Updated: Feb 22
Nicole previews the society's biggest and most ambitious event to-date.
What do fashion items made by student designers, an opportunity to wear your formal finest, a silent auction, and a party for a good cause have in common? You can find them all in one place at Sustainable Style St Andrews’ Charity Gala, happening 9 March at Falside Mill. One of Sustainable Style’s biggest and most ambitious events to date, the Charity Gala will feature an exhibition of sustainable fashion and art from student designers, a silent auction and raffle, live music, and an afterparty sure to mix glamour with something different from this semester’s lineup of events.
I spoke with Sustainable Style committee member Maisie Spofford about what’s in store for the Charity Gala, taking a deep dive into the values behind the event, the decision to host a gala, and the participating designers and charity of choice.
Whilst you may have seen Sustainable Style around town in one of their many collaboration events with different societies including EmpowHer, the Charities Campaign, Soirée, and even FS, the scale of the Charity Gala is a far cry from their usual workshops and clothing swaps. At the same time, as Maisie tells me, this is the third auction of student-made sustainable fashion hosted by the society, following on from their virtual auction of upcycled pieces in 2021, and a smaller in-person exhibition and auction in 2022.
“This year we felt confident to take it to the next level,” Maisie enthused, “with twenty-seven designers participating and over eighty pieces total”. The society wanted to create an event that represented their core values, “showing off how creative sustainability can be in practice, creating a circular economy in St Andrews, giving back to our community, and helping to reform the fashion industry”.
The local student designers involved in the event will be showcasing upcycled designs, knitwear, crocheted clothing and accessories, as well as hand-made jewellery and art pieces. Many of these designers are already young entrepreneurs with burgeoning businesses – such as Alissa Yoon, founder of bag and accessory brand SOOREE, who has contributed five colourful hand-crocheted bags to the auction. Other designers confirmed to be participating in the exhibition and auction include jewellery designer Juno Claire, who had a recent workshop in collaboration with the St Andrews Afro-Caribbean Society and BAME Network, sustainable and inclusive-sizing clothing brand OMO, and globally-inspired knitwear designer lan-o-lin.
Although St Andrews students are quite familiar with the notion of (sometimes seemingly endless) balls and fashion shows, a gala is a fairly novel concept being presented by Sustainable Style. Envisioned as the “the perfect setting” for an auction and exhibition of sustainable designs, Maisie also emphasised the interactive element of the evening, “creating connections between makers and consumers” by providing guests the opportunity to chat with the designers themselves at the event.
Moreover, the gala is relatively affordable compared to some of the fashion shows being hosted this semester, with the £30 ticket price going far for its cost. The evening will include transport to Falside Mill, complimentary bites with gluten-free and vegan options available, and admission to the afterparty. However, with an auction and raffle as the main events of the night, attendees should come prepared for the possibility of extra costs.
Delivering on their commitment to sustainability with their money as well as their actions, proceeds from the Charity Gala will be going to Fashion Revolution. This is the world’s largest fashion activism movement that campaigns against fast fashion, exploitative practices in the industry, and advocates for environmental conservation. Maisie specifically highlighted the importance of Fashion Revolution’s vision of “a global fashion industry that conserves and restores the environment and values people over growth and profit”, a large and overarching concept which is equally important in the microcosm of St Andrews.
The Sustainable Style Charity Gala is undoubtedly an event to watch out for this March. Although the Early Bird tickets are already sold out, be sure to keep an eye out in the coming weeks for their Standard Release, and be prepared for a night of ethical fashion and fun on the horizon.
Photos: Alexandra Godfrey