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What's On, Culture, Style

Survivors Fashion Show at the Museum of Natural History in Oxford

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On 24 February 2023, The Serenity Project charity will host their annual UK fashion show at the Museum of Natural History. This show will be a night to celebrate resilience in people who identify as ‘survivors.’ The Serenity Project is a suicide prevention initiative aimed at uplifting survivors and celebrating the resilience of people who have endured various hardships in their lives, and continue to rise above adversities.

This initiative will be hosted by the Oxford Guild Business Society, the largest university society in both Europe and the world, as well as the oldest in Oxford.

This event is also set to receive both local and national press coverage and will be the subject of an independent feature film. The event organizer and TSP Director of Fashion Shows Carys Hoggan explains, “It is time to transform how our catwalks traditionally look. As a disabled woman, the message of The Serenity Project is so important to me as someone who was always taught that my body was not good enough. Organizations like this allow us to re-imagine beauty and celebrate our power and shared battles toward strength as a community.”

Over 70 stakeholders were involved directly in the event - models, designers, performers, hair and make-up artists, stage staff, volunteers, and sponsors. Over 15,000 miles were traveled by people in attendance at the show, with one of the farthest traveling being one of the show’s official indigenous designers, YY, who resides in Canada.

Eight designers - all with unique stories, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds - were selected for the show and were all connected to the cause of survivorship in different ways. The designers displaying their art on the runway include Noemie Jouas, Farida Rashid, Chloe Romanos, Jill Setah, Yingtong Cheung, Antonia Thompson, and two Oxford University student designers.

The Serenity Project was founded in 2017 by Oxford Ph.D. student and Rhodes Scholar Serene Singh as a way to spotlight those who may not always have a chance to be celebrated.

Singh explained in her remarks at the show, “We don’t know how long we have anyone. But I know one thing: there is so much importance in making sure people feel truly loved big time while we have them.”

One of the models participating in the show Emma Metcalf, a student at Oxford Brookes comments, “The event allowed me to find my voice. It made me realize how powerful and strong I am. As someone who has been through a suicide attempt and is now in a wheelchair, I gained so much confidence within myself and so much love. I am so proud to have been a part of it and to have advocated for this cause that I believe in: you do not have to be in the dark, your resilience makes you beautiful. This event showed me that I do not need to be scared anymore of the battles I have faced.”

Jouas, one of the show’s designers who has been featured by VOGUE and London Fashion Week commented, “It’s such an honor to have been involved in this show for many reasons but especially because the entire event focused on an issue that is never talked about - especially in the fashion industry.”

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