Walking into the Sitara* tent, the St Andrews student is met with wonder and amazement. From Indian saris (traditional women’s dress) and kurtas (traditional men’s dress shirts) to Chinese Cheongsam’s and many Asian-inspired robes; the diversity in the audience is already prominent prior to the start of the show. With a mingling of Asian culture and black cocktail dresses, the sense of community is captured through fashion alone. This feeling of acceptance and comfort translate into the expression of the audience: resulting in many pantsuits outfits and bindis, not seen at any other fashion show.
After guests had mingled, enjoying the crepe stand, the free popcorn, and Afrodysia, the show began. Having a theme of “This is My Rang”, the first half of the show was apparently colder, shown through the more conservative fashions styles with less of a colour palette, showcasing mainly darker greys, blues, blacks, greens, and white. The first models to appear strut on stage, solemn, posed, and pensive, sporting a dark blue oversized fur coat.
Following the opening understatement, the audience was kept on their toes with a sequence of abstract dresses. With patchwork blue, green, and grey silk and cloth material, the designer was able to create optical illusions, perplexing the audience. Some of the abstract dresses were very low cut, seeming almost as someone had chopped off a stitch or two creating an edgy street style appearance. Leila Rose Allan, an up-and-coming London based designer, took over the show designing incredible women’s dress tops. These tops really spoke to the audience, making people turn to their friends and say “Yeah, I would wear that!” Everything from the red velvet suit jackets to the blue suede was funky and hot, giving off a unique twist to a fancy night out.
Mirka was the next designer to hit the stage, showcasing a number of formal wear outfits. Shortly after being semi-upstaged by the men, the women brought it home: strutting on to stage in gorgeous wedding gowns. The most astounding of the gowns was a statement dress with a corset torso and a structured, feathered flare.
Having ended the first half of the show on a high note, the models took a twenty-minute break. Coming back from the intermission, the audience was hit with a surprise: the latter portion of the show had begun. The difference in the first in second half of the show was not only evident through the increased usage of vibrant colours (turquoise, magenta, yellow, gold), but also through the body language of the models. While before the models seemed to be showing off the clothes simply as articles to be analysed and taken in, they now seemed to add personality and character into their outfits.
On Sitara*’s website, there is a gallery of photos, detailing each model and colours of significance to them. This was cleverly incorporated in the second half of the show, seen through the colour of traditional Asian outfits each model was wearing. The Sitara* committee intentionally dressed each model in a variety of colour to express the diversity and inclusivity of the show.Dancing on stage, smiling from ear to ear, models rocked patterned Saris, Kurtas, and Sherwanis (men’s button down, trench like jacket). From stunting threes piece Saris, studded with rhinestones and accented yellow designs, to maroon Sherwani outfits: the audience went crazy. Even some of the male Kurtas and Sherwani outfits were studded with rhinestones, giving them an exotic, beautiful, and rare contrast to the previous Euro-American style evening jackets and pantsuits.
The most eye-catching of the traditional outfits was the pantsuit combo of a mint green long women’s top with purple accented, silk pants, studded at the bottom with an array of jewels. As Sitara* stated on their platform: “Our fashion show aims to display the beauty and elegance of South Asian culture, whilst also celebrating the fusion of cultures that is heavily present in our university.” They succeeded without a wavering doubt.
Ending with the traditional Asian-inspired fashion, the audience felt an embracement of culture, and originality. The styles, messages, and concepts portrayed throughout Sitara* are unlike those of any other fashion show. With audience members evidently taking risks and embracing their own cultures through pantsuits, Sherwanis, Kurtas, turbans, and Saris, the rigidity and coldness of the fashion world is deconstructed and disassembled. The atmosphere of acceptance and fusion, seen through the Bollywood music mixed with current pop singles, students from all walks of life felt included in the event. With the bagpipes and dhol combination at the end of the show, all students, models, and audience members alike felt connected and proud of the styles and perceptions being championed.