Social Media Editor Cate Casalme Reviews DONT WALK Charity Fashion Show 2019.
From that infamous Kate Middleton dress to the exclusive black audition cards handed out during Freshers Week, there was just no way of not knowing about DONT WALK, first year or not.
However, for those of you who have somehow slipped through the cracks, according to their website, DONT WALK (est. 2001) is “one of the most prestigious student run charity fashion shows in the United Kingdom”. Their entire mission statement can be summarised by their desire to make an impact — their ambiguous name symbolises the aim to not walk past their problems but to fight against them. DONT WALK uses their fashion show and its arts influence to “influence the discourse of political affairs and daily events”.
No one can deny that from the get-go the 2018-2019 academic year has been a bit tough on the DONT WALK committee. There were rumours that that their charity status was set to be revoked, whispers about the committee going bankrupt, and criticism for its lack of size inclusivity and its strict adherence to the conventional. Then, misfortune compounded as the infamous Scottish winds struck, and, on the day of the show, right at the last second, DONT WALK had to announce its postponement of the show.
However, for all their obstacles, the committee must be given kudos for being able to turn it all around. In my books, and, as I interviewed many others, the event was a success.
The week of the event had a bit of a rocky start. Postponing created an air of confusion surrounding the event and guests had more questions than there were answers. Class Facebook groups saw countless DONT WALK ticket listings, with people slashing the price down by often times more than half the original. People who stuck with their ticket were confused as to when to pick them up, others were struggling with assignments, and I spotted some students coming straight from a test.
After the fiasco with the tent, the DONT WALK committee made the sensible switch to a proper building. This year’s venue was the Bowhouse farm in St Monans — which, for people who think that the 20 minute walk to the science buildings is long, moaned about the 30 minute bus ride the the small town on the underside of Fife. However, people were quick to quiet their criticisms when they looked out the window at the unquestionably stunning Scottish countryside, and thus the journey was quite pleasant. We arrived to a rustic farmhouse, and probably what is my favourite venue to date. The main room held a three pronged-esque stage with the DJ booth right in the middle, creating an inner area for VIP guests, and a balcony above the entrance for corporate guests. On the stage, the lights formed the iconic “DW” and encased it in ambience of red. A side room contained three food trucks with picnic tables to eat. Drinks were easily accessible with two smaller bars in the main room, and one large bar in the side room.
If you spent the extra cash to get on VIP (on top of the already £90 standard ticket), VIP guests were treated to complimentary champagne and a chance to get settled in their exclusive VIP area. Standard ticket holders came in about 20 minutes later, and soon the venue was buzzing with excitement. DONT WALK as a whole was impressive — the lights and tech went off without a hitch; the models came out, completely acing their choreography, and the hair and make-up team completely stunned with the fierce looks. For everyone, it was completely evident how hard every member of the show worked, with every audience member being blown away by the production.
DONT WALK felt more intimate and casual, in the best way possible, as the DJ passed a bottle of prosecco to walking models, a JUUL being passed from guest to DJ, and models quickly grabbing the hands of screaming guests on the sidelines. The fashion itself was more streetwear, with attendees noting that they would actually wear these outfits. For me, the intimacy of DONT WALK that might have originally appeared to be a problem was part of what made it so successful successful. Everything was easier and faster- no lines to the bar or the bathroom. The event was more comfortable to be a part of, less overwhelming and way easier to find people in.
DON’T WALK was probably one of my favourite events this year. I’m completely amazed by how the committee managed to recover and pull together such a stunning event. For many of the guests, the delay was completely worth it. However, was it worth the £90+ tickets? (To be quite honest, outside of the St Andrews bubble, is any student event worth that?) Sure! — if you have the money to spend. But the real winners of the event, were those who bought relisted tickets at half the price.