Celebrities, families, police and politicians joined 300 young people on Tuesday night at an extraordinary event celebrating the achievements of young people in Southwark.
'Kitch' – a fashion show put on entirely by young people on the Karrot scheme was attended by more than 850 people at Tate Modern on Bankside. Special guests included Lisa Mafia from So Solid Crew. Video messages were sent from Rio Ferdinand, the comedian Richard Blackwood and from actor Gary Beadle (aka Paul Trueman in EastEnders).
Natalie Talbot, one of the young designers, won the special award of the evening and will be seeing her designs made up by Top Shop and distributed to their boutiques across the country.
The ten young designers were selected from among 135 competition entries from across the borough. They were then paired with mentors from the fashion industry to each create a collection for the show. Designer mentors included Zandra Rhodes and Wale Adeyemi.
Young people played almost every role on the night including models, journalists, phographers, cameramen, musicians, DJs, hair stylists, make-up artists, comperes, dancers and stewards. Every young person involved was trained through a series of workshop programmes in the relevant field.
Organisers say that the Kitch event was staged in direct response to demand by Southwark young people for a constructive alternative to loitering and boredom. It is part of the Karrot programme which aims to reduce truancy and anti-social behaviour and to encourage 11-17 year olds to feel part of their community and fulfil their positive ambitions.
Karrot is joint funded by the Metropolitan Police and Southwark Council through the Safer Southwark Partnership. It has already been received as one of the most sucessful national youth crime projects of the decade and sits along side other partnership projects such as Southwark Council's Youth Offending Team's Mad About Football. Funding the next year has already been allocated by the police and Southwark Council.
Cllr Richard Porter, Executive Member for Youth at Southwark Council, said: "The fashion show was an absolutely fantastic night – I was bowled over by the creativity and professionalism of the young people. Southwark Council is proud to have been a partner in the Karrot project and this should be a testament to how much joint working can achieve for young people in Southwark."