While DONT WALK and ‘invite only’ are never far from the same sentence, the close-knit atmosphere and surroundings of Kinkell Byre’s beautiful brickwork manages to create a really special type of event.
Although it’s almost impossible not to compare FS and DW, it really is vital to see St Andrews fashion’s more select show as an entirely different beast. Yes it lacks some of the much-lauded ‘professionalism’ and spectacle of FS’s vast catwalk, and the models are much less stoical in their appearance – but this makes it feel alive. As the lights dim to the entrance of a handcuffed and chained line of models, two huge screens pulsate with oscilloscopic patterns and a powerful voice, creating an impressive and impactful start to the show. As soon as the room is relit, music pounds from the speakers with the heavy base showing in no uncertain terms the way the night is heading. With generous provisions of alcohol on each table, dancing is the status quo as models and crowd play off one another to create one huge, engaging performance. By allowing the models freedom to express themselves, you can really feel the crowd swell as each walker can’t help but crack a smile upon taking to the runway.
The twisted guns that you have no doubt seen sporadically featuring in the library, Louise Richardson’s garden and elsewhere across town symbolise the Non-Violence Project, DONT WALK’s charity fund for this year – having raised over £110,000 for various causes since its inception. It’s incredible to see this theme woven into the performance, with the committee seeming truly committed (as one may expect) to the great charitable work that is really the main purpose of DONT WALK. Don’t think this means they skimp on the party however – after all it’s what brings in the money. Not wanting to sound trite, DONT WALK really does fulfill its own hype of ‘celebrating the relationship between fashion and performance.’ In securing a bond between the crowd, models and entire show, DW has achieved a stellar event that is both deservedly a highlight of the St. Andrews social calendar and able to raise thousands for an incredible, charitable cause.
Not for a moment however, do we lose sight of the fashion, and, despite some underwear rounds in which flesh over fashion seemed to be the order of the evening, DW provides an impressive array of design perspectives. From local and independent creations to huge brand names like Topshop and Canada Goose, DONT WALK is able to give a taste of catwalk fashion to those of us who want it, while remaining true to its nature and also providing us with an incredible party. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that is only to be applauded. While some may balk at the idea of a student event that is purely invite only, it guarantees DW will remain somewhat quirky, slightly controversial and always unbelievably enjoyable.
Read Tamar Ziff’s review for Arts & Culture here.