The fashion shows at the University of St Andrews are some of the most unique and recognized organizations. Over the years, each group has created stunning visual performances that highlight up-and-coming designers across all genres and demonstrate the skill of our peers. In attending these shows, we not only see the incredible organization and commitment of student directors, we also see ourselves represented on stage through their casts of student models. But how do they go about building their modeling teams?
The process itself is not as straight forward as you may believe. For all of the St Andrew fashion community, the process involves looking at photos, scouting and multiple levels of interviews. In St Andrews, modeling auditions are a student model’s first exposure to the fashion show scene, but a great deal of work has already gone into finding the right people to bring the shows’ creative visions to life.
Danya Bavetta, Don’t Walk’s current creative director, described the process of scouting that he and his creative team underwent in the beginning of the year:
“We decided to go for a kind of mysterious and inconspicuous approach. Basically, what we did was I set up three locations…Taste, Pret and Combini on South Street and we would have shifts of two to three people there at a time doing two-hour shifts looking for models”.
Although scouting launches the process of model casting, the auditions themselves are open to the student body. Despite the challenges of this year, both Don’t Walk and FS found themselves with almost 200 hundred applications, 50 + more applicants than in previous years. So, what do they look for in order to narrow down this group of 200 applicants to a cast of around 20?
“We really wanted to pick people based off personality…because when models are on stage, the best performance that we can give is when people are being themselves…[and] who are very individual,” explained Cate Crossland, Don’t Walkexecutive director. “We don’t even look for one specific look…we want to represent a wide range of people”.
An all-encompassing term, personality goes beyond a person’s visual ascetic. Stella Coulter, executive director for FS, explained that they looked for a sense of confidence and ease in combination with a strong work ethic.
“[Modeling] has a lot to do with pushing yourself out of your comfort zone…so really getting someone that is open to doing different things and is there to have a good time, but really put the effort in is what we were looking for”.
Although neither FS nor Don’t Walk were looking for ‘typical beauty,’ as Bavetta aptly put it, there seemed to be a vested interest in presenting a truthful representation of the students of St Andrews. A variety of backgrounds, personalities, ethnicities, race, and body types are essential to the success of their shows. As Coulter explained, “If people do not see themselves on stage…that has a lot to do with engagement with the show”.
Measuring models for auditions is a thing of the past for most St. Andrews fashion shows. Individuality, originality and personality are the three buzz words for this year’s student models. It is no longer a matter of looking for the ‘right’ body type or look but looking for “A certain type of person” as Danya Bavetta concluded.