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.  

Catwalk: reviewed

Within the St Andrews fashion show family, Catwalk is widely recognised as the fun one; the favourite cousin who turns up to family dinners with a broad grin and a cheeky sparkle in their eye. In short, a good time guaranteed. This year, the theme was ‘Playtime’, and Catwalk 2020 most certainly did not disappoint. 

It was quite the departure from the usual St Andrews Wednesday night out. The 601 that we know and love was looking the best she ever has, filled with glitter and velvet and brightly coloured eyeshadow. And that was just the audience. As the models walked, the crowd danced and cheered and threw their hands up adoringly as banger after banger throbbed in our ears. As the show went on, I was struck by the level of professionalism, originality and variety that this year’s committee had achieved: the choreography was refreshingly diverse and dynamic, the models’ makeup was bright and fun, and the fashion was as eclectic as you could hope for. My favourite pieces were the kilts, designed by McCall’s in Dundee, and the Lady Gaga-esque cone-bra dresses, designed by Isa Hummelin, a graduate designer from Germany. 

Catwalk is one of the most affordable, and least pretentious, fashion shows in St Andrews: instead of taking itself too seriously, this year’s show focused on enjoyment: the committee were having a good time, the models were having a good time, and the audience was absolutely having a good time. It is also the only St Andrews fashion show that donates 100% of its proceeds. This year, the funds raised went to the University’s three nominated charities, as voted for by students themselves: Women for Women International, the Yard, and Calm.

Professional though the show was, it stayed true to its theme, and in their last few walks the models’ steely pouts melted into warm grins as they waved to their pals and danced together in a fantastic sartorial selection ranging from block-colour bikinis to hi vis workman jackets. As Areosmith’s “Walk This Way” blared from the speakers and every mouth in the room, the models trotted out en masse and exploded confetti guns all over the audience. Suffice it to say, we were loving every moment.   

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.

Szentek: reviewed

This year Szentek truly established itself as the most exciting event in the St Andrews’ social calendar. In its fourth year running, Szentek transformed Kinkell Byre, creating an immersive, sensory experience and ultimately an insane party. The night was meticulously curated with world renowned DJs playing alongside student and local artists, as well as art installations. The results were explosive. 

When first walking into Kinkell, we were greeted by Room 3, which undoubtedly showcased how talented the students in this town are with Wax Collective, Copper Coil and Szentek’s resident DJs playing. Inside the venue, the Fife barn was brilliantly transformed by hanging murals and artworks, creating an ambiance that felt authentically raw and essentially underground. Personal highlights come in the form of a sculpture made from Tenants cans, and the digital art by Zmotionsz. Also, the one-off set with St Andrews’ own Max Dupa, accompanied by the live jazz and funk band, Two This for That, was incredible. The unique metamorphosis of style was an unforgettable audible experience. Pure butter. 

The second room created a more intimate experience, Peverelist, IDA and Palidrone sustained an eclectic vibe ranging from techno to acid house. We were treated to sounds that spanned the world of dance and beyond: this room was bursting with energy. 

The main room was an auditory delight. Legendary DJ duo Optimo went above and beyond expectations, bringing their renowned Optimo night from Glasgow to Fife, they created a groovy experience, jumping from funk to punk, electro, 50s swing and more. Éclair Fifi delivered an astounding set bringing the party to life for the energetic crowd. It was great to see so much female representation at the event, in light of how male dominated the music industry is. It also cannot be forgotten that all proceeds from the event went towards ‘Variety’, a charity for disabled children. 

Congratulations to the Szentek committee for an outstanding night, it was a blast.