This past week in St Andrews hosted Enterprise Week, a time when the budding entrepreneurs and business moguls among us can attend presentations and talks geared towards the ever-growing start-up industry. Of the many events over the course of the week, I was lucky enough to attend EnterFashion, a discussion focused on two start-ups created by St Andrews students: Concrete Catwalk and Re:Fashion. The event, which took place in the intimate underground of the Westport Bar, drew a small crowd, but despite only having a small handful of people attending, it was lively and exciting nonetheless. What made it so stimulating was the fact that these two successful and brilliant start-ups were created by students who had an idea and never stopped trying to achieve their goals. Though the beginning of each start-up is different—one stemming from a school project and the other from a general appreciation of the fashion sense at St Andrews—they both heed the same message: work hard and stick to it.
The event began with a general introduction of each start-up. Concrete Catwalk, founded by a current fourth year, is based on the belief that inclusivity is essential. At the core of its principles is the notion that fashion is for anyone who is genuinely interested, and therefore, should include all who want to be included. The idea for Concrete Catwalk came about one day when the founder, then a first year, noticed the diversity of St Andrews fashion. She decided that the best way to capture the style of St Andrews was to take photos of the students she saw and publish them online. Initially, she started off by taking photos of her friends and posting them online, which, by word-of-mouth, began to spread and gain momentum. When asked about the success of Concrete Catwalk, the founder stated that being open to collaboration and surrounding yourself with people who will help and support you is key for success. Soon enough, Concrete Catwalk had become a major success and has since grown significantly.
Re:Fashion, first founded as an enterprise model for a class project in Management, focuses on the resale of affordable and luxury items from students in St Andrews. With two events every year, Re:Fashion has blossomed into a major fashion platform. According to the founder, making connections and networks with new people helped grow her business, and without making these connections and networks, she believes that Re:Fashion could not be where it is today. To her, this is what makes St Andrews the perfect place to be a budding entrepreneur; the ease with which one can meet new people is incredible and can help move ideas along.
Most important, however, is what the startups represent to St Andrews’ prospective fashionistas. Practical and creative, the success of Concrete Catwalk and Re:Fashion sends students the crucial message that there is room within the world of fashion for the artistic and the business-minded alike, and that this world is theirs to dive into.