Sunday saw the 2nd Elite Fashion Show, the charity fashion event organised by the incredible Mr Birmingham, Joshua Williams. The event, which took place at the beautiful Burlington Hotel, combined up and coming designers and local brands, with music and dance, and a truly unforgettable, life affirming catwalk from young people living with the effects of mental illness. It was a very special, unforgettable evening that I was lucky enough to be part of.
The show got off to a great start with international dancer Shelley Anderson and Co setting the room alight with their routine, and then the presenters, Rachael Barker and Sophie Lydia Smith started their introductions, which included some background as to the reasons behind the show. The Elite fashion show raises valuable funds for the mental health charity MIND and the fashion charity Beauty with a Purpose, both charities that try to tackle the stigma that is still attached to mental illness.
The fashion on display was stunning, from bodycon glamour from Mirror Image Style, to Birmingham’s best kept secret (and Mary Portas fave) Disorder. Kiss Me Kate was showcased to perfection by the presenters, and then paraded a cobalt blue dress that is frankly crying out for Amy Adams to wear it on a Red Carpet, it was just so beautiful. I fell in love with the skater dresses and retro styles from Want that Trend, and admired the fashion forward looks from House of Erin and Vaughn. It was a fashion show with something for every taste, and the staging and music was excellent, so well matched to the mood of the show.
Perhaps the most touching, poignant moment was when the catwalk became a vocal point for the MIND message, when young people who had been living with mental illness, both due to suffering themselves, or living with family members who had found their lives blighted by mental issues, took to the catwalk. Accompanied by the professional models, all wearing MIND t-shirts, it was a very real moment amongst the glamour of the occasion, and one which I found profoundly moving, as I had myself suffered from post natal depression which caused me to have a breakdown six years ago.
The final segment of the show saw entertainment from Jordan Paul Rhys and Esther Turner, both brilliantly talented and a welcome addition to the show, and a final flourish of fashion, and then it was all over, having raised a wonderful £1, 348 for the chosen charities.