Southbank Centre is set to launch its first dedicated fashion weekend at Royal Festival Hall this 23rd and 24th July.
Fashion Undressed with MasterCard will explore some of the industry’s hottest topics – model diversity, sustainability, and fashion and gender – and feature an eclectic mix of contributors in a fusion of fashion, art and performance. The event will host live music, masterclasses for budding photographers and stylists, hands-on workshops, exhibitions, a fashion photo booth, topical debates, a thrift store and a beauty zone where visitors can get expert styling.
Most of the activities are free, supporting the festival’s aim of making the often-exclusive fashion industry open to all, and the weekend will see major indoor and outdoor catwalk shows from a variety of designers, including Ryan LO, with live music and DJs – including The Mac Twins (Lisa and Alana Macfarlane) – providing the soundtrack.
Wayne Hemingway will deliver the keynote and compere the indoor catwalk shows on Saturday, while presenter Grace Woodward will compere on Sunday, when a host of models reflecting the diversity of society will take to the runway. Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Eliot Sumner, headlines the festival on Saturday, with a one-off London concert closing the day’s events with songs from her new album, Information (out now on Island Records).
Breaking down barriers and busting industry stereotypes are discussed in a number of sessions by leading fashion change-makers. Journalist and activist Charlotte Gush, who works to challenge the fashion industry’s dependence on one body ideal, boundary-breaking model Harnaam Kaur and transgender model Tschan Andrews come together to talk about diversity in fashion, with fashion commentator Caryn Franklin chairing the panel. Another debate hears from successful ‘plus size’ models, including Felicity Hayward, who will discuss whether this label is needed and how it affects them.
Glasgow-based artist, Eilidh MacAskill, poses questions around gender and clothing. With the help of a ‘Gendersaurus Rex’, norms will be challenged, such as why children are taught that trousers are for boys and skirts are for girls. The future of fashion technology is another hot topic, with industry experts sharing insights on new innovations. Sustainability in the industry is also examined, with the aim of working out how we can consume but remain responsible.
Over the weekend, Fashion Undressed with MasterCard is hosting fun and active sessions that encourage participants to embrace their individuality, with a waacking workshop (a combination of expressive voguing, dance and exercise) led by dancer Mademoiselle Ginger and an energetic Express Yourself class from House of Voga. Performance artist and serial costume hoarder, Bryony Kimmings, heads up a panel which looks at dressing up and identity and, in a separate session with stylist and presenter Grace Woodward, Bryony reviews the latest glossy magazine trends.
For budding fashionistas, keen to hone their skills, a series of workshops are on offer led by experts in their respective fields. Ahead of the festival weekend are two in-depth weekend courses – Fashion Photography Masterclass and Fashion Styling Masterclass – with students returning on the 23 and 24 July to put their new skills into practice in the Live Fashion Photo Booth. Over the weekend there will also be a chance to learn millinery, fashion illustration from renowned fashion illustrator Jacqueline Bissett, tie dye, customising and fabric printing.
Fashion Undressed with MasterCard debuted this May at Southbank Centre’s festival of South Asian culture, Alchemy, where it examined style influences from the Indian subcontinent, with events including How to Style a Sari and Young, Asian and Breaking the Mould. The Fashion Undressed with MasterCard partnership also features major fashion events during two further Southbank Centre flagship festivals: Africa Utopia (31 August – 4 September) and Being a Man (25 – 27 November). The partnership builds on the five year collaboration between Southbank Centre and MasterCard and opens up the world of fashion to everyone through a series of exhibitions and performances, runway shows and pop-up shops showcasing the work of local and emerging designers.