“So it’s an actual fashion show. And also kind of like a ball. But more of a performance art kind of thing, really it’s just an experience.”
So went my conversation with an American friend from high school, with me attempting to explain the institution which is FS. To those outside the world of elite UK universities, it can be difficult to grasp the exact gravity of what a student run fashion show actually entails. Those words alone can paint an immediate mental picture of a low-budget, perhaps heartfelt affair in which students model student designed clothing. The reality is so much more than this. The grandeur and class with which FS, the highlight of the fashion show season, is organised and calibrated with is hard to fathom – even as a fourth year. The professional dedication and long-term commitment of the organisers to the orchestration of this massive event is clear to see in the culmination of months of hard work – FS.
Surprising no one, the twenty-eighth iteration of FS was once again a smashing success. With more than two thousand guests filling a marquee on Lower College Lawn, all dressed in their most fashionable raiments – with a great diversity of fits reflecting each guests individual taste, the much hyped event kicked off. This years theme, ’Playhaus’, was cohesively reflected throughout the event with the marquee being split into four separate rooms with distinct vibes – Sunshine Terrace, Green Room, Candy Lounge, and Heather Hall. The bright pastel colours which had tied all promotional marketing elements together leading up to the event lit the tent and conveyed a palpable playful feeling. I personally enjoyed the aesthetic of the bright colours; both complementing the venue and playing their own role in the show, being physically held by models in some portions of the show. Some guests did mention that the lighting was so intense at points that it was a bit anxiety inducing, however I did not experience this. Worth noting as well were the music and sound-editing throughout the night, it was evident that much work and consideration had been dedicated to it – the result being effortless transitions and memorable introductions.
This year, FS took their title as a charity fashion show to the next level. Supporting Fashion Revolution, a charity fighting the human cost of fashion, the organisers of FS posited their entire operation towards supporting sustainability and addressing the role of the fashion industry plays in modern problems such as climate change. From eliminating single-use plastics to utilising e-discount codes in the goodie bag (eliminating paper waste), the whole event was considerately calibrated with the goal of eco-friendliness and renewability in mind. Organisers encouraged guests to not buy new clothes and at least 40% of the collections in the show were produced as a result of sustainable design practices, including zero-waste and upcycling. Additionally noted was that 100% of the men’s lingerie and 50% of the women’s lingerie was entirely sustainable. Aside from appreciating their efforts as a human who enjoys living in a functioning environment, as a guest, it was very interesting to see renewable fashion as represented by things such as a dress made of crisp packets.
This alone, the concerted dedicated to theme and goal, would be enough in my book to constitute a successful event. However, as to be expected by an event which has been a landmark on the St Andrews event calendar for more than a quarter century, the night was a total success when it comes to guest satisfaction. No notable missteps stick out to me, in a night filled with superb fashion provided by names such as Clawdi, Alice Pons, Ripa Ripa, and Walker Slater, capped off with a rowdy performance by WEISS. Mineral water and prosecco abounded, a mood of excitement and pride filled the tent.
Taking a step back, it is somewhat astounding that such a professional, notable and trendy event is so routinely and gracefully put on. We should not take for granted the talent and fashion which is brought to our little town every fashion season. All this grandeur is achieved with an attitude of social-awareness, understanding of wielded power and impact on the world outside of Fife. I thank the organisers for their dedication and social consciousness, the community of St Andrews and the world are better for the operation of FS.