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Clothing for a catwalk

Unit X fashion show: The people behind the protest

  • NQ's Kirsty Bird and Steven Hampson caught up with the designers behind the Unit X show to find out why they chose to use fashion to protest social injustice

  • Photography by NQ's Israel Zoro

The MMU student fashion show combined a plethora of vibrant outfits with a ‘no laughing matter’ attitude to create a socially relevant masterpiece. An explosive opening set the sincere tone right up until the models followed each other off the catwalk; gripping their signs and flaunting their outfits with genuine pride.

After watching the catwalk turn into a small scale protest itself, we grabbed the chance to talk to the budding designers about their creations. With every outfit holding its own unique message, it was a pleasure approaching any designer about how their ideas came to life.

The freedom the designers were given with this particular theme was reflected in the variation of topics just three of the students discussed with us. From equality for the LGBT community to equality between classes, this display covered an array of taboo subjects that we should all be talking about. Maybe this was the reminder we needed.

Miner Fashion

Jimmy Howe, 19, created a piece inspired by a miner strike. The designer incorporated industrial hard-wearing fabrics and a mask as a reminder of the harsh conditions they worked in. The accuracy in the outfit is impressive and truly reflective of the effort these students put into the project.

This piece was impressive in terms of its aesthetic value. The white mask made the design hard to look away from in the same way the protests the show was based on aim to be.

The designer said: “It was inspired by how the strikes affected everything. The jumpsuit as a whole shows how going down the mine affects the outfit.”

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Miner Fashion
Miner Fashion
(Photo Credit: Israel Zoro)

Clothing For A Catwalk

We spoke to 20-year-old student designer, Nicole Saenchan, from MMU about the practicality of her piece. The safari influences Nicole used meant she adhered to certain fabrics such as linen and quill to create pockets and storage space.

Nicole told us: “It's really loose. It’s all made out of fibres that you’d want to take out on safari.”

Creating the outfit from sturdy, militaristic materials for the purpose of realistic practicality meant the model did not have to hold back when it came to flaunting the design. He certainly did it the justice it deserved.

Clothing for a catwalk
Clothing for a Catwalk
(Photo Credit: Israel Zoro)

LGBT Fashion

We spoke to 21-year-old MMU student, Swift, about his LGBT rights inspired piece focussing on the gay community and the handkerchief code. The code was commonly used by gay and bisexual men in 1970s to indicate sexual fetishes and desires to other men. The colour coded handkerchiefs were worn in the back pocket or around the neck and became a famous symbol amongst the community.

Swift said: “I wanted to express the colour and the freedom of the whole community. It’s free and there’s nothing restricted.”

The outfit successfully represented the sense of community and belonging between the LGBT community that still remains today. The flamboyancy of the outfit conveyed everything Swift wanted to make others think about, topping off the statement with the quote

‘HOMOPHOBIA IS NOT CUTE.’ righteously plastered across the model’s chest. Certainly a standout piece.

LGBT Fashion
LGBT Fashion
(Photo Credit: Israel Zoro)

To say the fashion show was a success would be an understatement. It’s clear that creative minds make MMU a great place. Seeing artistic vision being expressed so freely within project requirements was extremely impressive. If this fashion show is anything to go by, these students are in for many more years of success. And they’re only just getting started.

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