Free The Elephant In The Room

Edinburgh Charity Fashion Show 2015

The capital’s fashion week sprung into life on March 7th with pop-up shops and store events across the city, climaxing with Edinburgh Charity Fashion Show (ECFS) on March 15th. 

Previously held at the National Museum of Scotland, Usher Hall provided a dramatic setting for this year’s show. Adorned with illuminated drapes, spot lights and a bright white runway; the traditional theatre venue was complimented by contemporary effects for an eye-catching finish.

Put togePhotographer on catwalkther by a team of dedicated University students and committee members, the annual event celebrates fashion and entertainment whilst raising the awareness of undervalued charities. So far, ECFS have donated over a quarter of a million pounds across the UK; including an admirable £20,000 to Water Aid in 2014. This year, the show recognised the Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH) and Elephant Family.

SAMH offers national programs and community based services to ensure members of the public are aware of, and talking about, mental health.  ECFS’s Chairwomen Louisa Dearlove and Georgie FuTong highlighted that a concerning 200 of the 800 attendees on the night would be affected by mental health related issues during their lifetime.

Combining the visions of SAMH with Elephant Family, a foundation devoted to saving the Asian elephant and their habitat, ECFS proposes a year of ‘happy go lucky’ projects in hope of removing the social taboo surrounding mental health and alerting those to the endangered elephant; giving birth to the campaign motto-

‘Free the Elephant in the Room’

Interval act ‘House of Lions’ kicked off the evening’s fundraising activities with a bang. Willing guests were asked to donate via text, participate in an auction and purchase raffle tickets with prizes ranging from Multrees Walk worthy handbags to vivid swimming trunks modelled by two of the show’s rising stars, much to the audience’s enjoyment!

ECFS welcomed an eclectic mix of spectators including students, parents and press; perhaps inspiring the humorous ‘What (not) to Wear’ blog published prior to the event advising that crop tops, onesies and ball gowns were not appropriate. No doubt raising panic across campus! The show itself was full of energy; bringing the already vibrant space to life and instilling a captivating atmosphere.

Offering PriECFS 2 on catwalknces Street’s take on couture fashion; high-street clad models adhered to the needs of their audience and featured pieces atypically affordable to the general public. Aspiring models both male and female paraded brave prints, block colours and wearable sandals. The masculine silhouettes cut by dungarees and shirtdresses were offset by a fluttering of pastel gowns and chiffon eveningwear; the runway acting as a red carpet for a visually pleasing entrance. Coordinated separates proved a firm favourite, and personal highlight, as bold two pieces injected a confident burst of colour into the spring/summer collection.

Elated onlookers were caught swaying wide-eyed to a talented saxophonist as he escorted models down the strip; tempting even the VIP seats to let loose. The lively audience was abundant with champagne-fuelled class mates, inviting a welcome outcry of support and comradery. Models fed off this enthusiasm and became refreshingly animated as the night progressed; holding hands and breaking into wide grins as they high-fived the front row, relishing their moment in the spotlight. Fashion show related drinking games were encouraged by an X-rated host in tweed and the committee continued to bring the after party to the main event as a confetti bomb announced the finale and cue for eager fashionistas to join the gang on stage under a curtain of gold glitter.

Raising a total of over £25,000, the ECFS team can catch up on sleep assured that they addressed their vision, to ensure people stop, listen and think, in a very stylish and enjoyable way. The show successfully applauded Edinburgh’s retail scene whilst supporting a worthy cause and demonstrating young talent, and not a sporran in sight.


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