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Oundle Culture Week: Fashion
3rd July 2017

Oundle School’s Second Form (Year 8) Culture Week is a cross-curricular initiative, linking areas such as music, art, movement, film, history, philosophy and current affairs. The theme this year was ‘Fashion’, a broad topic which offered a lot of opportunities for creativity and debate.

Zoe Souter, Marketing Manager at the Conde Nast College of Fashion and Design started the week off by reflecting upon her own career and considering why Fashion matters. School Archivist, Elspeth Langsdale, ran a session allowing pupils to dive into the Archives to see how the School uniform at Oundle has changed, developed and survived. In small groups, pupils were asked to produce a ‘mood board’ of their design for a new piece of uniform or sports kit, with prizes awarded to the winning designs. During the week, pupils also found out about who makes the sportswear and sporting merchandise they buy, where it is made and the inequality that can exist in the profits from supply chains. A range of activities brought to life the concepts of human rights, equality and fairness by telling the stories of people who make goods in poorer countries, often working with few rights for poverty wages.

Later in the week, Religious Studies teachers demonstrated examples of symbolic clothing and pupils were asked to create and design their own visual symbol that could be included on an item of clothing as an outward expression of inner values. The Time Will Tell Company lead two workshops focusing upon the relationship between Fashion and Power. Their first session focussed on the period around the Civil War, whilst the second considered the topic of ‘power dressing through the ages’. Sessions featured quizzes, status games and a chance to dress up!

Music and dance activities looked at the context of musical fashions in time and place, to show how styles continue to come and go and art activities considered how celebrity clothes have become part of their image. Pupils also watched The First Monday in May, which offered a fascinating insight into an arena in which Fashion becomes Art.

English teacher, Juliette Coles commented, “Culture Week aims to break down the barriers between individual subjects and instead allow the pupils to explore and learn within a framework that is unconstrained by syllabus and exams. Most importantly, we hope that the week was fun and a memorable conclusion to the year!”

Oundle pupils were joined by a group of exchange pupils from France. Oundle School and Saint Charles School in Orléans have been working together for over twenty-five years. Every year fifteen Oundle pupils go to Orléans and they are hosted back here in the summer. 

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