Photo by Kayhan
Photo by Kayhan

Ahead of FS2013 – the second catwalk event of St Andrews’ fashion calendar this year – The Saint’s Style editor, Tasha Cornall, caught up with Director Guy Hartley to try to tease out some hints of what we can expect during Saturday night’s show…

Have you been on the FS committee before? How have you found being director – was it what you expected?

I have been part of the FS team for three years now, having working on Sponsorship for FS 2011 and been Event Director for FS 2012. I’ve really enjoyed being Director, we have a great team which means it isn’t too stressful! Having worked closely with last year’s Director I would say that I had a good understanding of the role so luckily there have been no great shocks.

What is this year’s theme? How did you go about choosing it?

The theme for FS 2013 is ‘Fragments of the Imagination’. In being very abstract it has allowed our Creative team to play around with loads of cool ideas in photo shoots so far, which have come across really well. The show will be really quite dramatic in terms of both music and choreography and, although it is often difficult to convey a theme in such a large venue, we hope to create a dark and atmospheric environment.

Which charities are you supporting this year? Why those in particular?

FS 2013 is raising money for the Wardlaw Undergraduate Scholarship Programme. With full support from both the Principal and the Development Office, we are on track to raise at least £30,000 in support of what I feel is one of the most important 600th funding targets. We hope that at both FS events this year, In St Andrews for 1,500 students and in London for 100 alumni, we can really celebrate what is great about the student experience in the twenty-first century.

What did you look for in selecting the models? What’s more important – looks or personality?

In selecting models we look for a few things: not only a strong personality and “good looks”, but also how well a group of models would work together both in photo shoots and on the catwalk. Looks are important but confidence plays a huge role in how well models look in clothes.

What designers can we expect to see on the catwalk?

Our Creative team have managed to get a really good mix of designers for this year’s show ranging from Issa to Tommy Hilfiger. The full list is on our website at standrewsfashion.co.uk/designers.

What are you most excited to see during the show? What do you think the highlight will be?

I don’t want to give away too many secrets, but the ends of both halves are going to be very exciting with a couple of surprises set for the audience. The opening is always a highlight and VIP guests are also going to enjoy a couple of changes we have made since last year.

How will this year’s FS compare to previous years?

It’s going to be bigger and better than ever!

How do you feel about the negative press FS has received in the past about being perceived as elitist?

The majority of press we have received over the past couple years has actually been extremely positive, ranging from Vogue and Marie Claire covering the Alfa Romeo Young Designer Award to Tatler and The Sunday Times reporting on the show itself.I also disagree that there is a perception of elitism surrounding FS: between one quarter and one fifth of the student population attend the show with tickets starting at £20 and our processes for committee and model selection as well as ticket sales are as transparent as any other event at St Andrews. This year we are raising money to widen access to St Andrews in an effort to combat accusations of elitism that are levelled at our university as a whole.

Why do you think there are so many student fashion shows in St Andrews?

The huge amount of events in St Andrews are probably a result of the town’s lack of traditional nightlife and an extremely enterprising and hard-working student body. Fashion shows in particular are far less common than black-tie balls and combined attendance at all four pales in comparison to those balls, but they are all at a similar time of year so attract more attention.

What makes FS different from the other fashion shows?

The most striking difference between FS and other shows is scale – we will have over 1,000 guests at the show and 1,400 at the after party. This allows us to have a uniquely large venue and incredibly high quality production, as well as attract sponsors such as Alfa Romeo, Swarovski, Chambord, Wella and PwC, national press attention and build huge anticipation in St Andrews before the show.

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