DONT WALK: REVIEWED

Usually, a pitch-black bus ride into the unknown is not the preferred preamble to a Saturday night. However, DONT WALK certainly made it worth the slight numbness of bottom. From the buses, we stepped into the barn-like foyer of Anstruther’s Bow House which was filled with patio heaters, illuminated cube stools and many a food truck. A thin corridor took us through into the main space, where the juxtaposition between the bare stone walls and the industrial scaffolding-like stage and lighting rig was stark, adding to the anticipation leading up to the show. Blue and white strobes created an electric vibe which had the crowd buzzing to see what DONT WALK 2020 had in store for us. 

As guests poured in, it was clear that everyone had made an effort for the most prestigious fashion show of the year. We witnessed all sorts, from grungy garms to full-on tweed ensembles. The excitement was palpable. The corporate and VIP mezzanine was professional, welcoming and well-stocked: champagne was served on arrival, and guests could help themselves to cans of water and beer. It also offered a perfect vantage point for watching the show which was, in a word, stunning. 

The focus on sustainability was evident even in the run-up to the event: the committee organised a beach clean in St Monans as well as a biodegradable moss graffiti arts and crafts workshop with Families First, one of their selected charities. As for the event, the wristbands, lanyards and even the carpet (!) were all made from recycled materials, and 80% of the designers were sustainable. From the very beginning of the show, the environmental theme was clear; ominous images of natural disasters were projected onto the stage’s backdrop, behind the printed reminder that ‘ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE’. Models emerged from the sidelines, walking without expression to a beat of heavy bass, creating an atmosphere of urban utilitarianism. 

We were impressed with the wide variety of fashion on show, ranging from primary-coloured puffa jackets to translucent trousers. We were awed, and perhaps even pushed to jealousy, by Jule Waibel’s textured statement pieces. We could see ourselves sporting that hat on our next jaunt to East Sands. We were also pleased to discover that the show was not without a healthy peppering of promiscuity, with a beautiful range of underwear, and sultry choreography to match. 

As the show went on, everyone relaxed: the tunes upped in tempo, and the models started to accept hydration thrust upon them by adoring hands in the audience before sharing a shimmy atop the raised platform that linked the two sides of the runway. 

The finale was spectacular, with flames erupting as the committee ran on stage to join the models. This seemed fitting as proceeds this year are to be donated to The Rainforest Alliance, as well as Families First. It was lovely to see the whole team, who had clearly worked so hard, popping bottles of champagne and smiling from ear to ear: they deserved to celebrate what had been an extremely professional and creative spectacle. 

On to the afterparty: the stage was swiftly cleared away and replaced with guests who were ready and raring to go. Techno music vibrated throughout the room as we boogied back and forth between the dancefloor and the bar, where a drink was never more than five minutes in the making, but never less than five pounds. Nevertheless, the overall standard of production was unparalleled and we would struggle to name another St Andrews event that managed to feel quite so accomplished and effortlessly slick. Miles from your usual student-run event, DONT WALK was but a metaphorical step away from the professionalism of the world’s top runways. A huge congratulations to this year’s committee, models and production team on a fantastic performance.  

REVIEW: FS 2020

I look forward to FS every year. My friends look forward to FS every year. In fact, it’s safe to say that for 28 years now, St Andrews Charity Fashion Show has been a staple of the St Andrews social calendar.  Attracting 1,700 guests each year, the show has raised over £500,000 for its charitable partners during its lifetime and is one of the most successful student-run fashion shows in the country. Every year, the show gives us an opportunity to dress up and attend an actual event, rather than just another nondescript black-tie ball in Kinkell Byre.  For me, this time around was particularly enjoyable: as a final year student, I was pleasantly surprised to see that this year seemed to mark a significant departure from previous years, maintaining its glitz and glamour but with a more light-hearted and unpretentious vibe. Everybody, even the models, seemed to be having a lot more fun. 

