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Transforming the runway: Fashion forward society's Trashion Show 'Metamorphosis'

Phoebe Caine reviews the creativity of the annual Trashion Show - fashion made of trash.

By Phoebe Caine, Arts Digital Editor

On February 15th, Fashion Forward Society pulled off their annual ‘Trashion Show’ - a fashion show which showcases projects made of trash; it was, once again, a fascinating example of the power and potential of young people, and sustainability, to change the way things are and have been.

To be adequately appreciative of the brilliance of FFS’s creatives, and to convey the luminosity of their Trashion Show, I must lay out to you the wider scene of fashion. Each season appears to critics and their readers as another death stitch over a creative seam. We seem to be edging closer to the grotesque sense that ideas, like our resources, are finite.

The aversion to models walking wearing what we have seen before is endemic, it is rearranged and redistributed on paper and screens and consequently encourages skewed designing and buying. The art in commercial runways has run away. What remains is an agitation and dissatisfaction that wears the industry out and sends repeated and destructive tremors down its funnels and into fast fashion. The resistance to the idea that the process of redrawing, revising and reinventing is beautiful and bold in itself is a poison. Newness is not necessary, but metamorphosis is mandatory.

Fashion Forward Society overturn the tired expectations of the industry, rewriting the amoral manuals which guide many leading designers, and most specifically the organised events that they attend. Their sustainable approach to high fashion is invigorating and essential; it denounces any conceptions of reusing and recycling as being unstable means in producing fashionable ends. Trashion cuts an indelible mark in the conversations that concern the future of fashion.

Through trashion, you are still creating something that was not there. You are fulfilling the human impulse to give out something unique, you are providing for it and accommodating it, and above all you are doing it with responsibility. Sustainable fashion such as this is a balanced exchange of caresses between living and designing that demonstrates their interdependence: life necessitates design, and design holds up life.

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Since November, the month of inception for the concept, the editors and designers have displayed an unabated passion for discovering and utilising the people, places and objects around them. Though detail-oriented in order to organise such an event, each individual project undertaken by the designers, models, writers, photographers and entire committee had a wider focus. The people involved inspired each other, their work intimately paralleling the strong sociability and sensitivity which underpins the society and the locations they experience and experiment in.

In the final hour before the show, models took to a stage in an almost empty room. The way was hastily walked, as if creating a visible distance between their fears and their courage. Shyness did not serve the designs; they persuaded a palpable strength to stir in each model. From a feeling as foreign as frost over blades of grass in summer, once the room filled with interested faces, their noise smothering and smoothing out the team’s worries of wrinkles, the models commanded the clothes they wore with a familiarity - a changed conviction that the design was as much as part of them as it was covering them.

The eclosion of the months of attentive crafting and communicating revealed a collection of a variety and vibrancy which exceeded expectation. There was no disciplining the confidence and celebration which erupted concomitantly, it grew over doubts and climbed to a height which high fashion falls short of so often.

Without any care, any change, any chance, consumers buy into priced up hollowness. With these as virtues, FFS offer their talent to the hungry mind, and the hungry mind donates its accessible cost to a good cause. 2023’s Trashion show “raised a huge amount more for Bristol Hub than [they] ever thought”. For the benefit of fashion, and for our futures, forge a chrysalis for the old before you find something entirely new.

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Featured Image: Courtesy of Victoria Hussey, Designer Imi Tolson, Model Amelia Osman

What was your favourite Trashion piece?