The Day the Ugly Duckling of Fashion became a Swan

One of my pet hates is when people use the word ‘amazing’ all of the time, and the reason for that is when you do actually come across something that is truly ‘amazing’ you are left without a word that could describe its ‘amazingness’.

If you know me you’d know that one of the last places I’d ever be found is at a fashion show, for me Oscar Wilde pretty much summed up my own sentiments when he said that ‘Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months’. But it seems now that something may have changed, that something has maybe shifted, a pendulum has swung and the face of fashion has evolved into a semblance of form far removed from anything ugly.

Perhaps fashion has found its faith in people just as people have lost all faith in the superficiality of fashion. I went to a fashion show last night and the first words I would use to describe it would be ‘F***ing Amazing’. The alternative fashion festival sets out to break down barriers, to challenge social conditioning and stigmatization. Its message seemed very simple but tremendously powerful; its message was simply that whoever you are and whatever you look like, you are enough.

Last night I watched a little girl with Down's Syndrome in a beautiful dress take centre stage amongst fashion models, burlesque performers, fire breathers, drag acts, poets and dancers. She pirouetted to applause as the whole room filled with an almost tangible sentience of love and inclusion. The night was electric. Powerful choreography and drama hammering out an anti bullying message, a prayer for acceptance of all that is human, all that is vulnerable, all that is us. I and the rest of the audience felt we had followed Alice down the rabbit hole and gorged on magic mushrooms with her while watching Moulin Rouge.

Poetesses pulled their ribcages open to address the beautiful fragilities of their inner natures and children acted out their hopes dreams and fears in dance. I’m a great believer that artists being some of the most sensitive souls in creation, in a way can act as social barometers. They call for a climate change in attitudes and help bolster an awareness of where we as a society may be going wrong. Some, as I witnessed last night, use their art and gifts to point a finger at injustice and abuse, exorcistically calling out the names of the demons that hurt people on the inside. The name calling, the insults, the peer pressures that make both schoolchildren and adults go home and cry into pillows.

Last night, to me at least, was about a beautiful bunch of artists screaming out ‘NO THIS JUST WON’T DO ANYMORE!’. They were asking the questions that as a society are imperative to our well being and ultimately our own and everyone else’s happiness. Have we not had enough suicides? Are we not mentally ill enough? Why are some of our children too scared to attend school? Why are some of our adults too scared to attend life? And when the hell is this going to stop and how can we make it better!?

The friend I was there with cried her eyes out, some tears are very beautiful. I doubt very much that anyone could walk away from such an event not in some way moved and/or inspired. They opened up a catwalk to children, middle aged men, trans, gay, straight, white, brown, black, yellow and created rainbows. They empowered them to be them and us to be us. I think what ‘Art and Soul Tribe’ are doing is not only honourable, but compassionately vital. We live in times where ‘something has to give’ and at last some people have created a movement that may be capable of giving it.

For what it’s worth, I’m in.

By Ged Thompson

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By: Ged Thompson

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