FS 2013: Not all fur coat and no knickers


Is FS worth the hype? Arts & Culture Sub-Editor Emily Hill believes so, and here’s why. 

An event as prestigious and infamous in the St Andrews calendar as FS can hardly be anticipated without making some assumptions and hearing some rumours. This was my first time attending the event so I tried to keep my perspective as neutral as possible, but it was as impossible to avoid hearing either the hype or the negativity.

Fortunately the hype was justified; the negativity illegitimate.

The main criticism thrust upon the show is elitism. Now naturally ticket prices have something to do with this, but what critics appear to forget is a) that we were raising money for charity with our £70, and b) the calibre of event they can expect from that money.

FS 2013

I can wholeheartedly say that I have never attended a better event in St Andrews; May Ball might as well be a night at the Lizard in comparison to FS. Yes, there were a lot of people more affluent than me there, people able to bid almost £3,000 on dinners or cocktails (with Freddie Fforde – impersonating a Banana in Pyjamas – as auctioneer), but their bids contributed to the £25,000 raised for the Wardlaw Scholarship Scheme, a charity which supports academically gifted students with limited finances.

This cause was matched with a more than worthy show. Professional, impressive and visually stunning, the models were synchronised to perfection. This year’s theme ‘Fragments of Imagination’ led to some striking designs on the catwalk.

My personal highlight was the Felicity Brown Collection. A series of strikingly ruched dresses, usually in tonal shades of the same colour with the occasional contrasting highlight. Stunning. My male highlight was the 21st Century Kilts walk, as these outfits took the Scottish favourite and modernised it imaginatively. Naturally the models were all as stunning as their attire.

The Alfa Romeo Young Designer award was this year presented to Luke Archer and George Jenkins and the FS models exhibited this flawlessly. The arresting black and red designs combined hard lines with the curves of their models, and as such had the same sex appeal as the cars which sponsored them.

FS 2013One noticeable ensemble which was not to my taste, however, was a fantastic garment topped off with what appeared to be a bee-keeper or fencing helmet. While I’m sure it’s the height of fashion (with designers like Alexander McQueen putting them on their catwalks) it was also a shame to cover such a beautiful model’s face.

Excluding this, overall Archer and Jenkins demonstrated a boldness of design that made them outstanding winners.

After the breathtaking fashion show, the venue was transformed into the White Space event. The music was phenomenal, the decor (with suspended multi-coloured umbrellas) was inspired and if my heels hadn’t threatened to cut off my blood supply after dancing so hard I would never have left.

My only regret is that I didn’t go to FS before my final year, but hopefully this article will stop you from making the same mistake.

Photos: Alastair Ferrans and Stuart McClay.


You can read Matthew Keliris-Thomas’ review of FS 2013 here.


  1. Not that I don’t think the Wardlaw Scholarship and the money raised is going to a good cause, but there is quite a hollow irony in the fact that only those students who can afford to dispose of £70 for an event which celebrates luxuries such as high fashion, expensive champagne and sports cars can be involved in contributing to the cause. From a certain perspective, it could be seen as a knees-up for the rich kids so that we can invite a few more poor kids to St Andrews Uni, which like it or not, does have a problem with its perceived image in regard to elitism. When these students from unprivileged backgrounds are studying in St Andrews, are they going to be given a stipend which will allow them to attend events that in one go cost more than their weekly budget seeing FS is supposedly so integral to the St Andrews experience? Why can’t current students who might not be able to easily part with £70 for a fashion show contribute to the cause with an event which is more openly inclusive? I understand that a lot of money is raised from high ticket prices and high-bidding wars but instead of closing the gaps, don’t events like FS in someway erode the bridge between what people see as ‘elitist’ St Andrews and the St Andrews that we all know isn’t really elitist at all?


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