St Andrews is widely known across the UK for its impressive fashion shows put on by students. There are several student-involved organizations that orchestrate fashion shows in St Andrews. CATWALK is one such organization–entirely student-run and 100% non-profit. CATWALK donates its proceeds to three University-nominated charities, which this year include LoveOliver, Shelter Scotland, and International Justice Mission. As such, CATWALK’s ticket sales for its annual fashion show go to the three charities.
On Thursday night, the Union was abuzz with excitement for CATWALK’s highly anticipated annual fashion show. The theme for 2022 is UNCOVER, described by CATWALK as “a behind-the-scenes exploration of the fashion industry that questions what it is showing us and why,” celebrating the antithesis of fast-fashion of the modern age: “slow-fashion” and sustainability. CATWALK prides themselves on their promotion of local talent, showcasing local designers and creating outfits thrifted from various charity shops around St Andrews as well as a few high street brands.
Upon entering Club 601, I was greeted with a Four Loko, a free gift for the first 240 guests entering the show, and secured my spot near the catwalk. Looking around, everyone had certainly dressed for the event. From chic and sleek all-black outfits to colorfully dyed beards and thigh-highs, a celebration of fashion of all styles was certainly at the forefront of all attendees’ minds. After watching the behind-the-scenes videos playing on either side of the walls of 601 for a few minutes, the curtains parted revealing the headlining DJ, Tim, subsequently followed by models in their signature CATWALK black puffer jackets.
Now, the show has really begun. Model after model came onto the stage, showcasing beautifully crafted outfits from designers like Glasgow-based Chiara Jack whose leather jacket with red weaving instantly impressed. Other designers’ collections made societal statements like Lucy Goodall’s that protests against sexual abuse and assault. Her long, pink puffer donns phrases like “my identity was taken but I am fighting” and “I want to be heard.” This collection is evidence of CATWALK’s desire to highlight not only designers and their creativity and talent but also social issues that require attention. Fashion, in this way, is an act of expression, an act which CATWALK celebrates. The show continued showcasing designers, from colorful, extravagant designs like Emily Robbins’ multicolored collection to toned-down but intriguing streetwear like Kirsty Lenihan’s blue and mustard coats. Throughout the show, I was continually in awe of the designers CATWALK modeled. They even threw in outfits thrifted from local St Andrews charity shops like Oxfam and British Heart Foundation as well as lingerie from the brand Honey-Birdette.
After a brief intermission, the CATWALK committee facilitated an auction of various items and vouchers. Following the auction, the show continued, showcasing more breathtaking designs. The show concluded with the models returning to the stage in outfits from various designers from various parts of the show. A mass of fashion and color overtook the stage as the models commenced the show with a choreographed routine. The CATWALK committee members even joined the fun, dancing with the models on the runway. The show ended as a celebration of fashion of all kinds from many designers, displaying just how vast CATWALK’s designer network is and their ability to uplift many designers in the fashion industry.
The show then devolved into the after-party in 601 with two more DJ’s throughout the night and another in the Main Bar. While I did not stay long into the after-party, if the energy was anything similar to that of the crowd and the models during the show, I am positive it was a blast.
Overall, the CATWALK 2022 show was filled with impressive clothes by their equally impressive designers. With models of various heights, weights, and ethnicities, CATWALK’s looks truly embodied and celebrated the diverse students of St Andrews, reminding us that fashion is a joining force. The artistry displayed at CATWALK was admirable, rejecting fast fashion and showing that even charity shop clothes can be high-fashion. All said, CATWALK 2022–UNCOVER certainly achieved its goal of “[championing] creativity and philanthropy,” and I hope it continues to do so for years to come.