A new fashion-based charity has been set up in Oxford to tackle poverty and rising inequality.
Fashion Relief, which is the brainchild of Cai Wilshaw and Sarah Fan, has set out to replace the current system of one-off charity fashion events with a unified body that will be dedicated to the cause all year round.
Cai Wilshaw, founder of Fashion Relief and second-year Classics student at St Anne’s, said: “The idea is to host fashion shows in universities across the country, which will be organised and run by students.
They would all happen on the same night, in the same vein as Comic Relief and Sport Relief, with all the money going towards charities that fulfil Fashion Relief’s official aims – to tackle poverty and rising inequality in the UK.”
Wilshaw went on to express his excitement at seeing his project start to take shape.
He said: “The enthusiasm from others at Oxford and in other universities has been brilliant.
Next term we’re hoping to get organisers ready across the UK, as well as launching the website and starting to plan the events.”
Fashion Relief already has 10 representatives from across the UK and there will be a big committee meeting this week to set the agenda for the term.
OUSU President Tom Rutland, who has already pledged his support to the charity, said: “Fashion is clearly something that attracts the interest of a lot of Oxford students, given the incredible success of the Benefactor show earlier this year and the popularity of the fashion pages in the student press.
Combining it with charity fundraising is an excellent idea – this novel project has real potential and I’m very excited to watch it develop.”
The project also hopes to raise awareness of some of the serious issues underlying the fashion industry.
Wilshaw said: “In addition to our official aims, we’re hoping that the movement will be an opportunity for us all to start changing some of the negative aspects of fashion – sizeism, exploitation, the fur trade.”
Fashion Relief hopes to hold its first event in Michaelmas 2014. Wilshaw ended by saying: “We hope that one evening this November hundreds of students will come together to show not only that students can make a difference, but that fashion can too.”