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Review – The Fabric of Us sustainable fashion show

Sequins, sparkles and sustainability – I went to a sustainable fashion show which celebrates the past, present and future of Mancunian fashion.

So La Flair and the Night People performed in The Fabric of Us sustainable fashion show. The event, hosted at the Science and Industry Museum, was a celebration of past, present and future Mancunian fashion.

Each look was carefully curated by Erin Taylor Thomas, owner of thrift and swap shop Beg Steal and Borrow, using items that were traded into her shop along with gifted pieces from independent businesses. 

Awaiting us inside were a handful of independent traders and local businesses which contributed to the curated catwalk looks in the show later that night. From handmade crafts to thrifted goods, there was plenty to choose from. 

To begin the show, three high energy dancers, Aaron Howell, Daisy Howell and Chasmine Fay Tangen from The Night People, entered the stage performing a rhythmic dance routine in brightly coloured tracksuits.

We were introduced to host Mirry P, played by Eleanor Haigh, whose character was a fashionista from the planet Venus.  

The first category ‘past’ was all about layers and patterns. Strutting down the runway to New Order’s Blue Monday, as a homage to Manchester’s famous musical past, the first look of the night was a royal-esque pink gown, layered with a pink corset and puff sleeve white blouse. 

Each look touched on different time periods of fashion history, from the late 1800s to the roaring 20s, by utilising layered materials to create unique looks from recycled fabric. 

Following the first category of outfits was a saucy cabaret performance, by Bonnie Fleming, who took us to the past with a teasing routine, removing layers of her outfit to create separate looks from the single outfit as the song went on. 

Present fashion focused on the consumerism culture of today’s age of influencers and the ‘must buy’ trends of online shopping. It demonstrated how easily people can accumulate clothes and contribute to mass landfill. The catwalk looks focused on bright, eye-popping colour and texture to demonstrate how people are drawn to buying items they’ll only wear once for an occasion.

This was also highlighted in a satirical skit, by Leo Krenzer, with the showstopper look of the night – a dress made entirely of plastic bags to show what these fast fashion clothes really represent.

To round off this category was a poetry performance by Kate Ireland. She came out from behind the curtain in a less than fashionable state to enhance her performance, which was about understanding the hollow culture of fast fashion and how trends define self worth.

This performance was so enriching and intimate that the audience, and myself, were in complete awe listening to the relatable themes.  

The final category was focused on the sustainable future of fashion and breaking away from the stereotypes of trends. The looks were a celebration of each individual who wore the clothes, and focused solely on ‘dopamine dressing’, the act of self expression through the clothes worn. Each look was individual to the model wearing the clothes which was different and exciting than other runway setups.

We were joined again by Mirry P who invited the creative talents behind the curtain onto the stage, including the designers behind the outfits and artistic director of So La Flair, Lucy Laverty.

Closing off the show, Mirry P said: “In a world that moves so fast, this is your permission to move slow.” This perfectly sums up the event as a whole, The Fabric of Us was a heartfelt appreciation of the clothes we wear and own as well as the importance of breaking the fast fashion consumerism cycle.

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