The Fashion Society of the London School of Economics threw a charity fashion show for the second year running with the proceeds going to the MicroLoan Foundation. The show committee had decided on a theme fairly quickly—it would be “LDN by LSE,” a showcase of up and coming London designers. We wanted to create a sartorial map of London on the runway—and we succeeded.
Choosing the theme was easy enough. It was the charity that was going to be difficult—there are so many good causes out there that deserve attention. I had interned over the summer in New York, at a microfinance organization, Women’s World Banking and knew I was interested in further promoting the microfinance movement. A Google search for “microfinance in the UK” turned up the MicroLoan Foundation as the very first hit and after reading about the organization, we knew immediately that MicroLoan was the charity we wanted to work with. It was fitting that the charity we chose was as globally minded as the city it is based in.
MicroLoan turned out to be just as enthusiastic about working with us as we were about working with them. They found us a group of women in Malawi to sponsor, the “Praise the Lord” Credit Group. Our fundraising would give them some of the capital needed to start their own clothing and food businesses. My committee put together a press packet to send out to designers which heavily featured MicroLoan. Many of the designers who lent us clothing did so because they wanted to be involved in doing something for such a great charity. Our show featured young London designers, many of them graduates or students from Central St. Martins as well as from the University College for the Arts. We had a mix of styles, from the avant-garde to ready-to-wear, as varied as London’s distinct and diverse neighborhoods. Womenswear designers Carol Li, Jacqstar, Shi Bo Xie, Jamie Tai, Partimi, Sharon Li, Timur Kim, Naoyuki Yoneto, and Tammam were the stars of our show and their names will be at London Fashion Week soon enough. Our menswear was provided by legendary British brand Kent & Curwen, who also generously sponsored our show, enabling us to donate all proceeds from the ticket sales to MicroLoan.
The tickets for the show sold out in a matter of hours, such was the excitement generated on campus. In addition to the tickets, we also held a bake sale and raffled off two £50 Selfridges vouchers for fundraising. “LDN by LSE” was held in the beautiful Shaw Library at LSE, with student models, professional hair stylists and make up artists, and an army of helpers, all who kindly volunteered their time and talent. We had press coverage from LSE’s newspaper, The Beaver, as well as reporting from the London Student News. Our attendees numbered around 150 and there was a palatable air of excitement in the room as the show began as we had tried to create the glamorous atmosphere of an actual fashion show. Judith Perle of MicroLoan gave a wonderful and informative presentation on the fantastic work of the organization and of microfinance in general.
We were so proud to feature emerging London designers and to be able to work with such an amazing charity. We raised money for MicroLoan, but hopefully we also raised awareness amongst the LSE student body. It was a fantastically fun and fashionable night and we raised a total of £789 for MicroLoan and the “Praise the Lord” Credit Group!