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Catwalk AURORA

It’s impossible to deny — fashion shows are staples of St Andrews culture. A few glasses of wine down, edgy music thumping, there’s a certain intrigue to fashion for even the most unfashionable St Andrews student (read: me). But sometimes, standing about with your stilettoed feet burning, watching people you don’t know wearing clothes you don’t recognise (and which are so outlandish that you would never be seen dead in), can cause the appeal to fall away fast. 

Luckily, this was not the case at Catwalk’s show AURORA, which took place on Saturday, 9 March at Younger Hall. It certainly took a moment for me to adjust to seeing my usually sedate EN2004 lecture hall transformed into a crowded fashion show venue. The reason for the show’s location was its affiliation with the University’s Charities Campaign. Additionally, altruistically, Catwalk is a 100 per cent non-profit student-run operation. The show’s association with the University means that the ticket price was kept low, sitting at around £25 each. This sets it apart from other shows, as it is a lot more financially inclusive, and for the quality of the entertainment, it felt like an absolute steal.

Playing bangers from the Spice Girls to Wild Cherry, as well as more intense dance tracks, was a DJ whose mixing was seamless. Despite the show’s name, there was actually no catwalk, and the stage was instead utilised well, with creative, and often circular choreography, meaning there was still a lot going on at any given moment.

The fashion show took the format of two halves, with other forms of entertainment in between the outfits. Dancers came on periodically, performing with vigour, and fun challenges, such as a vote on the best outfit found entirely in a charity shop, meant that it was impossible for one to get bored. At the end of the night, bands Verbatim and The Slick gave two very spirited performances which ensured that guests left on a high. 

Much of the time, my issue with fashion shows comes from the solemnity of the models. Who knows if they’re thinking about the next big fashion trend or what they’re going to order at Big Boss after the show? However, in this case, there was a lot of interaction between both models and with the audience. At multiple points, models would twirl around one another or high-five when crossing each other onstage, which was a cute addition. Crowd members held up placards supporting their friends in the show, who sometimes had difficulty not hiding grins as they were shouted to. When one model came out in perhaps the most striking outfit of the whole show, a long sleeve with the bold phrase ‘fucking hot’, multiple audience members yelled back, “Yes you are.” 

This audience participation would never have flown at FS or DONT WALK, but somehow, it was endearing rather than disruptive. In one memorable scene, beach balls were thrown out into the audience while the models wore bikinis and other summer outfits. For little details such as this, the fashion show was a lot of fun for the observer, and for me, taking this particular night sober, I didn’t feel as though my enjoyment was impeded. Maybe I’m not the most diehard fashion fan, but I did appreciate the little details that Catwalk added to create an exciting experience from beginning to end.

Photo: Alex Barnard

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