Photo: Catwalk

Catwalk Struts Its Stuff

Zoe Spirgel reviews RAG Week’s annual fashion show.

Catwalk is a phenomenally underrated addition to the St Andrews fashion scene. In 2017, the brand has been reimagined, hitting the public with a strong message of individuality, personality, and modernity. With models of all different shapes, sizes, and ethnicities, Catwalk is truly a fashion show of the people, giving a realistic yet tasteful interpretation of contemporary fashion. The concept behind this year’s show was Undergrowth, an exploration of the UK grime scene.

AJ Brennan, director of Catwalk 2017, says: “Through the mediums of fashion and photography, we hope to deconstruct ideas of success, celebrity, and luxury.” With a wide range of outfits from classy and sleek, to edgy and bold, Catwalk covered­ all bases. Having models pick their own clothes, Catwalk is unique in encouraging their models to not only be part of the artwork, but to be artists themselves. 

Catwalk donates 100% of its proceeds to charity and last year £10,000 was raised. This year, Catwalk will be donating the revenue from the show to three charities at the local, national and international level: Frontline Fife Homelessness Services, Anthony Nolan, and Women for Women UK International. Steering clear of monotony and mainstream trends, Catwalk used a wide range of designers, ranging from Scottish designers to even charity shop inspired fashion. 

Photo: Catwalk

On the night of the show, crowds flooded into Club 601, promptly greeted by a complimentary gin & tonic. Audience members dressed in clothing ranging from edgy black body suits, to red cocktail dresses, to even jeans and heels. Before the show started, the audience milled around enjoying the photo booth constructed out of magazine clippings and Vogue inspired advertisements that gave the scene an edgy city setting. As the audience waited for the show to begin, DJ Tanya Krotovskaya, entertained the crowd with incredible, upbeat, indie rock, style music. A comfortable yet intriguing atmosphere was set, making the show seem less intimidating to the audience. Because the venue decorations were very toned down, the music was essential for its success and truly made the show. 

Another important factor to take note of is the backdrop of a photo montage, playing on repeat behind the DJ booth on stage. Throughout the show, the screen played an ongoing loop of 80s fashion shoots, displaying different cities and sites, and overall showed average people walking, smiling on street corners, and purely living. This photo montage set the stage for what was to come: a show filled with life, reality, and personality. By showing photos from past fashion shows, news events, and everyday life, an element of relatability yet awe was impressed upon the audience, making them appreciate the style and “grime” theme of the show.

Photo: Catwalk

The clothing in the 2017 Catwalk fashion show was truly exquisite, stunning, and tastefully done. The models first took the stage with either a full face of glittery makeup or a black line drawn across their face. A smoke screen flooded the stage as the models walked out – powerful, poised, and planned. The uncanny precision in their movements was reflective of the preparation put into the opening number.

The thought and planning behind the outfits and their order within the show was evident, as well, through the constant theme of contrast. While some models would come out in minimalist, street inspired outfits, the next models to walk would be wearing zebra and floral printed personally shirts. This change and contrast of styles perfectly accentuated the theme of individuality while keeping the audience on their toes, not anticipating what would come next.

From models dressed in matching sports bras, leggings, and tennis shoes, to barefoot men clad in Calvin Klein boxers, to an array of kilts, many different styles, trends, and genres were portrayed throughout the show. As the models strutted onto the stage, the level of confidence, originality, and overall joy was clear in each of their faces. Some models even danced their way through the runway, with first year model Hannah Raleigh dropping it to the floor in stiletto heels and third year George Kakas hitting the dab in the middle of his walk.

Photo: Catwalk

Overall, it showed that these models were students too, not taking themselves too seriously and merely walking for a good time. Screaming fans practically dived on stage in awe of model Andrew Meaney, holding up signs and clawing at his legs as he walked past them on the runway. The humour and playfulness of the models truly added to the audience’s entertainment and had the crowd clapping, dancing, screaming, and singing along with the music.

Midway through the show, Asian-inspired outfits took the audience’s breath away. These beautifully designed floral printed silk pants, with a clear accentuated button-downed, wrap tops, were truly show stopping. Though the kimono inspired outfits were by far the crowd favourite, the lingerie section was a close second. Having models strut out on stage wearing skimpy bras, underwear, and high heels, all different body types were championed and welcomed. All the models appeared confident in themselves, making this portion of the show a pleasure to watch and fangirl over.

Photo: Catwalk

The show was incredible. There were, however, some pitfalls – including the 30-minute intermission portion, the show itself was close to two hours. With over 100 people standing around a crowded stage in high heels and scarily tight dresses, this was a bit too long. The show could also have done with a little less of the plain sweatshirt, and t-shirts section. The casual look seemed a bit too understated considering the bold and striking pieces that would come later. Additionally, some of the graphic t-shirts and outfit combos (such as the unicorn jumper or the pineapple suit) were a bit too “out-there” and strange to really resonate with the crowd. With these sections cut, the show would have run a bit smoother.

Catwalk 2017 was an unbelievable fashion show filled with Vogue aspects, daring new styles, and St Andrews personality. The crowd and models had the time of their lives, dancing, drinking, and eating the night away. We all should look forward to what Catwalk 2018 will bring.

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