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.