Fashion show/ Image: Line/ Elliot Stannard
Image: Line/ Elliot Stannard

A decade of Warwick Line’s Fashion and Editorial Society: what’s in, what’s out?

Line Fashion and Editorial Society at the University of Warwick is the oldest and biggest fashion organisation, which was established in 2014. On 7 March 2024, I had the opportunity to attend this renowned event’s 10th anniversary with my amazing deputy editor. While it is not the London Fashion Show, the Red Bull advertisement, music, and stunning outfits by the students made for a fascinating experience. However, one must note that Line as a society is recognised for more than just its fashion show: it also has a magazine called Underlined. Underlined publishes pieces on fashion, lifestyle, and art, and is headed by Rafaelia Socratous and Alizeh Khan. The magazine’s contents include current trends in Gen-Z fashion, wardrobe suggestions in the West Midlands, and news about student fashion events. Interestingly, Line’s popularity sparked the growth of several other fashion societies in Warwick, including the Clothes Circuit, which focuses on secondhand clothing, while also dissecting websites like Depop and Vinted, and the Warwick Retail and Luxury Society, focusing on more luxury fashion labels such as the conglomerate LVMH and Kering. They also give student talks with alumni working in the luxury industry.

The event itself was mostly created due to fundraising as the society did not receive funding in 2019

As previously said, Rafaela Socratous is the head of the magazine, and The Boar was able to speak with her about how publishing functions at Line. She stated: “we aim to have four to five writers and post once a week. We often provide the blog title to the marketing team on Friday”. The site additionally allows authors to write about their own themes yet, if big issues arise, such as Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, writers are urged to address such topics. The 2024 fashion show benefitted greatly from being written about in the magazine this year due to it being broadcast live on their Instagram page, allowing a larger audience to witness all the costumes and write about them.

The society was renamed as ‘Line’ in 2014, as seen on the original Instagram page. Interestingly, even in its first year, it held a fashion show. The new Instagram profile was created five years ago, and the fashion show five years ago appears to concentrate on more conventional gender representation and how fashion and culture have evolved over history as the theme was ‘Back to the Future‘. It also collaborated with other societies, including Warwick Belly Dance and Warwick Salsa, and incorporated dances from each. Impressively, the event itself was mostly created due to fundraising as the society did not receive funding in 2019.

All the money received from the tickets for the fashion show was donated to Unicef

In 2023, the theme was the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’, the ‘Seven Modern Sins’, and the ‘Seven Coping Sins’. Like the 2024 show, it was also held in Assembly, Leamington Spa. The show included 35 models for all the 21 sins. This included pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth for the seven deadly sins, and denial, projections, acting out, passive aggression, rationalisation, regression, and displacement for the seven modern sins. It also included the seven coping sins: self-effacement, celibacy, workaholics, dieting, sucking up, squandering, and indifference. Accordingly, they shot the trailer video in Parish Church, and the fashion show last year was titled ‘Fall From Grace’. The process was different to that of 2023, as one of last year’s models Sebastian Smith reported: “We showed up for the demo shot, did the dress rehearsal and did the actual fashion show”.

In 2024, the Line Fashion Show was titled ‘Tales of a Time’, and unlike its predecessor, it had a sponsor. Upon arriving, each VIP guest was gifted a bag that included a sugar-free flavoured Red Bull, a Line glass, a mug and chocolates. All the money received from the tickets for the fashion show was donated to Unicef. I spoke to Giulia, the co-president of Line, and she told us the main strength of the 2024 show was “the team – without a good team, you will not have a good production”. Kanon also added that one thing which made this year unique was “the diversity of the team – this year it became more accessible and inclusive of more people, and towards more people”. We did not make people submit to ideas of what fashion is”. Interestingly, Anastasia suggested that “the combination of masculinity and femininity, and accessibility to any gender”, made it a truly unique show. We saw this with Anastasia because not only did she play King Arthur, a conventionally male character, but the person she designed for the show also played with the traditional bounds of gender norms, as she designed The Seven Dwarfs. Kanon suggested that the main goal in mind for Line was to create a “happy ever after”, considering “social issues, mental health, and gender norms”.

Giulia also told us about the difficulties encountered with making the fashion show: a “five hour meeting to pick the models, and there were over 150 people who applied and only 34 models were picked”. I had the privilege of speaking to one of the models involved, Vanessa Leung, who is an executive at Line where she works as part of the editorial team for TikTok. She remarked there was a “photoshoot in the morning”, and it was a challenge to apply all the “makeup in the morning”, and “there was a freezing transition from campus to Leamington for the shoot”. She also told us about a project she is doing for her role – ‘fashion on campus’, which includes recording different students on campus and asking them about their outfits or people wearing cool, unique stuff.

The refusal to embody characters in their stereotypical representations made it incredible to observe

The 2023 Line Fashion Show explored the theme of storytelling and fairytales in an original, collaborative, and engaging manner, not only relying on participant’s ability to play around with fairytales but also allowing the audience to participate in its overall ambience. Indeed, the use of a narrator allowed the audience to truly be immersed in the stories that were unfolding on stage, combining theatricality, interesting personas, and dramatic storylines in a truly captivating way. One of the remarkable aspects of the show was how much designers played around with traditional notions of fairytales and stereotypical roles, turning them on their feet and emphasising various aspects of expectations as well as subversions of these expectations. Choosing models and coming up with outfits that reflected these disruptions to the traditional concepts were key in this endeavour. A female King Arthur was on stage, displaying both sword and, sparkles. Captain Hook combined feminine and masculine traits, depicting a fluidity between these norms, embracing different atmospheres and expectations, overall making the show not only original and surprising, but also thought-provoking.

Line is dedicated to showing people that fashion is not a big, scary, and exclusive word

The refusal to embody characters in their stereotypical representations made it incredible to observe. For instance, instead of choosing white or blue for Cinderella (as with many Disney representations, or those that emphasise the youth and innocence of the princess) the designer, May Robinson, chose red, focusing on ‘cinders’ and incorporating the idea of phoenix and rising from the ashes. These pieces created reflection and debate, and their accomplishment can only speak to the commitment of the producers, designers, models, and everyone involved, to creating a powerful, organised structure in which expressivity and originality could emerge. The result was a wonderful combination of artistry, imagination, and an organised ‘bringing-together’ of all pieces, which was extremely impressive to watch.

Speaking to some of the executive members of Line, what strongly came through was a desire to re-produce, in the coming seasons, the accessibility and diversity that made this show special. Line truly opened with this show, showing a collaboration between at least 50 people, none of whom had the same past, experiences or background. Line is dedicated to showing people that fashion is not a big, scary, and exclusive word. Instead, it is about creativity, imagination, and the ability to portray something in your head and bring it to life, surrounded by people with the same desires.


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