As London comes alive with passels of models, designers and aspiring journalists, the St Andrews sartorial scene takes noticeable strides to emulate the legendary London Fashion Week. Beginning with CATWALK and culminating in Sitara*, our University’s fashion season presents no shortage of choices. Between high ticket prices and a scarcity of show-worthy outfits, you would be hard-pressed to locate an individual intent on attending every show in a single year. For those of you still debating on which wristband to wear and which to sell, The Saint presents a definitive ranking of our town’s four largest fashion shows — from the best, to the worst.
1. DONT WALK: 27 February
Enigmatic and evasive, DONT WALK stands a step above the rest solely for its spectacular transformation over the years. Since its inception, the Kinkell-based show has evolved into a breathtaking exhibition of fashion and talent, establishing itself as more of an electrifying performance than a simple series of walks.
Throughout the 2015-2016 school year, the committee has been bolstering their elite reputation with launch events worthy of a branding mastermind: a private dinner at Forgans, discreet drinks at the Adamson, and regular nights out at the Vic. Professional and innovative, DONT WALK has consistently proven itself to be worthy of its exclusive image.
Although the show itself is invitation-only, the afterparty will be open to the public at £40 a ticket. Headlined by Otto Knows and expertly organised by an accomplished committee, the afterparty may be the one event this February that absolutely no one should miss.
2. SITARA*: 1 April
If “exclusive” defines DONT WALK, then “authentic” defines Sitara*. A celebration of Asian culture, the night prides itself on exhibiting all aspects of the East, from Japan to India, in the form of fashion, dance, art and acting. The committee’s dedication can be seen year by year in the seamless choreography and the intricate decorations (sourced directly from India for the 2016 show), all cooperating to create a self-described “night like no other.”
Although typically viewed as being a step below the two largest shows, Sitara* is owed more accolades as it delivers an event that can barely be described as a fashion show. Acting as a showcase of an entire civilisation, the night is wrought with an unforgettable beauty that could not be seen in any other St Andrean night out. A story is told on this runway, a carefully designed concatenation of dance and fashion that will surely fascinate any and all in attendance. One need only to look at this year’s introductory photoshoot, “My Mahal,” to glimpse the quality of Sitara* 2016. Often overlooked, it deserves a higher ranking position in our local lexicon.
3. CATWALK: 6 February
The official fashion show of RAG Week suffered from its noticeable absence from last year’s events circuit, a result of the refurbishment of Venue 1. Although maintaining a steady presence on social media, particularly with a round of inspired snapchats over Christmas break, CATWALK continues to struggle with establishing a solid identity — “the one that’s for charity” does not offer much product differentiation amongst our other three charity fashion shows.
Fortunately, a sold-out show suggests a healthy amount of interest in the revival of the Union’s runway event. At £25 for standard tickets, the wristbands are a steal. Even cheaper are the £5 tickets to the afterparty, an opportunity to schmooze with the models in the wake of the show. Helmed by a spirited committee and residing in the home of legendarily cheap alcohol, the show has the benefit of being low-risk: for a relatively meagre sum, you will receive, if nothing else, an entertaining night inside Club 601.
Ultimately, CATWALK will be an inexpensive evening of innocuous fun. Not as sensational as DONT WALK, not as unique as SITARA*, and not as big as FS, the show’s only flaw is its position in the middle of the road. If you aren’t the sort of person who would normally attend a fashion show, CATWALK is the event for you.
4. FS: 13 February
Previously regarded as the quintessential St Andrews fashion show, the aptly-named FS has been losing its edge. Although last year’s show came equipped with a spectacular sound- track courtesy of DJ Joe Jones, the dream-themed event devolved into a nightmare with an afterparty that could best be described as “nonexistent.” The possibility of redemption was then squandered at this year’s launch event, Starfields, a plaintive attempt at a music festival that lacked the most basic semblance of organisation. One could not help but wonder if the organisers, in their admirable focus on ensuring a beautifully decorated Lower College Lawn, forgot that actual human beings would be present in the meretricious venue.
Complacency seems to have affected what is technically the largest show in St Andrews, as they adhere to the same methods utilised by their predecessors: Starfields, a foam sale and, to be honest, not much else. Other than a lacklustre introductory photoshoot, FS has kept a low profile throughout the year, a stark contrast to DONT WALK’s regular appearances on our newsfeeds. The committee’s predictability, too, places it at odds with the innovators of DONT WALK, who possess the ability to challenge themselves, rather than follow the blueprints of previous years.
With all this in mind: FS will not be bad. FS is never bad. The lucky few who emerged victorious from the table ballot may be content in the knowledge that they will receive their money’s worth. If you find yourself faced with a choice, however, between our two rival fashion shows… Well, it can’t be considered much of a choice at all.
(The auction does look quite good, though. Anyone want to go halfsies on the trip to Milan?)