To be a student at St Andrews is to know about the infinite fashion shows that serve as both charity organisations and dominating forces of social life. Freshers’ week is built up in anticipation of FS’ Starfields concert and the next month is filled with model recruitment and auditions followed soon after by a plethora of launches. Once the models are picked and the committees selected, each group must raise money to put on an extravagant show in late winter. Since the money raised for these fashion shows goes to charity at the end of the year, funds are needed to pay for the clothes, venue, lights, labour, and all the work that goes into that one night of fashion. This year, FS’s chosen charity is a repeat: the UK Genetic Alliance, an organisation that supports those affected by rare and undiagnosed genetic conditions.
For students, attending a fashion show is an integral part of the St Andrews experience, but which one do you go to? The tickets can sell for up to £90 per show, so attending more than one or two is usually out of the question. It’s each show’s job to convince students to attend their event rather than one of their competitors. One of the ways in which fashion shows promote and raise money for the show is through their Vic nights. These events typically include a DJ, low-key decorations, a theme, and sometimes a second DJ in the social club for good measure. Committee members are highly encouraged to post these events on their personal accounts because the more tickets sold, the more students buy drinks from the bar which has a minimum spending limit for the event.
The FS2024 Vic on Thursday 5 October, did not feel different from any other night at the Vic, so the £10 ticket felt pricey. Once you climbed the stairs and walked past the Vic photo booth into the main room, there was a singular DJ playing hip-hop and house music. The only decoration was a smoke machine which made the space feel smaller, and, combined with the LED lights, the dance atmosphere was comfortable and vibey. Across the hall in the social club, there was a singular speaker to fill the space with music, but not a second DJ. Students were crowding around the bars desperate for a drink and there were more people sitting in the Social Club booths than usual. Behind the booths, the smoking area was open as per usual, which at the beginning of the evening felt more crowded than the main room. Although doors opened at 10pm and closed at 2am, the crowds started to file in around 12:30. Sometimes, a Vic night can feel claustrophobic but because this event was not sold out there was plenty of space to dance and speak at the bar.
If you are willing to pay the £10, this event was worth it. However, it felt like any other night out, with no indication of the cause behind it or the society running it. It felt as if FS prioritised making money rather than convincing students to attend the show next semester. As we get closer to fashion show season, the Vic will see promotion nights from almost all of the organisations, maybe with decorations, a theme, or fashion-centric elements next time.
Photo: Storie Lynch