In Conversation with Nicole Stark: Chairwoman of ECFS

At The University of Edinburgh there are only a handful of events that stay permanently in the social calendar for students and the local community each year. And since its conception, the Edinburgh Charity Fashion Show, has not disappointed. That’s right, it is the moment we have all been waiting for; the Edinburgh Charity Fashion Show 2023.

The Theme: Year 3000 

The Location: Dynamic Earth

In an exclusive interview with Lifestyle Editor Eden Kersse, ECFS Chairwoman Nicole Stark, gave us an insight into the ECFS 2023. 

Following an arc of different variations of human evolution, the show will be split into four sections: cyber utopia, posthumanism, destruction and ethereal genesis. Attendees will follow a story of life and fashion at the peak of technology and its evolution towards a post-surrealism age on earth that is almost alien and robotic like. We will then descend into dystopian destruction, a bleak and bare earth that is recovering from overconsumption. The show ends with humanity returning to nature with an ethereal genesis to represent rebirth and fantasy.  The vision for the theme was clear for Chairwoman Nicole, who wants to “encapsulate our generations’ concern” over the environment and climate change and what this will look like in the future. 

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that this year’s show is taking place in a new location – Dynamic Earth. Set with a backdrop of Arthur’s Seat, ECFS “wanted to use a venue that tapped into the earth.” Continuing that “the venue is the perfect plain canvas for the show to be built upon and the designs on stage will add to the space itself.” Dynamic Earth is a space centre for learning, with interactive spaces that will be accessible to guests on the day of the show!

         So, what can attendees expect from the ECFS 2023?

A good time and a fun evening are guaranteed, but for Chairwoman Nicole she really wants “people to feel a sense of community that we have built. So, you can really feel the people that are behind it.” But, most importantly, she wishes for it to serve as a reminder to the student community that we can do whatever we put our mind to. 

However, it cannot be forgotten that a key part of why ECFS put on this show is to raise money for incredibly worthy causes. This year the show is donating to Student Minds and The Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity.  Chairwoman Nicole gave us a look into Head of Charity, Ruth Maley’s decision: “Edinburgh Children’s Hospital is a core part of the community and that is one of the reasons why we were so excited to give back to the local community and fundraise for them and for a generation even younger than us.” The Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity supports seriously ill infants, children, and young people by supporting their medical care, mental health, and family’s wellbeing. The charity helps to deliver grants to families, creative endeavours for the children, therapy and mental health support, family bereavement, and equipment that can improve the quality of life for the children they support.

And for Student Minds, the decision was based on conversations amongst the committee about what truly mattered to them. Supporting a charity that supports the outlying student community. Student Minds is a mental health charity supporting university students and staff through training sessions for mental health support, empowering campaigns, and workshops, as well as tackling inequalities within the mental health sector. 

The goal for this year’s show is to raise over £30,000 for these two incredible charities. 

Sustainability is another part of what drives the ECFS show. When asked how this influenced the theme of the show, Chairwoman Nicole said, “in its conceptual meaning, the show is meant to emanate what it would be like if the world is not sustainable- if we fail to reach our goal of sustainability.” Speaking about the importance of ECFS using their platform to raise awareness, she said “the theme translated into a lot of the issues we are looking at with climate change and how we, as young people, can respond.” She continues to highlight that “what is most important for us is using any platform we have to create a dialogue, that this is more than just a fashion show.

Closing the interview, I asked Chairwoman Nicole how she would describe the show in three words: “youthful, eclectic, and vibrant” 

Youthful to represent the sense of community and drive of the student body. Eclectic because of the range of themes and designers involved and all the visual elements. And vibrant to radiate the dynamic sense of the show itself and the space it has created. 

With a new location, a new team, and a vision to highlight one of the most pressing issues our generation faces, the ECFS looks to be an exceptional display of our community’s talent and beauty whilst inspiring us to not be afraid to make change, have an impact and most importantly, do whatever we want to do. 

General tickets for ECFS are on sale from Monday the 27th of February. Follow ECFS on instagram @_ECFS_

Image Credit: photo of Chairwoman Nicole Stark provided by ECFS to The Student, used with permission.