Yorkshire’s first ever Refugee Fashion Show was a hit success at The Wardrobe in Leeds, raising over £2,500 for two charities working locally with asylum seekers. An array of colourful and sexy styles revealed the talent and beauty lying unrecognised in an often marginalised group.
The event brought together eight fashion designers to work with dozens of amateur models including many from the refugee community, to put on a sensational show that left no doubt that asylum seekers are more than just the label. Over 200 people attended and generously contributed to the charity auction of fashion pieces and some unique celebrity items.
“The show was about exclusive fashion without excluding people and without the exclusive price-tag!” says Zimbabwean-born designer Divine Charura, based in Leeds. “For refugees it’s so important to be recognised as human beings with something to offer, to present a true image of themselves to counter the usual myths. It was a great success.”
The models came from many parts of the world that are not usually associated with glamour and fashion, such as Iran, Eritrea and Zimbabwe. The clothes too combined international influences from Afro-Asian sari fabrics to Leeds’ most stylish vintage chic to bespoke urban fashion.
The funds raised from the night were split equally between the Refugee Council Hardship Fund and local destitution charity PAFRAS (Positive Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers).