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Anticipating the Eclipse: sitting down with the 2024 Leeds RAG Fashion Show Creative Directors ahead of this weekend’s show

With the Leeds RAG Fashion show taking place this Friday and Saturday, we sat down with Creative Directors Magda Kormpaki and Erin Sansom to discuss all things LRFS. 


Magda, a Fashion Marketing graduate, and Erin, a third year English Language & Linguistics student, have been working around the clock getting everything in place for the upcoming show. 


(Pictured: Associate Creative Directors Erin Sansom & Lucie Smyth, Creative Director Magda Kormpaki)

How was the theme Eclipse chosen? Can you walk us through your vision for the show?


MAGDA: To be honest, [originally] I had a different theme for this year’s show, and to our surprise, another student-led charity show in a different university had the same theme. I came up with the theme and I had presented it to the team, but this other university had already made their videos. It was a pure coincidence! Then the General Director calls me and says, “we have a problem” and I was like “oh, come on, you’re exaggerating… it can’t be that big of a deal…” and then he tells me what happened [...]

We do a meeting anyway and I was trying to think of something, and I said “Oh! Have you heard the story of how the sun falls in love with the moon and they create the eclipse?” - It was something I had read when I was very little [...] It’s such a romantic story, it just hit me!  Obviously, the sun represents something, the moon represents something else, and it ties with all the dualities that we have in ourselves, and you know, sometimes we struggle to embrace a bright side, or the dark side, and this is what the eclipse theme is about. 


ERIN: what [Magda] has done is take something like this story and we’ve added meaning and it’s related to self-acceptance, self-love. And it’s not necessarily just about a romance, it’s got deeper meaning behind it and I think that’s important to capture as well. 


Do you have any Fashion Shows you’ve seen yourself or any designers you feel that have inspired your vision for the show? 


MAGDA: What I wanted to do for the show this year was to showcase anti-fashion as a movement and a concept; I wanted something a bit more edgy. It represents different fashion energies and different fashion cities. The first scene, which represents the moon, is more of like Parisian fashion - so a bit more romantic and mysterious. Then you have the second scene, which is inspired by Italian fashion - you know, over the top, a lot of gold accents, very extravagant. Then the third scene: English fashion - very much inspired by Vivienne Westwood, you know, very urban, very provocative, very sexual as well. Then the fourth scene inspired by Japanese fashion, Japanese fashion designers; Comme de Garçons; Rei Kawakubo; a lot of structural elements. 

How have you found the process so far?


ERIN: It’s one  of the busiest and most hectic things I’ve ever done - especially being in third year, it’s a lot! Especially the last few weeks before the show, it’s been a crazy month. But overall, it has been incredible, so fun, and it’s so nice to see it all come together. We have such high hopes, we have worked really hard to make it the best it can be. 


Can you give us some details on the structure of the show?


ERIN: There is going to be narration throughout, telling the story, telling the audience what they should expect from each scene in terms of the symbolism. We have a few live performances, but I won’t spoil anything! 

and the models - they’ve been so receptive to how we want them to communicate the story as well. It was a very long process allocating the models to the scenes as well just because we wanted to get it just right and we’ve taken their personality into account, their energy. They’ve matched the vibes we want in each scene perfectly. 


MAGDA: if you go to a traditional fashion show, it’s just like 10 - 15 minutes of a walk and that’s it. Ours is more like, I’d say, a play. So, you have, let’s say, Act 1, Act 2 … all of which will lead to something. Every scene will have a difference essence and a different story, different music. 


What can you tell us about the clothes? 


ERIN: [We’re] prioritising small designers, student designers, up and coming designers. We want to give designers a chance to showcase their work. We also had the Revive campaign, where we had donation points where people could drop off their own clothes. We also sourced second-hand clothing and material from Oxfam as well. We went to their big warehouse and see the process of how they sort their clothes. It’s amazing to see, and we had designers use things from the Revive campaign, so to see their skills in producing these clothes with such a fast turnaround has been amazing. 


MAGDA: I think the collaboration with Oxfam is definitely worth mentioning, accessories and everything like that has been ethically sourced, and things we know we won’t be keeping will be returned to Oxfam, so put in circulation again. 


What drew you to the chosen charities for this year? 


ERIN: We have three, Yorkshire MESMAC, Leeds Nightline, and Ditch The Label. Yorkshire MESMAC and Leeds Nightline are both local ones, Nightline do a lot of work with students here. It’s all about wellbeing and safety, and I think it particularly resonates considering we are a mostly female-led team. I think that’s important. They do a lot of work in the community. A charity like that is there as a support network. 


MAGDA: Yorkshire MESMAC is for sexual health and wellbeing, which is important. We really want to support something like that - going back to self-love, it’s very much about taking care of yourself, your sexual health. 


ERIN: Ditch The Label support all people who feel confused about their identity, they do a lot of work in supporting with issues like bullying, mental health - especially in a uni environment, it’s so important. All three are about self-acceptance, self-love. They really resonate with the theme, the vision, and the team as well. 


MAGDA: They give back, not only in the student community, but in Leeds as a city as well. 


What would you like people coming to the show to know? 


MAGDA: I would say that it is very different from last year, not only theme-wise, but layout-wise, the staging is a bit different this year… we can’t say much more, you’ll have to come and see! 


ERIN: We’ve tried to add extra to every little detail, we’ve added little flourishes, just to really enhance it. It’s going to be the best it can possibly be …


Interview by 

Erin Adams & Katie Martin




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