Photography: Lightbox

With St Andrews’ saturated calendar of black-tie events, the temptation to buy a new outfit almost every weekend is hard to resist. But fast fashion is the second most polluting industry in terms of plastic production and carbon emissions, not to mention the human impact of exploitative practices. FS2020 is partnered with Fashion Revolution, a social movement targeted at transforming the fashion industry through encouraging sustainability, transparency and responsibility at every level. As one of the most prolific events in St Andrews, it was good to see FS lead by example and embrace a strong commitment to sustainability.  Through a week of sustainability-focused events in the run up to the show, including a screening of Riverblue, a clothing exchange pop-up and a panel discussion featuring guest speakers, FS2020 showed its commitment to its cause and charitable partner right from the beginning. Even the goody bags showed a marked change from previous years, containing sustainable and vegan freebies, and notably absent of the usual pamphlets and discount cards which were instead available digitally.

Photography: Lightbox

Friday’s Sustainability in Fashion event saw a panel of experts come together to discuss the concerning trend towards fast fashion over the past 20 years. The hour-long panel discussion and subsequent Q&A with Niamh Tuft (Fashion Revolution), Ieva Balciute and Magda Daniloaia (sustainable shopping platform Aequem), and moderator Daphne Grant explored the importance of sustainability and the role of politicians, consumers and industry in transforming the fashion world. This was followed by a drinks reception and sustainable pop-up shop, featuring clothing from emerging designers and an opportunity to meet the guest speakers.

Photography: Lightbox

Unsurprisingly, Saturday’s event was once again as spectacular as ever. The music this year proved particularly good, transitioning us effortlessly through each room of the Playhaus, with brilliant performances by Alex Mills and WEISS keeping up an atmosphere of energy and excitement. Models walked brands including CLAWDI, Alice Pons and Ripa Ripa down the runway with the help of some incredible choreography and spectacular lighting, most notably in the opening sequence. Over 30 designers featured, with at least 40% sustainably sourced.  The fashion was varied and true to each themed room, with guests commenting that the clothing seemed far better than previous years. Friends praised the self-aware choreography, improved layout and efficiency of the bars.  

Photography: Lightbox

This year, FS once again brought us the theatrical and glamorous show and afterparty we all love, but this time with an added bonus: the sustainability engrained into this year’s event allowed us to party guilt-free, safe in the knowledge that we were helping the planet. One of the hottest events of the year just made caring about climate change cooler.

Review: Starfields 2019

As expected, this year’s Starfields saw FS deliver on all their promises of a fitting conclusion to Freshers’ week and summer 2019. 

Photography: Henry Memmott

Grumbles had been heard about the price of a ticket and upon arrival, not much seemed to have changed from previous years.  However, looking closer, the layout of the bar (it being central and square) was an excellent move by the committee.  This allowed for gin and tonics to be an easy and accessible delight for the masses, whilst also being served in recyclable vessels. A big tick from us. 

One addition this year was the presence of St Andrews’ beloved hairdresser Spoiled, who were doing glittered braids.  A simple idea but one which was well-received and had some fantastic-looking results, complimenting the general sea of Hawaiian shirts and sequinned skirts. 

Photography: Henry Memmott

Though there was no Blackhorn to be seen, the two stalls of sweet and savoury options were extremely popular and looked delicious.  Other areas included a beanbag space which worked less well, though we were pleased to note the availability of hydration in the form of kombucha, rather than plastic balls, in the ball pit.  

Photography: Henry Memmott

Of course, we should discuss the main event: the music.  The production was aesthetically pleasing, with light and smoke displays adding an impressive edge upon previous years’ events.  The music did not disappoint, providing dance classics to which one could throw many a shape, with ‘Rinse & Repeat’ DJ Riton’s set really getting the crowd going. 

Photography: Henry Memmott

All in all, we were very impressed, and the standards set by Starfields has us looking forward to what FS 2020 has to offer.