This year, FS proved to us its worthiness as a St Andrews staple event in its ability to bounce back with a fervour after last year’s blustery debacle. It is fair to say, through no fault of FS, the circumstances of last year’s show left everyone feeling disappointed and the event was underwhelming due to many guests bailing on the show and getting refunds for their tickets. This year, however, the hype was back with a vengeance as everyone was even more excited to attend, myself included. As a second year, having never attended the event before I was especially glad to be attending this year and I was initially struck by the fact this was a student-run event due to its magnitude, the lighting, music and choreography. Subsequently, it was no surprise to me that FS is hailed as one of the most successful student-run events in the UK. The show ran smoothly and professionally.
The theme of the show this year was Fracture which was adhered to very well. The monochromatic opening of the show was particularly striking, as was the split runway, that allowed several models to walk down together and split off at the other end, increasing dynamism and also visibility – guests had more space to stand and therefore, could also get a closer look at the fashion. In fact, the décor and the whole layout of the event was carefully considered. I particularly enjoyed walking in to the marquee on Lower College Lawn through a walkway clad with black drapes and small lights on the ceiling. This worked well as it created an exciting atmosphere upon entering the main part of the marquee and also cleansed guests’ minds while entering, in preparation for the show.
We must not forget the charity that the 2018 Annual St Andrews Fashion Show was in aid of. The Anna Freud National Centre for Families and Children based throughout the UK provides specialised mental health support for children and their families. They bring together leaders in neuroscience, mental health, social care and education to work together to improve the quality, accessibility, and effectiveness of treatment. You can check out more on their website: https://www.annafreud.org.
FS was founded in a small town, but that didn’t prevent the presence of some big-name designers on the runway. The show featured a wide range of designers such as Paul Smith, Brora, Rupert Sanderson, Smart Turnout and Walker Slater, to name a few. Part of the beauty of this student-run and professional fashion show is that it gives lesser known, young designers a platform to gain recognition for their work.
Also featured was the Young Designer Award winner of 2018, Ruth Williams, who, when interviewed about her designs, discussed how her collection “explores the themes of Fracture and Renewal by questioning the physical nature of clothing in an emotional and practical sense. This collection celebrates both the strength and vulnerability of the materials we wear. The collection is made largely from recycled canvas tents, their sturdiness and clever design contrasted by beautiful unravelling knitwear prints, with the yarns fracturing and untangling over the body.” Ruth’s designs were a highlight of the show due to their innovative creativity, sustainability and careful consideration of the show’s theme.
After the show came the afterparty, which gave everyone an opportunity to let loose, especially the models who after months of gruelling workouts in the gym and stringent meal plans could finally let their hair down and also get exciting feedback from the show. (Personally, it’s hard to pass up a Big Mac, so the discipline of the models does not go unnoticed.) The FS committee brilliantly capitalised on the available space for the event, the marquee on Lower College Lawn not looking giant from the outside but providing room for everything we needed.
Is this event pretentious? Maybe. Is it expensive? Certainly. At tickets starting at £75 per person, with no food provided and limited amounts of champagne, is it worth it? It depends on who you ask. Did it do good things for my self-esteem? If anything, I feel like I need to hit the gym. However, despite any misgivings one may have, will the event continue selling year after year, raising impressive amounts of money for charity? Definitely. FS has added yet another year of success to the books as it will undoubtedly continue to be a hallmark St Andrews event.
All photos by Lightbox St Andrews.