The world of fashion has seen a selection of incredibly strange offerings over the years. From plastic jeans and car mat skirts to dual purpose bra/handbags, some of them are undeniably eccentric. And with this in mind, one man decided to hit London Fashion Week in 2019 sporting a whacky wardrobe – and he became the center of attention. But who was the mysterious model?
The answer to the mystery person has its origins with a duo of British YouTube stars and their respective antics. Jamie Rawsthorne and Zac Alsop run their own entertainment channel called the Zac and Jay Show, which, they say on the platform, “[Delivers] unproblematic, positive, mad content.”
Crashing exclusive celebrity events and trying unusual activities for the first time are among Rawsthorne and Alsop’s previous videos. For example, they once bluffed their way onto the BBC’s The One Show to meet Louis Theroux, pretending to be part of an appreciation society dedicated to the filmmaker. And the duo even infiltrated the Baftas – Britain’s red-carpet event for presenting TV, film and game awards – posing as celebrities.
But Rawsthorne and Alsop’s jokes aren’t always at someone else’s expense, and they’re more than willing to be laughed at themselves. In past videos for example, they’ve participated in various strange sports, such as the The World Gurning Championships. In gurning, contestants screw up their faces to make the strangest expression possible.
Meanwhile, for their next project, Rawsthorne and Alsop decided to join up with their friend, Max Fosh, who also runs a YouTube channel called StreetSmart. And though the page doesn’t have a written description, the content speaks for itself. Fosh’s videos are a combination of street interviews with the general public and a good-natured look at modern life. So what brought the three of them to work together?
Indeed, it’s the fashion business, and its unusual trends, that is responsible for the trio’s union. And Alsop explains as much in the introduction to the trio’s YouTube video, saying, “The world of fashion is a strange, strange world. A world which most of us normal folk will never understand.”
“It’s a world where wearing a paddling pool [or] human backpack… is regarded cool,” Alsop continues. “Essentially, anything goes.” Meanwhile, it’s not just Alsop, Rawsthorne and Fosh that have had a dig at the fashion industry, Hollywood’s been at it too in the past.
For example, Ben Stiller had a cheeky pop at the fashion world when he directed and starred in the 2001 comedy film Zoolander, alongside Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson. Its madcap characters lampoon the public’s views on the catwalk and highlight its eccentricities. And that’s something that Fosh, Alsop and Rawsthorne would go on to achieve in their own unique style too.
And with the help of a female friend, Rawsthorne and Alsop set out to make an ordinary person into a London Fashion Week star. And if that sounds like a difficult task to take on, let’s put it into perspective. The semi-annual event is among the four biggest fashion weeks alongside Milan, Paris and New York.
Photographers and retailers turn up in droves to London Fashion Week, hoping to see models showcasing the latest styles. Furthermore, the event features the work of hundreds of designers, all vying to be the star of the show. So it’s no wonder, then, that the event attracts a huge media turnout and a slew of interested buyers.
In fact, London Fashion Week hosts an estimated 5,000 members of the press and potential buyers who spend more than $130 million on its merchandise. And if planting a pretend model into such a scene wasn’t difficult enough, Rawsthorne and Alsop had only day to achieve their goal, so they quickly had to find themselves a fashion fake.
“We needed someone who exudes confidence but is understated,” Alsop explains in the team’s YouTube video. “[We needed] someone who is comfortable on camera, but not in the fashion world. We needed a confident, unfashionable, blank canvas of a man. [And] it turns out our mate Max Fosh from the YouTube channel StreetSmart was the perfect candidate.”
So with Fosh on board, the team begin preparing a satiric ensemble for him to wear. And they find what they want in the fashion store Primark, settling on a mismatched selection of brown women’s corduroy pants and a silver handbag. Meanwhile, some fake eyelashes, rings, fake branded sneakers, tacky gold earrings, along with safety glasses and duck tape complete the look.
