The St Andrews Charity Fashion Show (FS) is back and ready to celebrate 30 years of the most successful student-run fashion show in Scotland. After having to cancel the 2021 show due to the ongoing pandemic, the FS committee is eager to put on a program to remember. However, this year looks a bit different as there is a new focus, fresh committee and even a different venue!
I sat down with three FS committee members to get the inside look into one of the most iconic St Andrews events: Gemma Borra Paley (Executive Director), Felix Bartlett (Creative Director) and Sophia Do (Corporate Director). This year, they chose the theme ‘Encompassing Environments’ to pay homage to the Scottish culture and natural environment. Felix Bartlett spoke on the importance of Scottish culture in the fashion industry and how after 30 years of operation, FS wanted to highlight the environment that this University calls home:
what we really wanted to do with the theme was to draw it back to Scotland and really focus on that an celebrate as much of the Scottish culture and heritage.
To highlight the variety of the Scottish natural and urban environments, they had editorials located across Scotland in the Highlands, Loch Leven, Old Town Edinburgh, Dundee and the Fife Coastal Path. They even organised a fieldtrip for their models and committee members to the V&A, Scotland’s Design Museum, so that their show can represent the Scottish environment more fully.
In line with the theme, FS has made a conscious effort to hold the environment and sustainability at the forefront of their operations. As of 2020, FS established a Sustainability Team that actively works to promote sustainability education and action through five specific goals: education, transparency, equality, inclusion and impact. In addition to holding discussion panels and programmes, FS has engaged with a reforestation project in the highlands to offset any environmental impacts that they may have. Beyond all of this, FS has even taken sustainability at their show a step further by rebranding the goodie-bags provided, opting for digitally based gifts to minimise waste.
As a charity-based fashion show, FS engages with local charities to raise both money and awareness for the community. As COVID-19 lockdowns brought focus to the issue of domestic abuse, FS chose to partner with FearFree, a gender-informed service for the LGBTQ+ community who work to help victims of domestic abuse. In line with this, the committee is also raising funds for The Joshua Nolan Foundation, which seeks to educate and provide support for those affected by mental health.
Last year we chose domestic abuse because the rates had skyrocketed during the pandemic, and that’s why we did it this year again. But also, it’s in concurrence to the theme. That’s why we also chose to do the forest project because it aligned with Felix’s creative vision of natural environments.
Despite being faced with a myriad of hurdles, for example a novice committee and postponement of the show, Executive Director, Gemma Borra Paley, still discussed the show with unwavering confidence: ‘we’ve never had a show in the spring, and with our theme being Encompassing Environments, I think the theme and the weather will just work really well together. So that will be a new experience for us, but a very exciting one as well!’ Overall, FS has not spared any detail in the preparation for their show and have viewed every bump as an opportunity to improve. If anything, this speaks volumes to the calibre of event that is due to take place in early April. I am beyond excited to see what FS has in store for its guests.
Brief information about the event:
FS2022 will take place on 2 April 2022. There will be an Afterparty ticket release tomorrow, 2 March 2022, and standard ballot/individual tickets will remain on sale. More information about this will be on their Facebook page: https://facebook.com/events/s/fs-2022-encompassing-environme/633396301010138/
The committee is working hard to ensure the safety of its guests at the event. They will be complying with government COVID-19 restrictions as well as offering an increased capacity for social distancing as the new venue is larger than the previous marquis seen in years past.