Don't Walk 2018: A review

The hype surrounding Don’t Walk was big this year. It was set to be a kind reviewers nightmare, I thought to myself, with swaths of people arriving to drink the alcohol they paid too much for in advance, taking compulsory group photographs to remind everyone they were there and abruptly leaving once they had exhausted these activities. But I was wildly mistaken. The swaths arrived and the anticipation built, and built and built a bit more aaand a little more (the show was late). This gave me time a plenty to observe the venue before it was flooded with activity. The entire set up was extremely impressive, the stage a sleek black runway set to run through the entire crowd, a beautiful yet perhaps questionable design choice given the tendency of this particular demographic of audience to turn things slippery with alcohol. The shear size of the backdrop, or even the tent itself left me feeling like I was in the presence of something big, something worked on by perfectionists with an eye for detail. I should probably note at this point that I turned up to the event entirely on my own but was hastily adopted by anyone and everyone I approached – how nice.

Once I had mulled the design of the room a few times over, and heard the words “its cold in here isn’t it?” “Yeh, thank God its not just me” repeated in various different forms the show finally began. Never before have I been in a room where the atmosphere was so entirely electric, this energy being funneled straight through the models and into the crowd both metaphorically and quite literally with audience members reaching out to grab and curiously also to trip some of the models on their strut past. The show was kept from becoming repetitive by choreography that kept the crowd engaged, some of the models putting on possibly too serious a face during this student led show but later loosening up the perfect amount.

In that moment, and it might sound dumb, but it never occurred to me that people went to these events to look at the fashion, I realised the fashion was entirely part of it, with the eyes of spectators glued to each and every model, every audience member fully hypnotised. I may be being slightly generous here, for although the general consensus seemed to be that the show was very “wearable”, with designers ‘Away to Mars’, ‘Something Wicked’, ‘Zsigmond Dora’, ‘ByVarga’, ‘Merc’, ‘Anna Sui’, ‘Harris Tweed’, ‘My Beach side’, ‘Jani’, ‘Yasmeen Uddin’, ‘House of DZ’, ‘YuFash’ and many, many more.

I also realised that whilst the fashion was important, it was the show itself that was the true spectacle. The music, the lights, the décor and the choreography all came together to form entertainment fostering a pure, unbridled indulgence, an absolute kind of relentless hedonism that scarcely faltered throughout the night.

I scarcely had time to blink (or so it felt like) before the After Party began. No momentum was lost with performances by A.J Tracey, Wethen and Louis The Child with the VIP area swiftly transforming into a scene not out of place in a club. Everyone was set to have a good time. Everyone that is, apart from those who wanted to either sit or to cross the stage to reach friends all the way across the room in a convenient manner. There was next to no seating and, on the seventh hour of being there, this was sad.

The fashion show was exquisite, but its £95-100 price tag left the entire show teetering on the brink of morality, its only saving grace that the money was technically for charity. This is perhaps not helped entirely by the fact that the event is invite only, with each committee member allowed to invite 15 people. Granted, this ensures a healthy sized crowd and shrouds the event in an air of mystery, but does it help with the commonly commented upon lack of inclusivity in St Andrews? I really don’t suppose it does.

I was worried that the hype surrounding Don’t Walk would bring the event down this year, with FS managing to gain good reviews all round but with a fairly disappointing after party. Luckily, I needn’t have been.

Side note: Flapjacks were to die for.