News Analysis: Wardrobe Malfunction


Following cancellations of the event in the past, Katie Hughes looks at the chances of this year’s Fashion Show going ahead

Whether or not UCD’s Fashion Show will actually go ahead this year is questionable given the “will it, won’t it” controversy surrounding it in previous years. However, the prospect looks promising, with Students’ Union Ents Officer Jonny Cosgrove already hard at work on the initiative, along with others.

The Fashion Show was last planned for the 2008-2009 academic year, and despite having to cope with a lack of sponsorship at the beginning of the year, it was still expected to go ahead before being cancelled in mid-February due to time constraints.

Cosgrove, then auditor of Arts Society, insisted at the time that despite the event being cancelled, there was going to be a focus on “setting up committees and laying the foundations for the following year”. However, 2009 came and went with no Fashion Show. This may indicate that 2010 is the year for the show’s big comeback, or the next in a growing chain of cancelled Fashion Shows.

The UCD Fashion Show was previously run in part by people outside of the university, something that is not going to happen again this year, with the students’ show actually being run by the students. The Down Syndrome Centre project managed the Fashion Show in 2007-2008 before the event was handed to the Arts Society, which had just been re-instated after a break, in September 2008.

The event is no longer under the umbrella of the Arts Society, but is more of an independent event “like UCD’s Community Musical,” according to Cosgrove. The committee, which will be finalised in the next few weeks, is open to students across campus, as are positions for models and dancers.

It’s all well and good to say that a lot of preparation work went into the Fashion Show over the summer, but what evidence of this have we seen on campus?

The Deputy Chair of the UCD Fashion Show in 2008-2009 and last year’s Ents Officer, Mike Pat O’Donoghue, decided not to advertise the event before Christmas, saying that starting advertising after the break would “give a run up that leads to a crescendo”. Hopefully that won’t be the mentality taken this year, given that the reason the show was cancelled in O’ Donoghue’s year was, in fact, due to time constraints.

Whether or not bringing back the Fashion Show in recessionary times is a good move is questionable. Looking for sponsorship for an event as sizeable as this may prove difficult. The lack of sponsorship in 2008 was blamed on the economic downturn. Similarly, the show was cancelled in 2006 due to financial and organisational difficulties. However, with Cosgrove’s backing, a huge amount of sponsorship may not be necessary.

In some ways, it appears that the Fashion Show is running under the auspice of UCD Ents this year, with a part of Jonny Cosgrove’s Ents budget going towards the show. This is the first year that UCD Students’ Union will have such a large stake in the Fashion Show. Will putting the Union’s name to the Fashion Show make the event any more likely to happen?

Given the success of Ents events in the past few weeks, there’s no reason why the Fashion Show shouldn’t be the “spectacle” that Cosgrove promises. With Vodafone secured as one of UCD Ents’ main sponsors this year, we have reason to hope that the Fashion Show will be a great success.

In previous years, the stereotyping and objectifying of men and women alike was seen as a considerable drawback of the Fashion Show. Cosgrove, however, believes sexism won’t be an issue this year. While it is easy to get caught up in the hype of the Fashion Show, we must remember that there are both students and members of staff that hold objections to the event.

There is great hope for UCD’s Fashion Show this year, and with preparation and groundwork that the organisers insist has already been laid down, one can only hope that what looks to be a very promising event will actually take place.