Initially, the video shows Rawsthorne, Alsop and a female friend trying to turn a pink blanket into a body wrap for Fosh’s fashion debut. However, they decide that the makeshift attire – which they refer to as the “candyfloss man outfit” – wouldn’t fool anyone. As a result, they opt to try something with what they refer to as a “more understated look.”
Indeed, Alsop, Rawsthorne and Fosh had touched upon using the theme of emotions during their previous brainstorming sessions, so for their second attempt at creating the latter’s model persona they revisit the concept. To that end, he dons a black cycling outfit decorated with letters cut from a roll of fragile tape, which he also wraps around his leg.
But that isn’t enough to make Fosh look like an up-and-coming model. So they combine the apparel with generous applications of gel to elevate Fosh’s hair, and their new star was born – say hello to “Maximus Bucharest from Bucharest.”
And with their fake supermodel ready to go, Alsop, Rawsthorne and Fosh hit London’s streets for Maximus Bucharest’s first public appearance. At first, they set the scene by shooting some pictures of Fosh posing on the sidewalk. And sure enough, the activity draws attention from passers-by who seem keen to see what all the fuss is about.
“When you were taking photos of [Fosh] everyone was looking as if he was a celeb,” Rawsthorne says in the YouTube video. But it isn’t just the general public that have noticed the mysterious new model. Alsop reveals in the video, “Mid-way through our test run a wild photographer appeared…”
“The fashion gods had answered our prayer, and the test run had worked,” Alsop reveals in the video narration. Indeed, just minutes into his walk through London’s crowds, Fosh is already making an impression. And for his part, the fake model appears to be a little too eager to enter the world of fashion, as his co-conspirators describe.
“[He] was in the zone, in character,” Alsop says in the video. “He was no longer Max Fosh from StreetSmart, he was 16-year-old modeling prodigy, Maximus Bucharest from Bucharest.” However, Fosh is so absorbed in his role that he rebels against the group’s schemes and veers into a crowd of people unaccompanied.
With no clue as to what Fosh is doing, Rawsthorne and Alsop race after him. Indeed, their pretend prodigy has led them straight into the arms of London Fashion Week photographers stood on the street. Furthermore, the video shows that Fosh has abandoned his bag, alongside any pretence of a co-ordinated outfit, in favor of his cords and jacket, and his co-conspiritors have no choice but to follow.
Meanwhile, Rawsthorne and Alsop ask Fosh for a photo in front of the group of loitering photographers. And sure enough, the magic begins to happen as the latter unzips his coat and Rawsthorne hands over his proffered handbag to pose. The paparazzi then leap into action at the chance for a photo shoot, even blocking the road in their fervor.
Indeed, the photographers lap up Fosh’s posturing, and a voice from the crowd even shouts, “What are you wearing today Max?” to which he replies, “Walton Henry Smith.” The crowd doesn’t seem to realize that Fosh is name-dropping the founder of U.K. retail store, W.H. Smith, but that wasn’t the only clue to his ruse.
“As if this charade wasn’t enough, [Fosh] still has Primark tags sticking out of his trousers,” Alsop explains in the narration. And amazingly, despite subtle indications that the model isn’t what he seems, pictures of Maximus quickly begin reaching social media. And one curious photographer even asks Alsop and Rawsthorne about the enigmatic newcomer.
Alsop then responds to the curious photographer that Maximus Bucharest flew to London for a one-day shoot. But their ruse is such a success that pranksters Rawsthorne and Alsop decide to make a second appearance. Day two wouldn’t be a repeat street performance, though, and the group had loftier goals – namely to get Fosh into a fashion show.
To that end, the guys pick up a few more accessories for Fosh in preparation for day two. His new outfit additions include some police-issued rubber-soled shoes, washing up gloves and a pink rug. And after a little customization – such as cutting the fingers off the gloves – the look is almost complete. But it just wasn’t quite weird enough just yet.
