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MMU fashion protest show

Unit X Fashion prep: What to watch out for

  • MMU's fashion department is holding a fashion show ytoday Wednesday) in the Benzie building, with a focus on the theme of protest
  • NQ's Israel Zoro highlights what to look out for at the event: 

If you like fashion with a message, then don’t miss this Wednesday’s show on the theme of ‘Protest’ by first year fashion, art and direction students at the Benzie building.

Ahead of the unveiling of their showcase creations, I met students preparing for this collaborative Unit 2 fashion show – and there is plenty to talk about. The comprehensive range of garments fabricated by the students has been inspired by a catalogue of protests throughout history. This project is sure to leave emotions running high; certainly an eye-opener for some and definitely a reminder for the forgetful.

The aim of the show is to portray protest movements and ideologies through the exquisite variations of light and dark colours mixed with notable patterns and fabrics. The designs that caught our attention the most were issues with gay rights, Black Power, Suffragettes and police violence.

Unit X: Protest fashion

Finding the right materials to suit these message has been the top priority for the fashion and art department. With just three days of preparation ahead of the big day, many of the students were still experiencing a sense of nervousness and ambiguity. But come Wednesday, will they deliver a great deal of significant political and social points? To me, that is beyond question.

Fashion speaks to you on a personal level. It holds an expressive power that engulfs and motivates people to acknowledge particular issues in society and make a change. No-one knows this better than 19-year-old fashion student, Annabel Boleta, fascinated and captivated by the industry ever since she first laid eyes on Vogue’s awe-inspiring catwalk shows.

She is a sophisticated teen, studying to fulfill her dream with an enticing Instagram that showcases her ‘designcravings’. The range of mixed fabrics and intelligent designs that she uses to illustrate her motifs are assembled exceptionally well. Her pieces are definitely ones to watch out for.

MMU fashion protest show


As she worked to bring her creation to fruition at a fashion show prep day last week, I asked her to explain which aspects of her pieces represent the protest she chose as her subject.

“I combined Suffragettes and Black Power,” she says, “and my designs responded to the colours and features used by Lina Iris Viktor, a black female artist who expresses her art through the use of gold, blue and ivory. They represent female power.

“I tied a knot around the chest and neck to acknowledge that I was inspired by the song “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday. That was the first song about racism and Black Power with pictures displaying the horrors of hanging.”

“At the moment, we’re sorting out models, music, make up, props, decorations and projector choreography for Wednesday’s show. I am currently focusing on the styling of the garments, prepping how the garment should appear on the models.”

How has she found the process of collaboration with art and direction students that’s required for a show like this, I wondered?

“The fashion students are paired up with art and direction!” she laughs. “The art and direction people work on fashion communication, which means working out the most effective ways to showcase the garments to the audience.”

The show will take place in the fourth-floor theatre space of the Benzie building. It’s likely to be a dizzying kaleidoscope of colours, design and materials: some bold, some outrageous – all amazingly creative. Annabel will spend this week putting the finishing touches to her vision and working with her art and direction partners to ensure her presentation goes to plan. I ask if she’s chosen her model at this stage, and if, given her influences, ethnicity matters?

“Yes, I’ve sorted out my model,” she says. “She’s literally so beautiful," she laughs. “She’s also black, because I would like to stay within Black Power, women’s rights and feminism. She looks powerful, strong and independent: that’s exactly the result I was aiming for.

The Unit 2 Fashion Show takes place in the 4th Floor Theatre space of the Benzie Building The Benzie Building is the next but one building on the left as you walk away from Geoffrey Manton.

See more of Lina Iris Viktor’s work here

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