GUCFS: bringing awareness to Mental Health

By Réka Tolg

18th of February, the day of the annual charity fashion show is just around the corner… Fashion at Glasgow Uni is definitely excited about the event, since it is such a great opportunity to support an important cause with the tool of fashion. We had the opportunity to chat with Jocelyn, the current Vice-President at GUCFS, about the show, their journey, and she also gave some insight to this year’s show, in addition to her expert tips on how to get involved.

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Réka: So first of all, tell us why and how has it all started?

Jocelyn: The first show was in February 2015, but me and my flatmate started it in April 2014. Basically he wanted have something to do, because there is not much to do in here, and he’s friends were up at St. Andrew’s and they loved it [Fashion Show] so Blake was like let’s do it. I was like “yeah sure, I am not doing anything else right now”.

R: What is your role in GUCFS?

J: I have been the Secretary of GUCFS for two years and this year I am the Vice-President. I didn’t wan to be a president this year, since I wanted to give this  opportunity to someone else. I have learnt a lot during this time and got so much out of this experience. Still, I decided to stay involved this year since all my friends are part of it and I am happy to help out whenever they need me.

R: What makes GUCFS different from other university fashion shows?

J: We are staying with our Glasgow roots. Our aim is to work with Glasgow-based or Scottish designers, photographers. Glasgow has such a strong identity, which is inimitable. Glasgow has a style.

R: Why is it important for Glasgow University to have its own show?

J: If everyone else has it why do not we have one…

R: So, this year’s chosen charity is SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health). Why did you decided to focus on mental health issue and how do you think you can make an impact with this?

J: Big problem with mental health is funding, and people don’t talk about the issue much. They are afraid to start the conversation, which has to be present. We are a big group on campus open about it, trying to help people, working on the awareness and not only raising money for the charity. We want to make people safe and be able to talk about ther mental health.  We had a Mental Health Awareness’ Week as well to support our objectives and to start the conversation. We also try to learn a lot abpout it, since when noone is talking about it, it is necessary to find the ways to approach the audience with the message. Our whole committee unanimously agreed on supporting SAMH this year. Everyone wanted it.

R: Since we moved to the themes part, how do you come up with it for each year and what is special about this year’s show?

J: Theme ties the whole thing together, it is like the identity of the show, but I think it is important to never get too tied down to the theme and saying “oh, that doesn’t work”. First year was Afterdark, but I have no idea why did we put it that way. Looking back it means nothing. Last year we went for Unleashed because it was the second year, we unleashed our opinion, were getting power and we wanted to make it to stand out. This year it is Horizon, because of mental health and looking at things from a different perspective. Horizon is about something that is nice and open.

R: How do you choose designers?

J: We have two girls on committee, both womenswear and menswear, who work on sourcing designers.They are always looking for people who are doing cool staff. They work with Glasgow-based and Scottish designers through Instagram. Yeah, its most about Instagram stalking (laughs). However it does require time to settle things up.We are just on our third year, while St.Andrews and Edinburgh are on their 25th and people try to compare us, but I don’t think this is the right way to do it.

R: Reflecting on your own experience, what have you learned from working with GUCFS?

J: I have learned so much, best thing I have ever done at uni undoubtedly. I have lerned a lot of selling things, like you know, time management. I even became a better person – joking – but I learned how to take people’s opinion, listening to them and trying not to shoot them down (laughs). We are running a real-life business in spare time. How many people at uni ro that? It takes a huge amount of time and I am totally not complaining about it – I love it! We all do!

R: Finally, what advice would you give to those who are planning to get involved next year?

J: Come to the events, mainly the show, be a BA to have an idea of what is happening in the committee. You can be a dresser, we just like to see people who are showing genuine interest  and are keen. No one has experience. It’s not the fashion show we are talking about on meetings, it’s more about the business side of it.

Note: GUCFS will take place on 18th of February. Make sure to book your tickets via their page on Facebook.

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