The St Andrews Charity Fashion Show, since its beginnings 28 years ago, has become a staple to many of our social calendars. It comes as no surprise to us students when the majority of our budgets are blown on the fashion show seasons here at St Andrews, all with the hopes that each committee delivers the quality we were all promised. No less was expected from FS2020’s Playhaus, having previously exceeded all expectations in terms of their production value and quality of fashion. So, come 15 February, crowds were gathering to see what was in store for us.
Walking into Lower College Hall, a venue we all know too well, the runway set up made it nearly unrecognisable. With Standard, VIP and Corporate sectioned off with bars set up for all, it didn’t take much time for the crowds to start filling in. Despite the chaos of trying to find everyone’s respective tables, guests had soon begun to help themselves to the bottles of champagne and snacks allocated to Standard and VIP, crowding the runway, eagerly waiting for the show to start.
It was difficult to predict the style of this year’s show, considering the unique creative direction Playhaus took while incorporating FS’s new sustainability initiative the committee has been dedicated to implement in their operations. In expressing the different themes, Playhaus presented different rooms; Sunshine Terrace, Green Room, Candy Lounge, and Heather Hall, as forms of escapism we’re all guilty of indulging in. These were uniquely presented through varying lighting and music, with projections of each of these forms of escapism. When considering the aesthetic aspects involved with this, the videography was so well executed and reflected the core aspects each theme intended to illustrate. These creative measures show the attention to detail, all made possible with the extensive efforts on the committee’s part.
On top of this, the selection of designers was impressive – especially in regard to their sustainable designs, which featured bold dresses much like those made of Lays crisp packets and upcycled plastics. These designs, not only proving to be crowd pleasers, had further explored the means by which the fashion industry can innovate to avoid the detrimental impacts it can have on the environment – an idea the committee had aimed to highlight.
In terms of the execution, the choreography was remarkable, and though there were a few missteps, the models continued to carry themselves with a sense of professionalism that would not have been expected in a collegiate level fashion show. Moreover, the set list allocated to the performances – particularly in the group choreography – and Alex Mills’s performance during the intermission, left people struggling to tear themselves away from the stage, despite expressing their dire needs to refresh their drinks, having polished off their bottles of champagne.
As the committee stormed the runway to the applause they so rightfully deserve, signalling the end of the show, most guests clear out to continue to fuel their boozy night in preparation for the Afterparty. With enough time to grab refreshments from the array of vendors at the venue, guests had soon flocked back for Weiss’s outstanding performance. Having attended the FS Afterparty for the last few years, this year had seemed to trump them all! The atmosphere after seeing the models and committee members breathe a sigh of relief and join the fun they worked relentlessly to give us, made for an incredible end to a commendable show.
Though this event was created as a means to escape our everyday lives through video, photography and performance, it is important to note the primary philanthropic intent that the St Andrews Charity Fashion Show was founded on. With Fashion Revolution as this year’s charitable partner, the committee strived to contribute to their initiative to emphasise the importance of sustainably sourced, produced, and consumed clothing to deviate from the problematic design practices in today’s fashion industry. With the help of their generous sponsors, FS has continued to donate to such pressing causes, now surpassing the sum of £500,000 over the years.
With only a few minor slips, FS continues their streak, maintaining their title as one of St Andrews’ most prestigious events, with their interpretation of Playhaüs!