The Saint sat down with past and present Catwalk directors about their hopes for the 2018 campaign and fashion show.
Catwalk 2017 was a sell out event headlining RAG week and raising over ten thousand pounds for charity. Catwalk 2018 is set to build on its previous successes, with new director Olivia Smales seeking to implement her own changes to the project, whilst maintaining what she describes as the “Catwalk spirit.” There has very much been a role reversal Ms Smales is stepping up from her role on the creative team last year, and previous director AJ Brennan is now working with the marketing team and they both share an eager enthusiasm and excitement for this year’s project.
Ms Smales said that she loved seeing Mr Brennan’s vision come together for the last show and that it felt natural for her to put herself forward as this year’s director. When asked what the role entails, Mr Brennan said that: “As a director, the main thing you need is a vision. You get people on board, and it’s about motivating people and bringing their ideas together and synthesizing them.”
Ms Smales also stressed the collaborative aspect of the project: “Your initial vision changes and progresses thanks to input from everyone else, having the capacity to create something incredible. Even with a limited budget, it’s amazing what you can achieve when people work together.”
Mr Brennan’s vision for Catwalk 2017 was built around the idea of the “urban underdog,” focusing on looking inwards at aspects of youth culture and counter cultures which aren’t in the initial public eye. Ms Smales said that this year, we should expect to see an inversion of last years theme:
“I want to turn AJ’s idea on its head and base our campaign around awareness and engagement with the world we live in. It’s going to be about the good and the bad, the past and the present; taking these elements and regenerating them.”
The official theme launch is scheduled to take place later this month but until then, it is strictly secretive.
Ms Smales was enthusiastic about the other changes she has planned for Catwalk this year. In addition to implementing a brighter, fresher aesthetic, she said that stressing the show’s link to charity and remembering its connection with RAG week whilst continuing to uphold Catwalk’s personal image, is essential.
“In previous years, people may have been unaware of the link between Catwalk and RAG week, and we need to re-inforce this. Whilst we are putting on a great event which is very creative, we are also raising money for three amazing charities: Save the Children, Families First, and the Scottish Refugee Council.”
Ms Smales hopes to emphasize the charitable aspect of the show by working on projects together with the charities themselves and giving them a real presence throughout the campaign.
With our University being home to a plethora of fashion shows, we asked the directors where they thought Catwalk sits in the wider St Andrews fashion scene. Ms Smales said that whilst it may be tempting to compare one show to another, every show has different aims, a different budget and a different ethos. Catwalk’s focus on charity, collaboration, and personality, whilst being very much a celebration of student creativity as a wholly student-run, non-professional project, is what she believes makes it stand out from the crowd. She wants Catwalk to continue to be what she describes as an “open” project, and isn’t afraid to show behind the scenes shots. She also acknowledged that it is one of the youngest fashion shows, now only at its third year since its revival back in 2014. It is still continuing to grow and establish itself, and Ms Smales is keen to implement necessary changes to make sure the event is of continuous relevance for students.
Recently, the Catwalk committee carried out the model selection process. With over 100 applicants, those who were successful were more than just looking good on the runway: Mr Brennan and Ms Smales said that personality is key. Catwalk is known for its laid-back, friendly atmosphere, so they were looking for “a healthy mix of people who were going to enthuse and engage with the crowd and embody the ‘Catwalk spirit'”. Olivia says we should expect to see some old faces along with lots of new ones when the team of models are revealed.
Ms Smales and Mr Brennan didn’t want to give everything away, but their smiles and brimming enthusiasm suggest big things for Catwalk 2018.