The Rise of the Don’t Walk Empire

In 2001 a new student run fashion show graced the St Andrews fashion scene. Founded by a group of multicultural students as a direct response to the 9 / 11 terror attacks. Youthful and innovative, the show intended to encapsulate the cosmopolitan nature of New York City, defiant in the face of a tragedy. From this noble beginning one of the most anticipated events in the St Andrew’s calendar flourished. But what we can expect from the fashion show powerhouse this year?

On the day of their launch party, 3rd November, a video titled ‘Progress/Regress’ was released marking the latest DW theme. The message from the Creative Director, Tiphaera Ziner Cohen explained, “The core of DONT WALK is made of two pillars,” one to draw awareness and the other to raise funds for their chosen charity. In this year’s theme, DW aims to encourage the awareness and debate of the global community. To explore whether the, ‘progress,’ in the 21 century is actually progress or whether we are regressing.


So how will we see this theme develop over the year? Don’t Walk’s Marketing director Paula Murmann explains that “after the release of our committee and model introductory shoots, this year’s theme will begin to emerge.” The basic youthful, trendy, innovative tenets that have marked Don’t Walk as one of the best fashion show in St Andrews, will be in abundance. But as always it would not be Don’t Walk if they were to rest on these laurels. Head of Press Natasha Franks adds “our creative director Tiphaera Ziner Cohen has ensured that, as always, the show will have a fresh look for its guests.”

“DONT WALK intends to raise the bar with every show, and this year will be no different.” Is a statement that I have heard from Don’t Walk’s press every year, and I have to say, in my four years here they have stood and delivered. Don’t Walk offers one of the only fashion universes were you will find a jawdropping mix of established and emerging designers. Over the last few years the lucky attendees at the show have been privy to Vivienne Westwood, Lavin and Colleen Allen sauntering down the runway. However, it is the eccentric pieces that Don’t Walk’s fashion team have an amazing eye for selecting. With a knowing twinkle, Paula is happy to point out that ‘This year’s lineup of labels will be no less eclectic than previous years.”

Every year DW chooses a different charity to support, ‘This year we are supporting Salam LADC, which assists and empowers refugee and other vulnerable populations across Lebanon. A group of committee members and models journeyed to Beirut over the winter holiday to provide hands-on help with the charity,’ explains Paula. In addition to this, for the second year in a row, the show will also be supporting the Robin Hood Foundation, a New York charity that supports underprivileged youths.


Last year DW had a number of events in the follow up to the show and this year they plan to continue to do just that. Paula and Natasha explained “our biweekly Vic nights will continue to display the latest sounds to come from DONT WALK Music, our groundbreaking music collective.”

DW always creates a great deal of talk in St Andrew. They have been hard at work with their new video, the relaunching of their website, a regular night at the Vic, their launch event and even a feature in Marie-Clare. I think it would be more accurate to start referring to DW as an empire rather than a fashion show, intent on conquering the St Andrew’s social scene.

Are all these spectacular extras simply a taster for the show itself? Or has DW spread themselves too thin? We’ll have to wait till February to see.


All photos courtesy of DONT WALK