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Olga Alonso Blanco reviews the Streetwear X Hip-Hop collective's ethereal tribute to Virgil Abloh.

The students of St Andrews rejoice at the news: a series of fresh events to dominate the FIXR links and adorn our evenings. Fashion show season is indeed upon us, and we just can't get enough. The VS23 fashion show ‘DREAMHOUSE’ ambitiously seeks to set itself apart from the crowd, proclaiming an avant-garde fusion of art and fashion to create a transcendental, immersive experience for all those eager to attend (and willing to splurge £54).

Ready to finally “rediscover my dreams”, I dutifully threw on my white attire and jumped on the bus to Falside Mill. These buses seemed to defy all laws of time and space, and dropped us off at what seemed to parallel a Shoreditch pop up locale in all of 15 minutes. After collecting our gift bags and a quick yet stern negotiation on why it was only fair to switch the precious gifted lighter for the Haribo Starmix penetrating the gift bags of the less fortunate, we marched onto the scene.

VS’ description of a “high standard of entertainment” was self-proclaimed but not inaccurate. The venue glittered with allusions to Virgil Abloh, the esteemed fashion designer and “true renaissance man” who inspired the fashion and theme of the night. The show itself boasted a gleaming set-up of flamboyant lighting, which worked to maintain a mystical ambience as promised.

Guests were completely enchanted as they crowded around the catwalk. However, they did not stay quiet for long. The show opened at full swing with performers pulling apart the masses, breaking into an energetic dance amidst the clouds onstage. The crowd cheered and the music boomed louder, an energy vigorously ascending as the dancers made way for the models.

Aspiring to be “recontemporary”, the fashion showcased the vanguard of modern streetwear brands. It visibly surrounded the notion of identity, breaking boundaries of gender to effectively promote their pillar of inclusivity through the traces of makeup enhancing the outfits. Striving for innovation, the style ruptured from the usual St Andrews waves parading down Market Street (apart, perhaps, from the stylish regulars at Taste). It clearly resonated with a particular scope of students, and all those who attended fearlessly engaged with the show.

Music from rapper Kwákz – a new pioneer of the London underground rap scene – kept the event on-brand and dynamic. His sound, which was characterised by variety, aligned with the philosophy of self-expression that dominated the event. His performance was representative of the London streetwear culture and integrated seamlessly with the models walking the show.

Three key values formed the basis of the annual Streetwear x Hip-Hop Charity Fashion Show: transparency, sustainability, and inclusivity. The committee marketed this to reach the attendees prior to and throughout the show. The theme of ‘DREAMHOUSE’, however, left a great deal of ambiguity. When asking a member of the creative committee for a remark on the event, he very appropriately replied with “insert quote here”, which had been a recurring motif of the night.

The afterparty offered a promising night of music, tarot reading, and free Jannettas ice cream. Truly a dream: for all those who could reach it. The 11pm afterparty buses did not fill up, leaving many guests scrambling for taxis to the venue. This added £15-20 to the starter £16 ticket and delayed the flocks of afterpartyers patiently waiting to dance it out. The first bus back to St Andrews only started making its way back at 1am, resulting both in a tiring end to the night and a packed crowd fighting for space.

Further, for an event that preached sustainability and the meticulous care over fashion and clothing, the end of the night saw our coats tossed in piles on the floor. The lack of a proper cloakroom meant that many coats were misplaced or left unfound. In that regard, some people left with less fashion than they arrived with.

Aside from covering the costs of the evening, VS Creatives will be donating 100% of profits from the evening to Sarcoma UK and the Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund, which provides support for black students in pursuit of fashion careers.

Altogether, despite some logistical slip ups, the committee visibly crafted the show through profound principles, which are scattered throughout the fashion, message, and overall aura. The queue of long-awaited St Andrews fashion shows has a steep path to follow.

Photos: Violeta Vigo

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