Karishma Patel discovers the artist side of Lancashire’s travelling community.
Young women from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community transformed into icons of the silver screen and took to the catwalk in Lancaster recently.
The teenagers modelled their designs based on a cinematic theme at The Dukes Centre for Creative Learning.
The show entitled Lights, Camera, Fashion was the culmination of many months work as part of the Make Project supported by Lancaster University.
This cultural partnership aims to develop arts, education and learning in Lancaster and to invest in, enrich and sustain the city’s cultural life.
Teenagers aged 13-19 dressed as characters from films past and present such as The Wizard Of Oz and Willy Wonka.
The costumes were made from recycled materials and had been partly inspired by a visit to a textile museum in Manchester.
As well as designing and making the costumes, the team of young women worked with Dukes staff to promote the event and helped to choreograph it.
The Dukes young musicians also performed a live dance and music ‘curtain raiser’ to the fashion show.
Lights, Camera, Fashion is the second major project in five years which has involved The Dukes and the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller(GRT) community in Lancaster, Morecambe and Heysham.
This latest project was instigated by Jack Walker, a third-year degree student on placement at The Dukes who wanted to work with the GRT community.
Anna Oliva’s mother Mary said: “The event went absolutely brilliantly, and I really enjoyed it.
“The event was so professional.
“The girls made and designed their own outfits and I was so surprised when I saw the final unveiling of the outfits, they were so good and professional as well.
“Some of the people at the event couldn’t even tell that it was the girls who made the clothes in the show, that’s how amazing they were.
“My daughter loved every minute of it, she was always so excited to attend the designing and making classes every week.
“We were all surprised at how well the outfits turned out and the quality of them.
“This project has really inspired my daughter and her friends to go on and study hair and beauty at Morecambe College.
“The girls have led a sheltered life, and when this opportunity came about I was really happy with her being involved as I knew all the other girls who were taking part.”