The University of St Andrews is known throughout the United Kingdom for its ridiculously extravagant party, ball, and fashion show culture. However, this past Friday I had the immense pleasure to attend The Spring Fling – Vintage Fashion Show! which, unlike most, visibly supported a well-known, up-and-coming charity: Dementia Friendly St Andrews. All the proceeds were donated to the charity and it was clear this event was for the entire Fife community, not just the students.
The fashion show was held at Hope and Martyr’s Church on St. Mary’s Place at 19:00, a time which allowed both students and members of the charity to attend. I was incredibly impressed with the thought process that went into choosing the show’s location. They chose the church because of three things: 1) the church’s bright blue carpeted floors were visible for all to see, 2) the seating structure clarified where all exits and entrances were, and 3) the comfortable atmosphere of the building was soothing with flower decorations and strong lighting thanks to large windows. However, these three characteristics of the event’s setting played a role I never would have considered had the woman next to me not mentioned it; everything was dementia friendly, with easy visibility, movement, and a strong sense of understanding where to be at what time. Now, as a student whose grandfather has suffered from dementia for several years, I was shocked by the thought, effort, and dedication the charity’s committee had to make the event allinclusive, and I truly applaud them. They even provided tea and snacks half-way through the event for the families and students attending!
When it came to fashion, Dementia Friendly St Andrews did not disappoint. Never have I seen a collection of vintage clothing quite like it. The show was split into three sections: Daytime, Work, and Evening wear. It was stylish beyond belief and featured several (or shall I say tens) of pieces from our own Maggie Ellis, a professor in the Psychology Department, who even donated her incredibly stunning wedding dress for a model to wear during the evening collection. There were also items donated for display from Vintage Quine, a local vintage shop in Falkland. The daytime and work clothing were simply wonderful. It was a lovely mixture between cute patterned dresses to older items which carried a traditional look with thicker material, and more defined waistline, and knee-length skirts. Overall, the clothing was lovely and I am already making plans to visit Vintage Quine after exams!
The only aspect of the show I feel the need to critique was the untimely appearance of Dementia Friendly St Andrews’ guest performer. The committee was forced to think on their feet when their entertainment, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, failed to show up until almost thirty minutes after their designated time. While their performance was good and their singer incredibly impressive, the mistake on the society’s part was extremely noticeable. However, I am happy to say this mistake did not reflect poorly on the show itself.
Overall, my experience at The Spring Fling – Vintage Fashion Show! was wonderful. I had the pleasure of talking to a few committee members before the show and they both agreed that their event was created specifically for the students and families in Fife who are or knows someone affected by Dementia. It was an all-inclusive community event and I simply cannot wait for next year’s fashion show, as I will most definitely be buying a ticket.