme was “Ignite” was all about sparking a conversation. Between each scene there were spoken word performances.

The first scene titled “Ignite” depicted “a radical explosion that provides the catalyst to societal conversation.” The lights were dimmed and the models wore bright clothing, mainly consisting of oranges, reds, pinks and yellows. The models in this scene were styled by Mala Nepal. 

The models were dressed in designs by a variety of clothing designers: PLANET SOPH, Fern Stainrod, Eve Elodie, Chloe Gibson, Iphigenia, Sophie Kizat, Lauren Hernandez, Abi Yerill, By Popdenis, Trollwear, Katie Page, Charli Senior and Kustoms clothing. Some of the designers customised their pieces for the show such as Katie Page who created bold head scarfs to reflect the vision of “Ignite”.

Jewellery was also a massive part of the model’s looks. In “Ignite” jewellery was made by one of three designers: Skaning Swede who creates handmade polymer clay pieces, Sparks Handmade who supplied handmade clay earrings and Always Anchana who say they created “groovy jewellery for groovy people”. 

The second scene was “Inspire,” which portrayed “an ethereal dream-like state inspired by the divine beauty that surrounds us,” contained more earthy colours.

“Inspire” was a more muted scene compared to “Ignite”, but the clothing, jewellery, hair and makeup were still impressive. The models were styled by Scarlett Billinghurts, Catelyn Louwrens, Charlotte Parry and Jameliah K. N. Adekunle.

Designers in this scene included: March, Catt Studio Shop, Stephanie Liasis, Nuclear Planet, Holly Burns, Brighter Days Designs, Dace, Misia, Sofia Jovellana, Laura Houseman, Lima Rosa, By Skye Studios, Cupids Junkyard, Honor Knot, Maisie Thompson, Demon Kitty, Peach Eyes, ANGKIRIAKOS, Again&Again, Crolage, Ella’s Jewellery Shop and CAMAT.

Educate was the third vision, displaying “the significance of education in order to create change.” The models took to the stage with placards containing slogans, such as “Hands off my Hijab,” “Stop Asian hate,” “My body, my choice” and “Putin hands off Ukraine.”

There was then an interval before the “Change” vision was shown, depicting “the current discrimination experienced by people from marginalised communities,” providing “a warning for society of what could happen if we don’t act now.” The lights were bright for this scene as the models took to the stage.

The models were dressed by the following designers: LILIACEAE, Georgia Funlop, The CS Label, sif Thrastardottir, Amber Hatchman, Kristy Yim, Pacheewa, REO Reworked, Janey, Zaramia Ava and Wanner Label. Jewellery was supplied by Chunky Resin who focus on colour blocking and hand-painted patterns. 

Models were styled by Libby Forman and Jameliah K. N. Adekunle.

The final scene before the finale was “Empower,” which was a celebration of differences and overcoming of societal challenges.

The finale contained drag performances followed by rap. The show also contained the following musicians and performers: DRAAGS, dukeDOMO, Tommy Down, Issy Moore, Kyle Howard, Ben Adamson + Jake Gigglesworth, and Natasha Montisieri.

The night concluded with an after party at Freedom Mills.

A livestream of the fashion show for everyone who missed out on tickets is available here and you can head over to our TikTok to see the highlights.

Reactions to the show:

Leeds Uni student Edie said: “The Leeds RAG Fashion Show was unlike any other I’ve watched. It was really unique in its discussion of diversity, equality and current issues, which I loved!”

Another student, Ellie, told The Tab Leeds: “The fashion show was amazing, the clothes portrayed the message in a unique and inspiring way. It was a great event and made me want to attend many more fashion shows in the future!”

Maisie, a Manchester student who watched the show with her sister, said: “I was really impressed! It felt very high production for a university led project and the messaging was great, along with the fashion of course!”

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