So to complete Fosh’s look, Alsop and Rawsthorne use the inflatable plastic wrapping packaging from the handbag and apply it like a collar around Fosh’s neck. Alsop explains in the video, “[Fosh] was looking fabulous. The only thing that was missing from yesterday was actually being invited to a show. But today was a new day.”
As it happened, Rawsthorne and Alsop have a contact in the fashion industry, and stylist Scott Cruft doesn’t just get Fosh access to a London Fashion Week show, he also appraises the fake model’s outfit. He concludes that the guys might actually be better at fashion design than they realized, as the video reveals.
“This is a real look though,” Cruft says of Fosh’s ensemble in the video. “I feel like this could actually be something, you know?” He also informs the team that latex gloves are a fashionable item and could be in wider use by winter. But he is understandably skeptical of the collar, which he argues makes Fosh look like “a Batman villain.”
So with an official invite to a London Fashion Week show, Fosh is ready to go. Alsop explains in the video, “This time we meant business. With the worst outfit we could muster, [Fosh] was ready for his second outing of fashion week. And it wasn’t long before the attention came.”
“The photographers were out in force, risking life and limb standing on the busy road,” Alsop recounts in the video narration. “But they didn’t care, the hottest man in fashion was in town. Heads were turned, necks were snapped.” Indeed, a businessman present during the during the photo mayhem even approaches Fosh, taking advantage of the attention.
To be more specific, the man runs a business called Jonny Concrete, selling doorstops. And during the impromptu photo shoot, the businessman gives Fosh a concrete doorstop to hold. Indeed, it turns out he wanted the fake model to pose and advertise his wares online.
Meanwhile, Fosh and Cruft eventually make it through the fashion show’s crowds to the main event. Alsop continues in the video narration, “As the final few pictures were taken, they made their way to the exclusive, invite-only show. All [Rawsthorne] and I could do was stand and watch on like the proud fathers we were.”
So what did experienced fashionistas inside the London Fashion Week show think of “Maximus Bucharest from Bucharest?” In the video, Alsop says, “So Maximus was in, and it wasn’t long before the attention came. Cameras were flashing, eyes were staring.” And there are some celebrities in the show’s crowds too, and among them is TV star Jessica Woodley.
Woodley gained fame for her character on the British structured-reality TV show Made in Chelsea. And when she asks Fosh what he’s wearing, he tells her that it’s “really, really new, very niche.” And the fake model’s surprise encounter with a TV star isn’t the night’s only success, either.
Indeed, Fosh explains in the video how his attire manages to captured one particular professional’s attention. He says, “So a photographer just came up to me and said she loved my outfit. She’s now gone to get her card, because I have the most unique outfit here, apparently.”
Meanwhile, Woodley looks especially stunned when Fosh has someone apply more insulation tape to his skin. She exclaims, “We are currently experiencing a new trend – natural. He is a natural at work, I’m so impressed with him. He’s just come in here, got front row almost.” And for his part, Fosh manages to stay in character throughout the show.
Indeed, Fosh keeps up his pretence of the arrogant, self-obsessed prodigy that is Maximus Bucharest. He tells Woodley, “I’m so annoyed I had to come to this show. Like, I told my agent I didn’t want to come, but she’s like you’ve got to go. So I was like, Ugh, fine.”
Furthermore, social media users loved the trio’s satire of the fashion world, with the YouTube video gaining over 12 million views and an array of positive feedback. One user wrote, “Fake it until you made it. Well, I think you made it in two days, Max.” Another added, “Welp, I just found my new favorite model. Best of luck to him, honestly.”
Meanwhile, Rawsthorne and Alsop were thrilled with their efforts, with the latter concluding, “[We got] great seats, celebrity friends and fans. Within two days, [Fosh had gone] from shopping in Primark to the pinnacle of the fashion world, rubbing shoulders, exchanging details and living his best life. Now the show may be over, but I feel like this isn’t the end for Maximus Bucharest from Bucharest.”