Keeping COVID off the catwalk – Is video the future for York College’s end-of-year fashion show?
The COVID pandemic has forced the fashion industry to get creative about how it puts on a show.
Since designers began showcasing their creations in the theatres and salons of jazz-age Paris, the catwalk has established itself as the best way to bring fashion collections to life.
It’s no different here at York College, where our BA (Hons) Fashion students work incredibly hard to put on their end-of-year show. As with nearly every aspect of life in 2021, however, COVID and social distancing has caused a re-think. Taking inspiration from the major global fashion shows, the students and tutors decided to go completely digital – resulting in a seriously polished video showcase and a valuable lesson in the power of collaboration.
Fashion tutor, Rebecca O’Leary explained: “What we would have done before COVID was put on the end-of-year show at the Park Inn, complete with a catwalk and audience; this year that just couldn’t happen. The show features our Level 4, 5 students, but the main focus is on the final collections of the Level 6 students, who each produce six outfits. We all reflected on the situation and it was obvious we needed to develop a plan around video.”
That decision was the start of a valuable experience, not just for the fashion students but also College staff, students from the College’s Hair and Beauty courses, and the professional film makers invited in to capture the event. The video was filmed over one day in May, around the College campus, and involved the fashion students modelling their own creations as well as a lot of work behind the scenes.
Sharon Barrington, Programme Lead for BA (hons) Media Makeup, said her students jumped at the chance for work experience after a year when lockdown has meant there were few hands-on opportunities.
“It was a fantastic opportunity for the Hair and Beauty students, who really had to work against the clock,” she said.
“It was long day, with a 7am start, but the students were really keen and achieved every goal. I was so proud of them all.”
Capturing it all was York photographers and video producers Andy Little and Tom Cook.
Andy said: “I work with a lot of colleges but it’s mainly on corporate videos so it was great to have an opportunity to be more creative. There were a lot of unknowns but the students brought the energy on the day.
“The finished product would stand up against the big brand fashion videos and that’s because of the attitude with which the students approached the project.”
Rebecca agrees, saying the feedback from everyone involved, including the fashion students, has been very positive.
“The students still had the buzz of modelling on the day and now they can include the video in their portfolios. It’s been such a success that I’m not sure if we will ever go back to a physical show. We’ve ended up with something we can use over so many channels, and the video itself captures the college and its fantastic resources, beautifully.”
Check out the video at York College’s YouTube Channel below: