The Alternative Fashion Festival

When: Friday October 16th 19:30pm

Where: Circo, The Albert Dockposter

How much: FREE, donations to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation and a local charity.

Back by popular demand, the Alternative Fashion Festival returns to Liverpool where it all began to kick off its ‘Encore’ tour.

Fashion isn’t really my bag, and neither is being surrounded by stunning models. Back in July a stilt-walking friend was looking for a performer to accompany her to the festival, so for lack of anything better to do I went along in a pair of knickers with fire toys and a sense of curiosity (mainly for the latex – just walking past Nice ‘n’ Naughty makes me blush).

Photo by Ian Williams
Photo by Ian Williams

The affair was organised by Jane Bellis, herself an alt girl who began her 20 years in the mainstream industry as a model. She noticed that there was little room in the industry for models who didn’t fit the ideal stereotype of beauty.

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Photo by Ian Williams
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Photo by Alan Taylor
Photo by Andrew Harrison
Photo by Andrew Harrison

ianwilliams6

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Ally Caulfield and Aubrey Mezzone

Along with the desire to challenge prejudice, the event is in honor of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a young woman murdered in 2007 for identifying as a goth.

Before the show I hung out in the models’ area where they ate trays of donuts. A scantily clad nutcase appeared with a king python around her neck, almost making me drop dead because my Mum has projected her phobia onto me (I told her with glee that according to local news a king python had escaped from the reptile house up the road and was currently coiled around a telephone wire on its way to our house (maybe) – she locked herself in the bathroom all afternoon).

Photo by Bri Mansys
Photo by Bri Mansys

A kind makeup artist covered the spots I was so conscious of before I headed outside to play with fire. A photographer asked me to do something cool whilst three girls posed in the background à la Charlie’s Angels (FFS, at least don’t make me stand near them).

On the catwalk, mainstream designers put their creations on the most alternative models, who rocked each outfit, proving that bright blue hair or an eye patch will still do fashion justice. Other collections ranged from rockabilly to steampunk, and I especially enjoyed the humor some of the models displayed. Defying the media’s concept of beauty, every body shape and subculture was represented, peppered with more body modifications than you could shake a stick at. 

Photo by James Maloney
Amy Pulford by James Maloney

But of course, the fetishwear collection stole the show, and I ain’t  even gonna lie  – I didn’t pay all that much attention to the clothes (how sweaty were those arse cheeks and how much Vaseline did they need to slip in?).

Lynsey Hughes by Jamin Sohrabi Shiraz
Lynsey Hughes by Jamin Sohrabi Shiraz
Photo by Ian Williams
Photo by Ian Williams

The soundtrack featured mainstream/metal mashups, with a beatbox performance by the incredible Kimmy Lawrence (from my vantage point I couldn’t see the performer and admit I was completely blown away when I realized it was…a girl!?!)

Erin-Anais Hart also made an appearance, the goth teen sent home from her Kidderminster school on non-uniform day for an outfit deemed too “bondage”.

11709559_10205557800162722_3858879810143682433_nBritain’s most tattooed man, Mathew Whelan AKA Ink Land King Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite (yes, really) made a special appearance, complete with tattooed eyeballs.

Most of us, however, were busy eyeballing the incredibly saucy Jynx Monster; her indoor fire performance was pretty sweet too.

Jynx Monster by Robert Thompson
Maria Ramos by Robert Thompson
Maria Ramos by Robert Thompson

This Friday at Circo is your last chance to catch the show without a ticket. If you went along last time and like me, are wondering whether to bother again, Jane assured Boss Liverpool that the Encore promises to be even bigger. Round two has been polished up somewhat, each date showcasing different designers and some fresh models. A local band will play each date, with a slightly different artistic piece thrown in. In Liverpool, new entertainment comes in the form of drag artist Condra and singer/songwriter Caroline England, as well as the Monster Cirque troupe who dose out badass and sex appeal in equal measures.

Guests can expect a good old party on Friday with a specially designed ‘Eccentrico’ cocktail/mocktail and dancing (and after show nibble platters, huzzah).

Jane explained, ‘[this is] the first of its kind, a socially conscious fashion show aimed at showcasing diversity and the beauty of our differences. We’re aiming to raise self esteem and promote body confidence…being unique should be celebrated and not ridiculed. I would love everyone to come and see the show for themselves and help us spread the word.’

If you can’t make Liverpool on Friday the show will be at the Manchester Gorilla on October 30th and Preston’s Blitz Venue on November 20th; for tickets and information visit www.alternativefashionfest.co.uk.

I really did enjoy the first show and hope you will too; see you there!

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