Sheffield show to explore the psychology of fashion and shopping

Exploring the effects of fashion culture, The Cult of K*nzo tells the story of what led one woman to queue round the clock to get her hands on an exclusive clothing line.

By Rochelle Barrand
Wednesday, 13 March, 2019, 10:19
Cult of K*nzo, a show by Paula Varjack examining what's in a brand and why we want the fashion we do is coming to Sheffield. Photo by Nikolas Louka.

The show, which is coming to Sheffield’s Theatre Delicatessen on March 23 as part of an extensive national tour, tells the story of Paula Varjack.

She is a stylish and fashionable woman on a budget with her own look and sense of style. Many of her clothes are carefully chosen eBay purchases that she combines into that look.

She choses, however, to queue all night to buy a dress she’d set her heart on from the limited edition collection between high end designer Kenzo and H&M. 

In doing so, she spent as much in ten minutes as she would usually spend in a year and emerged with the largest shopping bag she had ever carried.

The show asks what it was about these clothes and this brand that made her act so out of character.

Paula said: “Just over a year ago I had an experience that made me question my interest in fashion, and in particular my love for high end items I can’t afford. In case you don’t know, H&M does annual collaborations with luxury brands.

“Until last year they had never collaborated with a brand that mattered to me. Then, last summer they announced their latest partnership, with the label “Kenzo” .  Before I knew it, there I was the morning of the launch and I emerged carrying the largest shop bag I had ever carried.

“I couldn’t work out what had made me spend so much and I felt compelled to explore it further; to make a show looking at what drives people to want things that are exclusive, that not everyone can have, and the stories we tell by what we wear.

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“Fashion is an artform everyone is forced to engage with. Whatever we wear expresses something, even if it’s that you don’t want to be seen to show an interest in fashion.”

The Cult of K*nzo is her theatre show that takes an insiders look at consumer culture through the lens of fashion.

It interweaves the stories of one woman’s lifelong desire for luxury and the young Kenzo Takada’s dream of becoming a fashion designer.

In a world where you are who you wear, The Cult of K*nzo looks at how high end designer brands create desire, the tension between inclusion and exclusion, and the mysterious allure of high end, why do we want the things that we want and what’s in a brand.  

The show is not just about fashion but also consumer culture, class, race and the very topical subject of the future of the high street. 

The show has already received praise from audiences who have seen the show performed across the country and have posted reviews online such as ‘smart, delightful and totally relatable’, ‘a weirdly wonderful guided tour of fashion land’ and ‘visually spectacular and a a superb feat of story telling’.

The show will begin at 7.45pm on Saturday, March 23 at Theatre Delicatessen, 202 Eyre Street, City Centre.

It lasts for 70 minutes and is suitable for people aged 14 and over. Tickets are available to buy now for between £8 and £10 from www.theatredeli.co.uk.