Blue Cross fashion show 2017

Multidisciplinary designer, Wayne Hemingway, hit out at obstacles holding young people back from getting their first step onto the fashion career ladder while speaking at Regent’s University London’s sustainable fashion show recently.

Held in Marylebone last week in partnership with the Blue Cross pet charity, at the event Mr Hemingway said of starting popular label Red or Dead:

“The stall we started with in Camden that cost us £6 a day is now £1,450 a week and people can’t afford it, unless they sell absolute commercial tripe.

“We learnt how to become good designers by interacting with people. You can’t learn by being behind a screen and keyboard, and you never find out what people think of your clothing or how they fit until you see them react.

“The millennial generation are the first to be worse off than their parents – they have less chance of owning a house or starting a business. One of the ways we can change this is to give people the chances that we had.”

Wayne and his wife Gerardine are both senior honorary fellows of Regent’s University London. They attended the fashion show with their dog, Minnie, and 150 other students, staff and guests to help raise the profile of Blue Cross, a charity which has supported nearly 10,000 homeless pets over 2016.

Titled ‘A Sustainable Future,’ the catwalk show offered a spectacular showcase of fashion student designs made from recycled clothing and fabrics supplied by Blue Cross shops.

The event also highlighted how pre-worn clothing can be given a second life, and emphasised how pets should not be viewed as disposable commodities or so called ‘fashion breeds’.

Regent’s will continue to maintain its links with Blue Cross as the students’ fashion designs will appear in the charity’s shop windows across London, and an internship programme is being developed to offer students valuable work experience.

Mandy Jones, Director of Rehoming at Blue Cross, added:

“At about the time Wayne was starting out, if you wanted to get a puppy you went to a neighbour’s house, or you’d see a card in a newsagent’s shop. Nowadays, people go to the internet where there are thousands of puppies for sale.

“They come from places called ‘puppy farms,’ which are horrific … In the same way we have charity shops, Blue Cross has centres with homeless animals that really need you so please - ‘adopt, don’t shop’.”

View the student's fashion collections