Beautiful silhouettes, uplifting music and creative choreographies were a way to make a difference in Bristol and an unusual form of activism, writes Ralitsa Pashkuleva.
A one of a kind charity event, FUZE: Genesis UK’s fashion show features fashion, music and dance as a way to bring change to Bristol.
FUZE, a non-profit charity organization, transformed Lakota nightclub into a fashion runway and styling space across the nights of June 16 and 17 in support of Black South West Network, akt, a charity helping homeless LGBTQ+ people, and mental health charity Off The Record.
Pippa Adamthwaite-Cook, managing director of FUZE, said the show is a silent type of activism providing a platform where people can openly express their opinions and beliefs. She also shared her inspiration and experience that drives her forward.
‘I was bullied when I was younger, I have experienced people not being very kind to me and I also lost my best friend at suicide. So for me it’s more of like a personal reflection, I’m doing this, I’m creating this community and ultimately I don’t want anyone to feel excluded.
‘For me the show is about creating space for activism to exist, a platform where everyone can be their true self without any judgement.’
Previously, FUZE has struggled to follow where the donated money goes and for this reason, this year they’ve made a decision to look for more long-term partners, working with BSWN for the second time.
Pippa said: ‘Traditionally, every year we find a charity and then we support them for a year and then we donate the money and then we never really get to see where the money goes and we don’t get to build a long-term, permanent relationship with the charity.’
The chosen charities are ones FUZE believes are most important to their community and the present generation.
Styli Omirou, creative director, felt strongly about the chosen causes.
‘Normally the board of directors vote for which charities to support but this year we’re trying to build more long-term relationship with our charities. So we chose to support ones that are closest to our core values and where we reference our art from,’ he said.
Some people at the event thought there are charities FUZE could have supported better. One member of the audience, Lewis, made a point that supporting an environmental charity would have been a better idea as global warming is ‘one of the main issues nowadays.’
FUZE, partnering with Select Model Management and MAC Cosmetics, celebrated the talent of young people and more than 120 local artists by providing an opportunity to showcase their talent and skills. The show was inspired by FUZE’s core values – diversity, inclusivity, sustainability and creativity. Its goal was to take the audience on an immersive journey to self-discovery and embrace their true selves and identity.
The show kicked off with a warm-up garden party with food, drinks, shopping and DJs. At 8pm everyone was invited to take their seats and take in the FUZE show, Genesis. Featuring 25 aspiring local designers, boycotting fast fashion that causes damage to our planet, exploits workers and harms animals.
Designers presented unique and diverse clothing that can be worn for any occasion. Some familiar faces in fashion joined FUZE again this year in addition to new talented designers including Fairy Tong, Re.Born Swim (Georgia Braithwaite), Jamie Cumming (Tom’s Trunks) and others.
The amazing Genesis line up also included talented musicians – Lilpixie B, Mia Albel, Badliana, Guy, KWAZI and many more. Diverse dance styles such as Hip Hop, Afrobeats and Commercial, performed by the incredible dance team, beautifully accompanied the show.
The dance cast have been intensively rehearsing for eight months every Sunday for four hours at a time. Choreographers said they were inspired by creative shows such as Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty show and Dua Lipa’s Studio 2054.
Said events like this are important for the community because ‘Seeing someone who looks like yourself, and identifies the way you do, when that is not necessarily something that the mainstream media want to highlight and actually are trying to hide – is something that is so important, especially to young people.’
FUZE UK’s goal is not just to support local charities but to also provide a space where young artists can showcase their talent. Model at the show, Abbie Coles, said that FUZE is a great way to ‘get your foot in the door and meet new people.”’
Barbara Perri, 20, part of the dance cast at FUZE, shared that one of the biggest challenge was staying committed.
Some people just cannot be that committed. But if you want to pursue dancing, for example, you have to be dedicated and what you receive after – I can’t describe the feeling – you feel proud, like you’ve done something important in your life. I feel like I made baby Barbara proud.’
She also adds that nowadays no one should be disrespected and everyone should be able to express their true identity.
‘It’s all about being who you are and FUZE gives everyone this opportunity. It has a huge impact on the audience as well because they can find who they can relate to on stage and know there’s someone who understands.’
Feature image: Ralitsa Pashkuleva.
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