I have been a long-time fan of the British Red Cross, both the tremendous work they do as a charity and as a source of fashion via their retail shops. I was trying to put a rough figure on the percentage of pieces in my wardrobe which come from the two BRC charity shops I frequent most: it’s not an exaggeration to estimate it at around a third. I love visiting my local Red Cross in Forest Hill and when I lived in Chelsea the Red Cross shop on Church Street was my fashion fix of choice. Along with adding to my own wardrobe I have borrowed clothes and accessories from both stores over the years for fashion editorial. So how delighted was I to be able to attend the Catwalk for Kindness show in the Livery Hall at Guildhall to share how fashion can be a force for good. It’s lovely to see a different story being told and the show had such a collaborative and collective feel it reminded me of the old days when fashion shows were about creativity rather than consumption.
Aside from my personal respect and fondness for my fashion friends at British Red Cross I discovered another personal connection with this show. It is one of those chance tales which remind me that life generally knows what’s good for me even when I sometimes forget – luckily I was paying attention this time…
I thought I’d been sent an email from a friend at the Red Cross and answered as a friend would – ie hello darling how are you…been ages…let’s get coffee…? – turns out it wasn’t who I thought it was and I should pay more attention at 6 am when replying to emails. However I did meet the actual sender of the email for a cup of tea and low and behold, we actually did know each other from way back.
Now I’m sharing this as it could have gone a few ways: I could have said oops sorry mistake send me press release and I will attend event; or ignored the emails from then on out of embarrassment; I could have even decided after we re-met that I didn’t want to be reminded of a particularly painful part of my life that this meeting triggered; not gone to the catwalk show and not gained a new fashion friend.
But I didn’t run away from my mistake or the emotions that arose from what I had thought was going to be ‘just a coffee’. And I am so pleased I did. Little did I realise when I meet Becky to talk about sharing the Catwalk for Kindness story that I would have a chance to let go of an aspect of my past that has been hiding in the back of my wardrobe for almost 20 years. (but that’s a story of another day…)
So anyway on 25th and 26th November the Guildhall was transformed into the ultimate shopping experience for the British Red Cross Christmas market and Fashion Events and Productions hosted the Livery room on the 26th November which was sponsored by Minerva research labs Gold collagen, – the award winning collagen supplement brand for hair skin and nails and which now features the new vegan version I have yet to try but will get back to you when I do!
I got the chance to find some great brands I hadn’t come across including Dandi patch, Ruya, Lacry Designs, Aishling Duffy, Ola Ola, and Green and Pink – I have IGTV content to share so keep a look out for my interviews – and I’m pretty sure Weef did a spot of Christmas shopping!
In the evening Fashion Events and Productions transformed the Fashion Hall into a classic catwalk with rows of plush seats – take note for London Fashion Week please, I really struggle with slippery white benches that mean I feel as if I’m going to slide onto the runway and cause a catwalk catastrophe as well as getting backache after three shows – and guests saw some fabulous designers showcasing their latest work, including Green + Pink nightwear LacryCouture, Empire Collection, and Tuncer Tonun with a collection based on protecting the rainforest. And of course my favourite way of doing sustainable fashion with pre-loved pieces from the Kensington and Chelsea British Red Cross Shop – I was even lucky enough to be wearing an Emammule Ungaro silk shirt borrowed for the night from the Chelsea store. (Thank you Bernie xx)
The show featured diverse models including older women and was all about inclusivity. I don’t cover childrens wear but it was lovely to see Carmellia couture, an emerging kids couture brand, showing pieces from their collection with children with special needs walking the catwalk and clearly loving every minute.
Catwalk for Kindness opened with a fantastic performance from J’adore La Vie, an avantgarde couture Cabaret dance duo, and music for the catwalk was specially curated by Estelle Rubio, resident DJ at othe Mandrake hotel, one of the coolest venues in London .
I did get a chance to spend some time backstage with the team and wanted to give a shout out to makeup artist Lauren Kay and her team of wonderful makeup artists from makeup sponsor Delamar Academy. And if you wanted even more evidence that fashion is a family affair Becky’s talented daughter, Isabel Mullins managed the hair looks for the night.
I even found myself a brilliant new fashion photographer – I know you know how I love to add to my collection – other editors collect shoes I collect snappers! You will probably know Geoff Bell as a successful film and TV actor, but he is now fulfilling his passion for photography and I can’t wait to collaborate on more projects in the future. Geoff shots ‘old school’ on 35mm and all images are straight out of the can; I love this style – I am so bored with over worked, inauthentic, fashion imagery that is bland and commercial. My fashion world is gritty and romantic and messy and unfiltered…can’t wait to see how Geoff sees London Fashion Week!
The British Red Cross show was wonderful, Becky’s production team super, and everyone I met reinforced my idealistic vision that fashion can be a force for good. Something about this event sparked a chain reaction which has left me with a lovely feel good Christmas glow. Thank you Becky and all the team at Fahion Events and Productions; this was more than a fashion show this was fashion from the heart.
All images @ Geoff Bell Photography