What we’re doing

The ICSM RAG ‘You Know My Name’ Fashion Show 2019, held at The Clapham Grand on 12th March, is the most exuberant fundraising event hosted by the Medical School. The evening entails a decadent display of unique fashion, donated by twelve up-and-coming designers, and modelled by Imperial College’s very own students.

The night delights its six-hundred strong audience through a multitude of arts; from Fashion, to Music, to Dance to extraordinary entertainment. The students of Imperial unite to experience an incredibly beautiful display of creativity whilst also fundraising for two charities selected by ICSM RAG; Child Action and Community Action Nepal. Whether somebody is involved in the production of the show, or simply buys a ticket to enjoy it from the stalls, an astonishing amount of effort is expended prior to and during the evening, to ensure a huge amount is raised in aid of the chosen causes.

The Models

Whilst the successful, 12-year-running Fashion Show primarily focuses on the links between fashion, entertainment and student-led fundraising, there are several other aspects that come with partaking in a production of its magnitude. As with any student-led event involving a large number of young people, ensuring the large variety of needs of those involved are correctly mitigated for is absolutely essential.

A Fashion Show has students walking down a runway in front of their cheering peers and colleagues. Boosts of confidence come in the form of bright lights and camera flashes, and the commendations following the show could provide enough affirmation to last until the Summer. However, something that may not be immediately obvious to the excitable audience is that the outward confidence observed for the ten second catwalk may not be a reflection of how the model is actually feeling while walking down it.

There are a whole host of different reasons as to why people want to take part in Fashion Show. However, the assumption that all of those auditioning and taking part were already filled to the brim with self-confidence and wanted to get involved just to show off that fact, was one we were clearly wrong about. To the Fashion Show committee, it has already become clear that the build-up of Fashion Show, through the audition process up until the last rehearsal, invites a conversation about self-confidence and self-doubt amongst the students.

Year on Year, the ICSM RAG Fashion Show contributes an amazing donation towards the elected charities. However, we’ve now realised that this year, our committee wants to benefit our Student Population beyond the current offering of the opportunity to watch and enjoy the Fashion Show.

Why we’re doing it

Confidence comes from within, but it is so often influenced by external factors, social norms and stereotypes. The Fashion Show Theme, ‘You Know My Name’, was chosen to depict a very real and easy mistake that all of us are guilty of making at some time or another. We are taught not to judge a book by its cover throughout our lives but, somehow, it is a bias we are all at risk of succumbing to.

The opportunity to engage in honest and open exchanges pertaining to self-confidence and self-doubt is one that we should nurture. Members of the Fashion Show Team have gained valuable insights about the fine balance between these constructs after speaking to the students of Imperial College about their thoughts about walking down the catwalk. Professional models and actors are given tools and techniques for overcoming image concerns, stage fright and opening night nerves. However, at our amateur level, perhaps it’s time for the students of Imperial College to take the self-awareness conversation one step further and to inspire one another to be sensitive to the fact that what meets the surface isn’t always telling of what’s beneath.

How we’re doing it

This year, we are launching the ‘You Know My Name’ Campaign (#YKMNCampaign) to encourage a conversation. We want to dispel some of the myths surrounding who our models are, and what’s brought them to getting involved, and let people see Fashion Show for what it truly is: a fantastic experience for all of those who are taking part! During the campaign, models will be sharing their personal experiences on their social media, humanising their take on the show and revealing their motivations for taking part.

In a somewhat tumultuous environment, an open and honest Online Campaign by our models seeks to promote personal confidence, celebrate individuality and create an authentic network of unity amongst those involved in and attending this year’s Fashion Show. We would like to reassure our student population that insecurities are commonplace and something that many of us struggle with. The #YKMNCampaign aims to get students sharing their own personal perspectives and experiences regarding confidence, the purpose of this being to break down the barriers people have to feeling comfortable in their own unique identities.

The Campaign launched on Monday 18th February and is being showcased on all our social media platforms. If you would like to get involved in the #YKMNCampaign please contact us at icsmfashionshow@hotmail.com. Tickets for the show are available to buy on Monday 25th February from the Imperial College Union Website.