The Oxford Fashion Gala: A deep dive into design – Cherwell

The Oxford Fashion Gala was an incredible success from start to finish. Designers, models and fashion lovers gathered to share their creativity and passion in a whirlwind of wild looks. While the show itself ran smoothly – a perfect portrayal of the talent Oxford has to offer – Cherwell wanted to delve into the hard work that went into building such a fantastic evening.

In this exclusive interview with one of the wonderful designers and photographer of the evening, Ocho, Cherwell discusses the influences, creative processes and top looks of the Gala!

We began by asking Ocho where her love for fashion stemmed from. While many members of our generation rebelled from the advice of their parents in order to find their aesthetic, Ocho credits her mum for her brilliant style. ‘She keeps a folder filled with cutouts from early 2000s magazines, of both paparazzi and runway’, she said, adding that she herself looked best on occasions where she followed her mum’s advice. Being constantly surrounded by scrapbooks of different fashion trends gave Ocho the nuanced perspective of design that she needed to begin working on her own pieces.

With the 2024 gala’s ode to Issey Miyake catching her eye, Ocho decided to take part in this year’s event. She had attended the 2023 Fashion Gala, and was astounded by the designs, but had never thought she would be taking up this role the following year. She then delved a little deeper into the influences behind her looks, which were based around the ‘Hanbok’. This is a traditional Korean article of clothing, often worn in celebration of ceremonies like New Year’s or other special occasions. Talking about it, Ocho said ‘I think it has such a unique beauty to it – there are a plethora of ways you can style it, and it shifts between minimal to maximal depending on the colour, pattern, and occasion’.

Her vivid blue pieces were a statement of the runway, inspired by the colour of the sea during the day and night. Ocho lives on the coast of California, and so wanted to emulate the ocean in her looks to reflect her environment. She expressed her admiration or her models, Dora and Roya, who brought her vision to life and allowed her to fully captivate the ideas she had for the pieces.  Dora’s look was a more traditional representation of the Hanbok; a deep royal blue contrasted by red accents that shimmered on the runway.  As the theme was an ode to Issey Miyake, Ocho wanted her designs to resonate with his ‘Pleats Please’ line. In Roya’s look, which was ‘a modernised two-piece Hanbok’ taking inspiration from a bolero top worn by one of Ocho’s friends, pleats were added to emulate Miyake’s style. She loved this addition as the movement of the pleats on the wide leg trousers reminded her of ocean waves.

Of course, Ocho’s designs were a beautiful illustration of her personal influences for fashion throughout her life. However, we could not talk to Ocho without mentioning her spectacular talent for photography. Her pictures captured the essence of every look on the runway, including her own! When asked what her favourite look that she photographed was, Ocho was spoilt for choice. She immediately mentioned the white two-piece that Jacob wore, designed by Clara. The mesh material of the top and the dazzling white patterns on the bottoms made it excellent to photograph. ‘It was slightly transparent, and I loved how it reflected through on the photos with the flash’. Next, she praised OFG’s President, David, and his designs. He made a statement by combining high fashion looks with intriguing materials and balaclavas. In particular, Ocho highlighted his black dress, modelled by Ruby, which was made of a quilted puffer material. She said that it was the most creative piece she saw on the runway! Finally, she mentioned Axel’s pieces, which had also been raised by attendees and president David during the show. She admired their beautiful material, which ‘illuminated really nicely during the runway’.

Ocho drew a connection between the looks she most enjoyed at the gala, and her fascination with the costumes for Dune 2, pointing out that the looks that caught her eye were somewhat reminiscent of the movie’s style.

Ocho’s take on the fashion gala, and her insight into the ‘behind the scenes’ elements of the night, gave us a completely new perspective of how every designer came together to encapsulate the theme. It was truly a beautiful evening, and we can’t wait to see how it all comes together next year!

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