‘C H I L D S P L A Y’—the theme of this year’s Cambridge Charity Fashion Show with the striking venue of the Fitzwilliam Museum. To me, ‘C H I L D S P L A Y’ represents experimentation: the sense of navigating the world by trial and error. Anticipating innovative designs emulating this playfulness, the designers did not fail to impress by leaning into this experimentation. The 2022 CUCFS pushed boundaries. The first show with an all-female committee. The greatest number of collections ever seen. It was a breath of fresh air to see a diverse group of talented models casted for the show—a change of pace from the lack of representation exhibited in the fashion industry.


Illuminated by colourful lights, the catwalk was complemented by the decadent interior of the esteemed museum, the delicate details adding to the spectacle of the show. The runway served as a blank canvas for ‘C H I L D S P L A Y,’ allowing the collections to take the lead. The carefully-curated playlist worked to form an atmosphere of ambience and excitement.

“The models were not the only ones dressed up”

The models were not the only ones dressed up. The audience stepped up to the plate to showcase the varied Cambridge fashion scene: some went for high-fashion looks, while others sported more casual streetwear outfits. One audience member in particular captured my eye—sporting a Dune-inspired look pairing a draped beige dress with neutral moon-boots. A space where we had all come to observe fashion, there was no judgement, no such thing as too-dressed-up.


Fashion Director Lily Maguire described the show as a representation of the “three life stages”. The first life stage is based upon rudimentary identity, when we have yet to succumb to the binaries and realisms of life. The shift into young adulthood brings the second stage, defined by rebellion and “garishness”. Blossoming into our best selves, the third life stage signifies maturity, but still maintains the experimentalism prevalent in youth.

The show opened with the first stage, surrealism and dreams, with a series of Zhenwei Wang’s striking white designs from his collection ‘Who Controls Whom.’ Wang described his use of white as “clean and empty”, a nod to the innocence of early childhood, and hence to the beginning of ‘C H I L D S P L A Y’. Wang’s characteristic draping methods formed unique and futuristic silhouettes. Perhaps one of my favourite collections of the night, his designs fit the theme as well as showcasing impressive structural integrity. Utilising the ever-popular graphic liner trend, the makeup artists used simple yet effective white liner to complement Wang’s vision of innocence. A small detail to pull the looks together.


The vibrancy of the next collection signified a shift into the next life stage. Auda Sakho’s ‘Precious Waste Collection’ from her label Redress Laboratory translated the rebellious, expressive nature of the second life stage. Characterised by an upcycled-chic edge, the collection aligned with her sustainability ethos.

“We could all use some ‘C H I L D S P L A Y’ in our fashion choices”

Somin Park’s ‘Hidden peepholes’ collection was one of the stand-outs of the show, with more provocative looks. Looking to redefine the negative connotations associated with revealing body parts, her collection reclaims the narrative of “self-exhibition”. The bold looks consisted of tailored pieces, each with the identifying ‘peeping point’ that was visible or invisible depending on the audience member’s perspective. Xuejin Liu, Paloma Silversved, Zein NG, Amber Pickup, and Uliana Nekrasova were amongst the other designers, with their looks unravelling the progression of ‘C H I L D S P L A Y.’


Mountain View

C H I L D S P L A Y / Varsity X CUCFS

Yu You closed the show with her collection ‘The Shape of the Wind’. Her designs carried profound meaning beyond their aesthetics, as they emulated “the loss and the loneliness people experience when leaving their home country”. A stunning and meaningful way for the show to end (before the after-party started), and culminates the third stage of ‘C H I L D S P L A Y’. Mature yet dynamic.

Picked to perfection, each collection brought its own twist on ‘C H I L D S P L A Y’ and together harmonised into a fast-paced and engaging show. The abstract connections between the looks mirrored the abstract conceptualizations of a child’s mind. The progression of life stages was successfully pieced together through every element of the show. Overall, the CUCFS was a showcase of the exciting young talents pushing up in the fashion scene. “Instead of getting dressed, it’s playing dress-up”. The experimentation made me rethink how I style myself. Perhaps we could all use some ‘C H I L D S P L A Y’ in our fashion choices.