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Dressing to remember

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A researcher in dementia at the University of St Andrews is organising a fashion show with a difference this weekend (Friday 21 April 2017).

Dr Maggie Ellis – whose research examines the communicative abilities of people with dementia – will host the show using vintage clothes donated or loaned from local people, staff and students of the University.

The aim of the Vintage Fashion Show is to highlight the fact that people with dementia may have – and may still be able to tell – interesting stories from their past.

Student models and local school children will wear the pieces of clothing down the catwalk whilst Maggie reads out the story attached to the outfit.

Dr Ellis (pictured below), a lecturer at the University’s School of Psychology & Neuroscience, explained: “We launched an appeal earlier this month asking people to either loan or donate to us any pieces of vintage clothing (as late as the 90s), with or without stories attached.

‌“The idea is that we learn a bit about the history of the person who wore it – highlighting the importance of remembering personhood in dementia.”

At the end of the show, any pieces of clothing that have been donated will be sold off in a vintage clothing ‘market’ after the event.

Dr Ellis’ work explores attitudes towards dementia and those living with the illness, and the event will raise money for Dementia Friendly St Andrews, a town-wide campaign she launched last year.

Dr Ellis is interested in facilitating communication between individuals with very advanced dementia and their carers and family members. Alongside Professor Arlene Astell, Dr Ellis developed a non-verbal communication technique called ‘Adaptive Interaction’ which allows connection to occur without having to rely on speech.

The Vintage Fashion Show will be held on Friday 21 April (from 6.30 to 8.30pm) at Holy Trinity Church, St Andrews. The event will include live music and tea, coffee and old fashioned sweets will also be on sale. Entry on the night will be £3.


Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 467310/2530 or proffice@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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