With VS’s fashion show just around the corner, I interviewed co-founders Dominic Reynolds and Sagar Kumar on how VS started, the aim for the initiative and what guests can expect from this year’s show.
VS began in November 2018 when Dominic and Sagar saw a gap in the events being offered in St Andrews. With no hip-hop events running, Dominic and Sagar decided to host a house party featuring back-to-back hip hop artists. Originally called Versus Music, what started out as a house party with no speaker and no DJ quickly expanded into what is now a staple of the St Andrews University experience.
In 2019 VS expanded, holding their first event at Mamacita. In their final year they sought “to create something that would last longer than us”, sparking the idea for once again filling a gap in the fashion scene in St Andrews by creating a fashion show incorporating hip-hop and streetwear. In 2020, their vision came to fruition with the fashion show gathering much of students’ attention and interest. Today, VS has become an ingrained part of St Andrews culture like many of the other events that make the St Andrews social calendar unique such as BPM, Polo, FS and Don’t Walk.
Throughout our interview, Sagar and Dominic highlighted that VS is not just a fashion show. During the year they have held music-based events and pop-up stores focusing on upcycled and thrifted fashion. The multi-faceted nature of the organization will be reflected in the show with dance featuring prominently throughout the show as well as a local graffiti artist’s pieces at the venue.
When asked what guests can expect from the show and afterparty, Sagar and Dominic highlighted the musical and artistic element of the show that is “designed to be loud, striking and make a statement”. With this being VS’s second fashion show, the creative aspect will feature more heavily. As recounted by Dominic, “first year was about making the show happen, but now that the processes are in place, we have had the freedom to delve more into the fashion and get artists and dancers involved”.
This year VS will be supporting two charities, Black Minds Matter and Choose Love. Choose Love was the charity VS partnered with in their first year. With the fashion show now being at a bigger scale, the organization saw the opportunity to make a greater impact. This year, they will also be partnering with Black Minds Matter for their important work with mental health. Black Minds Matter was chosen by the team for its values in supporting the black community which created the culture VS seeks to showcase.
In addition to charity, Sagar and Dominic have strived to make VS about inclusivity and sustainability. As such, they have ensured that all those that applied are now involved in the VS team. They have also sought to promote sustainability not only the responsible management of the organization but also in the promotion of upcycle, second-hand clothing, going against the tide of fast fashion.
With both Dominic having graduated and Sagar about to graduate I was interested to find out what direction they hoped VS would take once they left as co-founders. Sagar said that VS ‘was like our child and now it is turning 18 and it is time to go to college’ so for them these past years have been about implementing a system of management and values as the core of VS. Dominic added that they hoped VS would become ‘a vehicle for good’ that can continue long after they have left St Andrews as a ‘platform for creativity’.
With the show happening this Thursday at Falside Mill, the event is bound to be an exciting night of dance, fashion and music!