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Homeless teens in fashion show; Designers inspired by the street.

Byline: Clare Rees

YOUNG designers are gearing up to show their hard work on the catwalk in Cardiff's biggest fashion show of the year.

More than 200 models and performers are currently preparing for the Fluorescent Adolescent show at the recently re-opened Coal Exchange.

But what makes this show different is that it features the designs of a team of talented homeless teenagers who have never picked up a sewing needle before.

Called Fluorescent Adolescent, it is a streetinspired collection designed and made by vulnerable young service users of a South Wales charity.

The youngsters are taking part in the Learn for Life scheme at Llamau, which works to improve the lives of socially excluded or homeless young people.

For the past few weeks, Llamau's Cardiff centre base has been transformed to resemble a fashion studio. "It's a risk because they're complete novices and I'm putting on a major catwalk show that has grown into something really big," said Kate Handley, the fashion showcase's 29-year-old director.

"Every year the show benefits a charity, but we wanted to do more than just write a cheque and do something that was interactive and let us give up time and skills, kind of cutting out the middle man, and I've got the contacts to make a difference."

The youngsters will get to keep some of the outfits they make and every one of them will be there in December to watch their creations being paraded down the runway.

"It's all about giving a platform to young talent and making sure the opportunities are there," said Kate.

"It's about putting people who've been at a disadvantage on the right track and giving them a chance to do something they've never done before.

"It has a great harmony with what Fashion Showcase Wales is all about.

"It's not a snobby fashion event full of people drinking Champagne.

"It's weird, wonderful and creative and is about celebrating underground talent that doesn't always get the opportunity to shine."

To find out more about the fashion show on December 6 turn to our feature on pages 24 and 25


Danielle Nicole Thomas, 17, wearing a hat she designed for the fashion show next month Working on her tutu is Sam Forsdyke, 18, centre, helped by fashion consultant Jasmin Mann, left, and Kate Handley [umlaut]
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Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 24, 2009
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