Patrick McDowell’s AW23 catwalk declares sustainable ‘Cinderella shall go to the Football’
British fashion designer Patrick McDowell tells a reimagined story of an empowered Cinderella through a sustainable lens during this season's London Fashion Week.
The designer, who presented his first collection in 2018 after graduating from Central Saint Martins, retells the story of Cinderella at The Mills Fabrica. The tale is reimagined and morphed into the tongue-in-cheek concept of Cinderella going to the football, rather than the ball. The collection celebrates the dichotomy of women, juxtaposing football tees with opulent embellishments.
McDowell swaps Cinderella’s glass slipper for upcycled Swarovski crystal jewelled boots and opts for a witchy black gown over dusty blue hues - putting the femme into football.
Aiming to redefine the game, McDowell works to further Queer culture in football; a historically exclusionary space to so many. Mixing couture silhouettes with those typical of sportswear, the designer relinquishes fashion of gender norms, blurring the line between ‘princess and punter’.
The brand teamed up with The Lionesses star player Alex Greenwood, following their spectacular performance in The Euro, to hone in on the message. Not only did Alex's Euro-winning boots walk the runway, but there was also a surprise appearance from members of The Bloomsbury football club.
In addition to making a cultural commentary, the designer includes Red Aids ribbons on the runway that will support Positive East, London's leading HIV charity. But this isn't the only social issue raised on the runway - he continues to partake in sustainable design practices, with each garment crafted from recycled and sustainable materials.
Patrick McDowell commented: "For me, making clothes is a form of storytelling. You can learn a lot about who I am and what is important to me from the clothes I make.
"It's about feeling and looking great without a huge impact on the planet. It's about lifting your head a little higher or feeling like YES - I can do that thing I thought I couldn't. This collection celebrates that, it's unashamedly me and I'm proud of that because I wouldn't be where I am today without the help of clothes like these."
All images are courtesy of Lorenzo Berni