The Elite Fashion Show – A very special night.

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.

With the Lovely Xenia Kara

With the Lovely Xenia Kara

With Tash from As Told by Tashpantz

With Tash from As Told by Tashpantz

With Mr Birmingham Joshua Williams

With Mr Birmingham Joshua Williams

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Elite Fashion Show – it’s almost time.

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Following a very successful inaugural event last year, fashion is returning to the Burlington Hotel, Birmingham this summer as the Elite Fashion Show in association with Creative Media Design returns this Sunday. (24th July) The initial event last year was proclaimed as  ‘The finest fashion event in Birmingham outside of the Clothes Show’ and this year the show has attracted a host of local celebrity guests including ITV presenter Sameena Ali-Khan, DJ Dan Kelly and ‘White Dee – Dee Kelly’, the breakout star of Benefits Street. There will also be incredible performances by musician Esther Turner and international dancer Shelley Anderson as well as 14 designers showcasing exclusive collections for the event including London Fashion Week and Vogue accredited designers. It promises to be a glamorous, glossy event.

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A total sell out!

The show, and the ideas and ethos behind it have been pioneered by the extraordinary  Joshua Williams, who is Mr Birmingham 2015-17. The event shows that fashion and glamour can be used as a force for good, with a charity basis to the show – all proceeds are donated to leading mental health charity, ‘Mind’ and humanitarian charity, ‘Beauty with a Purpose’. The event is  not-for-profit, with the standout attraction being the the midpoint of the show, which will see ‘Elite’ rebrand into ‘Express: Looking good, feeling good!’  This section, in association with Mind, will see the Elite Fashion Show models joined by people from the community with an experience of living with mental health illness. This stance of defiance is a further step in  breaking the stigma that is so often attached to mental illness and those who live with it on a day to day basis, either through their own experience or that of living with someone who is suffering.

Joshua states:-

“Fashion as a whole demands perfection. With visionary designers breaking boundaries within fashion to create collections that make an impact such as Alexander McQueen, it’s no wonder the industry is high paced and high pressure. With the fashion industry often being portrayed so negatively in terms of mental health, I think it is vital to include this part in the show in order to demonstrate unity between the industry and those suffering. This set will allow real people from the community with a lived experience of mental health to gain confidence through shattering stereotypes associated with their illness in a dynamic and encouraging environment. It is a way of making a statement and saying mental health illness is nothing to be ashamed off”.

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The event in association with Creative Media Design aims to elevate the status of the Birmingham fashion industry whilst giving emerging and established designers the opportunity to showcase their collections in the heart of the second city. The show is now a total sell out, and promises to be quite an event.

See you there!

Follow the Event on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/theelitefashion/