Acts of Radical Imagination 2: Medway Fashion Week

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Acts of Radical Imagination 2: Medway Fashion Week

Creative Medway was delighted to support and endorse the third iteration of Medway Fashion Week which culminated on Saturday 1st April 2023 with an extensive catwalk show set out on the top floor of the Pentagon Shopping Centre, Chatham.

The inclusive nature of this professionally curated show means that young up-and-coming designers from local schools and youth clubs had the opportunity to show their work alongside collections from an eclectic range of student and professional designers as part of a sophisticated catwalk show featuring a diverse and entirely intergenerational range of models.

Eddy Eduaoje, Founder and Organiser of Medway Fashion Week says:

‘The Medway community is blessed with huge arts and cultural resources and we believe that it is time to shine the light on these areas, especially fashion. Our show aims to promote fashion and fashion designers in Medway and help develop a strong arts and cultural atmosphere in the area. Medway Fashion Week features upcoming and premium designers of different backgrounds in and around the Medway area on the runway. Other professions linked to the fashion industry such as hair stylists and makeup artists also have the opportunity to showcase their creativity whilst working with the stylists and models to create the perfect look for the runway.’

We took the opportunity to ask Eddy these “Quick Fire” Questions –

You like to include other art forms in the show such as poetry and music/ singing. Why is that important to you?

They are all connected. Music artists rely on their fashion and appearance to portray the kind of music they are delivering to their audience. Models need music to walk down the catwalk. The art is part of the act. Poetry and artists are very similar, except one adds melody and rhythm to the lyrics and the other one just recites it, maybe dramatically…you get the idea!

What we have created is a platform for creatives in the fashion industry to showcase their work to an audience, so we have also extended that platform to other performing arts.

Also, personally, I am a music lover and nothing sets the mood for an event like good music.

Can you tell us a bit about the collaboration with the Pentagon Centre this year?

Pentagon Shopping Centre played a huge role towards the success of this year’s event.

From providing the space to releasing some staff to help out with the setup.  Jack Brackstone, the Marketing Manager at the Centre, went above and beyond to ensure that the event was successful. When I took the idea to them, it was just to organise a publicity pop-up show for a few minutes by the escalator area, but as we started talking, they suggested that we could do the main show on the first floor. When I experienced challenges with funding and I thought they might back out, they actually intensified their support to make sure the project was successful.

What was the inspiration behind the catwalk theme this year and how that came about?

We went for a garden party look to mark the beginning of Spring. It was all Jack’s idea. We also wanted to portray a culture of sustainability, reusability and environmental friendliness; this explains the use of materials like delivery pallets for the backdrop wall and staging area with green flower decoration.

What other collaborators were important to the project?

We had some businesses and organisations that supported us in kind.

What advice would you give to young people based in Medway with a passion for fashion design and an interest in pursuing a career in this field?

Start from where you are! Do not wait until you complete your degree or course before following your passion. Reach out to people who are already doing it, and seek volunteer, mentorship and internship opportunities. Use your social media pages as your portfolio because when you meet people and start introducing yourself, there will be somewhere to refer them to so they can see more of your work.

How could fashion design, production and promotion be best supported and invested in here in Medway, especially now that University for the Creative Arts is leaving the area?

University for the Creative Arts attracts fashion students and fashion lovers from around the world, but the sad reality is that Medway does not have the structure and facilities to retain these talents. Now that UCA is leaving the area, more has to be done to attract these talents in the first place and to support existing fashion talents in the area. Medway has to create an environment for fashion talents and other creatives to thrive. Support systems, mentorship and internships, contract opportunities, skills acquisition centres, incorporate fashion shows into large festivals, form alliances with big fashion brands to support upcoming creatives in the area, and invite wholesale buyers and investors to watch fashion talent shows in the area. This is just to mention a few.

Many conversations are ongoing, but we also need some action beyond talks.

What do you want to imagine Medway looking and feeling like as a place to live and work in 2030?

I would love to see Medway become a hot location when it comes to creativity in different art forms, not just fashion. Where young people have different options and support to explore and develop their creative sides, which will help to transform the area into a safe, attractive and busy tourist area with deep expression of rich history in arts.

You can find our more about Eddy and Medway Fashion Week via the following resources.

@medwayfashionweek on Instagram

medwayfashionweek@gmail.com

www.medwayfashionweek.com

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