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Charity Fashion Show - A High School Endeavor

March, 2012
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Spotlight focuses. Oops, testing, testing. Backstage preparation had been planned so thoroughly that the theatre was every inch a professional runway. Student technicians were confident that the show would draw back its curtains as well as it started.

Grabbed a snack at 6:00? Hey, what’s your friend’s design this year? Ready for the excitement? Full of anticipation was the audience, who enjoyed some casual chances to hang out before occupying their seats in the High School Theatre.

Yes! Ready. Set. Three. Two. One. Go! This was the moment which they have all been waiting for: over fifty models of mixed genders, diligent head organizers Margarita and Stephanie (who cheerfully got the torch from last year’s event to continue the relay), hardworking backstage staff, innovative designers and the supportive attendants to this event.

Spotlight. Focus. It’s show time! The tranquil mid-February evening was truly entertaining with students who blended their passionate teenage fantasies and penchant for fashion with innovation and designing skills splendidly. The delightful experience started with the presentation of a student-generated video that introduced the charity where the funds would go to: Bethel Foundation. ‘The contact we had through ISB alumni who worked with her in making a short film about Bethel is Joyce Chan-Jackson. We are so excited that we got to work with them because the children are so inspiring and its great to know that all of our hard work is going to such a wonderful foundation.’ Indeed, the core intention of the event was not only to impress one’s friends, teachers and families with his or her terrific designs, but also to raise funds to create positive social implications.

They chatted with friends with content and relief that they could finally sit down and watch the show from backstage… The head organizers finally took a break from the stressful elation. Behind the scenes, students have started meeting regularly since October. Participants demonstrated great initiatives as some of them actively went into shops to ask for sponsorship. Jack & Jones and Only were greatly appreciated for their continuation of sponsorship for the annual event, but as risk-takers, the busy high-schoolers (who need to take six challenging IB courses, including three subjects at the Higher Level) wandered across the city with a strong desire of finding another sponsor. “We first talked to new shops that we had not talked to during previous years so that we could bring new brands into this year’s show. We went to stores at malls such as Solana, and asked to talk to the store manager,” Stephanie reflected, “Margarita and I gave a quick overview on the Fashion Show and what our aim was, the charity we were working with and what we wanted to ask of the brand to help us with. Most of these did not result successfully and it was much easier contacting the stores through email. After asking for the business cards from each shop, we emailed the brands separately each and restated everything.” Though this task was not accomplished successfully, the risk-taking spirit was very much applauded.

img_0702-copyA tap on the shoulder. Good job! Surely, this year’s event is highly praised. Student participants unanimously agreed that the event gets better each year with larger varieties of designs. Moreover, the privilege of voting for the winners entirely given to the audience, who donated money in order to vote and entered themselves in lucky prize draws where several TCL products were offered. For participants, two prizes were given: one was the ‘Most Conventional’ prize that went to Isabella Bambagioni and Justine Cheng, and the other was the ‘Most Innovative’ prize that went to Sharon Liu.

It might appear peculiar why “Most Conventional” would be named a prize. Let us find out from the winners, Justine and Isabella. “I took part of the Fashion Show because I really enjoyed it last year, and so I decided to try designing this year for the first time with my friend Justine.” Commented Isabella, “We were inspired by the Pop Art movement in the 60s, and this was shown through bright pops of colour and geometric designs. Overall the collection was meant to portray a really fun lifestyle.” The teenagers got much positive feedback from their audience members and fellow models and designers, who loved their collection and wished to buy the designs.

Of course, the most “conventional” Vita Pop collection was not the only popular design. In fact, Annithea Raj, a student designer who applied photography in her t-shirt designs, was in a blissful dilemma: “some peers and even strangers were awfully kind to me: they asked if they could buy my T-shirts. I am now afraid that if I keep accepting, there would not be any left!”

The process of transferring initial thoughts brainstormed and evaluated into reality was indulging to all participants. Jenny Sze, a student designer, stated that, “I have always loved fashion: my childhood dream was to become a famous fashion designer, so I thought that the Charity Fashion Show would be the perfect opportunity for me to feel and act like a real designer.” Jenny’s theme turned out to be a fusion of “future” and “elegance”. During the design phase, she created challenges and risks for herself, ranging from fabric, colour theme and the flow of dresses as a whole. With satisfaction, Jenny noted that her collections were girly whilst classy with a soft touch.

Hoping to arrange similar events next year, the high-schoolers also had some higher expectations, “we need more time to prepare and to get more sponsors.” A student designer remarked that the fashion show could be hosted somewhere unexpected next time, such as the cafeteria. Imagine a runway of high-class decorates in the place you would usually hang out with friends casually on a regular school day! Surely, though the event this year drew to its end, imagination continues to soar.


By April Xiaoyi Xu,

Beijing City International School



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