The changing face of St Andrews’ favourite boutique…

Summer seems a distant memory. It could be the mild panic as assignments begin to pile up and our book bags get heavier. It is perhaps made all the more distant by the rain, the plummeting temperatures and that uniquely St Andrews wind tunnel-effect that brings an increased risk of wardrobe malfunctions. Carefree days, bare legs and slops aren’t typically associated with October and it just plain hurts to think about summer with winter approaching.

So, that casual fresher opening (after all the other vitals: name, country of origin, subject, tattoos/piercings…etc), ‘what did you do this summer?’ is just not happening anymore. We don’t want to know that you spent the summer at home, watching daytime television.  We don’t want to know you were at the beach the whole time. We just don’t. Yet, maybe, sometimes, we should just ask anyway. You can learn a heck of a lot. So we asked, and we learnt about two amazing women and their business here in St Andrews. Here’s what they did this summer.

Ellen Fox and Ursula Bhut were gallivanting around Scotland in their 1950s’ airstream, visiting all the wettest hottest festivals.

‘We’ve been doing this for a couple of years now, but it just gets more and more exciting’, says Ellen. ‘We especially loved hanging out with ReMade Edinburgh and The Ethic Girls at The Big Tent festival’.

While Ellen and Ursula donned wellies, Siobhan, a Saffer and one of the original T-Dolly models, flew back home to the Seychelles (as you do). In between sun tanning sessions, she met up with one of Seychelles’ up-and-coming photographers, Marsha Dine.

‘Ja-nee, it was just lekker working with Marsha,’ she says. ‘He is not only incredibly talented but a real professional. I told him to go bossies, but asked him for a few picture-perfect postcards to decorate the airstream. He came back three days later and I was just like, jislaiik, yebo gogo! They were just that schweet’.

Whatever she said, then.

They’re all back, joined by Fiona Howat, a recent graduate of St A and big Dr. Who Fan. She’ll be the social media marketing whiz behind the business, not to mention the photographer, salesgirl, visual merchandiser and all-round star.

F&B are back from holiday, and raring to go.

‘We’ve all had fun summers, but there are even more exciting times ahead for the company’, says Ellen. ‘We’re thrilled at the prospect of becoming a social enterprise’.

When Fox & Bhut first began in August 2009, Ellen’s and Ursula’s commitment to a sustainable commercial venture led them to choose an ethical fashion label as their starting point. The company has grown from there, combining a passion for beautiful clothing and a commitment to social and environmental justice.  Their clothing range is truly #eclecticwithethics.

‘Over 90 percent of our stock is ethically sourced, but we want to do more’, says Ursula. ‘We want to be at a 100 percent, showcasing designers who have a reputation not only for quality, innovation and design, but also for ethics, compassion and concern for people and the planet’.

In student parlance: they found themselves again this summer. The appropriate response is: ‘deep, man, deep’.

They’re back in Market Street (opposite Bonkers), so do venture in. F&B would love to chat with you about what’s happening with them, what’s happening with you and pretty much anything under the sun. Oh wait, the sun is no longer in town…. They’ll still talk about pretty much anything, especially gorgeously responsible clothing.

And if it’s raining, you’re bored and stuck in the library then take the conversation online with Twitter. Follow

Ellen: @foxandbhut

Ursula: @foxandbhutoo

Fiona : @FKTH

Siobhan: @TDolllies


Image: Marsha Dine