Contact Young Company treat a small audience to an intense ethical debate using fashion catwalks as a space to question the unsustainable and unethical overconsumption creates by quick fashions and trends. An unconventional but effective twist on the catwalk trope mixed with jaunting dance, slow motion, fourth-wall breaks and spoken word poetry as guests were escorted up and down the viaduct gardens for segments of the show.
The venue choice not only worked for the runways but also reflected the continuous feeling of ecological preservation and the transformative impact that fashion has on ourselves and our environment. Meanwhile, guests were encouraged to wear their upcycled or most-loved clothing to showcase their clothing’s memory and stand against fast fashion.
After a brief chat with cast members disguised as influencers and representatives discussing the show, guests were escorted down a runway of shrubbery intermittently laced with models along the seams.
After sitting down, a conventional catwalk began before the music became more corrupted and models began twitching before the real motive of the show – its rebellion against fast fashion and Instagram trends – became clear.
In a pulsating pile of undistinguishable clothing, the actors tore and clawed for their share, weeping violently if they missed out on the latest sale. Poignant spoken word poetry challenged our perception of fashion as each model slowly unveiled their own fears about fashion: the changing beauty standards for women, the overconsumption of natural resources and the waste it produces, the lost memories from once-loved items, and even the profit reaped from well-loved and donated clothing.
With brilliant acting, beautiful poetic discussions, crowd involvement and the memorable set-piece of stitched fabrics engulfing the models, the show was both impactful and eloquent in its representation of fashion and its double standards.
Using the topic of fast fashion – a dominating issue in a society of quick trends and throwaway consumables – made the show endearing and impactful, asking its audiences whether we are prepared to deal with the mental, environmental and economic impacts of our throwaway culture… a message ever more important in the light of global warming and pollution levels.
The talents from Contact Young Theatre can also be seen in a variety of other shows which can be viewed on their website.