DONT WALK (DW) is a student-run charity fashion show that values sustainability, diversity, and equality. It was originally founded after the horrific events of 9/11. Ava Harriri-Kia, DW alumni stated in her interview with VOGUE. “Our main goal since our inception was, and still is, to create an impact. We were founded on the principle of not walking past problems, endeavoring to fight against them instead.” They have now become one of the largest fashion shows in the United Kingdom, and their efforts since 2001 have amounted to a whopping £300,000, which has been given back to international and domestic communities.
Their charities of choice this year are ‘Custom Collaborative’ and ‘Impact Arts’, which was made clear throughout the event as their donation website was being actively promoted. “Custom Collaborative is an entrepreneurship and workforce development program based in New York, that empowers women from low-income and immigrant communities in over 20 countries to launch careers in sustainable fashion.” And, “Impact Arts is a Scottish organization that uses the arts to promote social change across all ages.” Their charity choices reflect how art can be used in many helpful ways and was clearly broadcasted in BABEL.
DONT WALK Charity Fashion Show has become one of the first groups to dominate the St Andrews’ virtual event scene. Even with everyone spread apart, DW has continued to host multiple online events, which have raised hundreds of pounds for amazing causes. Their experience from last year has aided them in creating the best music environment yet. DONT WALK has continued to have a strong appreciation for the diversity of music as well as its history. Reflected on their Facebook, they state that we must, “recognize the indebtedness we owe to Black culture for many of the sounds we play. From techno to reggae to jazz, Black culture has created these sounds, many which have been repurposed by and attributed to famous white artists today.” Their continuous advocacy brought much needed attention to how important it is to give credit to and consider the origins of the music we all love to listen and dance to.
‘DW MUSIC | BABEL’ is their first virtual music event of this semester. The word babel means “a confused noise made by a number of voices.” I felt that the name of the event itself was symbolic. The DJs, despite the chaos and confusion of the pandemic still maintained their distinctive sound. What I loved most about this virtual event is that it prioritized audience engagement. There was constant activity in the chats, as well as active promotion of the donation website. Their goal for this event was to simply have people forget the confusion of life by dancing it away. The goal was achieved as the DJs and viewers seemed to truly enjoy themselves. This event should remind us all that even though we may be miles apart, music can still bring us together.