On 27 February 2016, DONT WALK celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of their invite-only, student-led fashion show at the infamous Kinkell Byre. Created in response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, university students established this fashion show to ‘celebrate the expressive and vibrant creative energy of New York City.’ DONT WALK successfully transformed the ‘blank canvas venue’ by incorporating elements of fashion, art, and entertainment. This year they raised money for The Robin Hood Foundation in New York City, and Eighteen & Under in Dundee. While DONT WALK gave guests a truly glamourous night to remember, the organization still stuck to its New York and Scottish roots to raise money for their charities of choice.
As soon as you walked into the doors of Kinkell Byre, you were greeted by a bar full of sponsor Piper Heidsieck’s Champagne, which is known for its ‘fresh and lively’ taste. Guests were welcomed by the beats of DJ Joe Grimeh, and everyone felt like movie stars on a red carpet as they were photographed in front of DONT WALK’s backdrop (fitting for Oscars weekend, no?). You immediately proceeded to a bar where New Amsterdam Spirits, amongst other delicious cocktails, were served. Guests finally progressed to the main area where tables were filled with Piper Heidsieck Champagne, Vita Coco water, and bags of PROPERCORN. Invitees were also welcomed to view the work of ‘elusive and mysterious “photograffeur”’ JR and his new project Inside Out.
This year, DONT WALK was especially mysterious and edgy. The team encouraged guests not to guard their inhibitions and to be excited by danger. No one knew exactly when the fashion show would start, which added to DONT WALK’s enigmatic aesthetic. Suddenly, the lights dimmed down, focusing only on the runway and on DJs Stuart Hindmarch and Daniel Garner. Guests were welcomed by a black and white video montage that captured DONT WALK’s fifteen years, and in a matter of minutes, the show began!
One word to summarize the models’ entrance: DRAMATIC. The models made their debut in various black and white clothing accompanied by LED neon red chokers. Models walked out in unison, and when they came to a harmonious stop, they acted as if they were restrained and unable to control their emotions. Thrilling music accompanied their arrival and through this DONT WALK set an awe-inspiring precedent for the rest of the evening.
During the beginning half of the show, female models walked effortlessly down the runway with braided hairdos, and male models showed off their swagger through their confidence and sex appeal. DONT WALK featured collections from both established and emerging designers, including Hellen van Rees, Nicci James Designs, and Edeline Lee. The most notable collection featured was that of British modern punk designer and platinum sponsor, Vivienne Westwood, who allowed DONT WALK to feature her private SS16 Red Label Collection ‘Mirror the World.’ Models had fun as they walked and danced down the runway to techno beats and interacted with friends in the audience.
The second half of the show was risqué, evidenced through the sheer, lacey, and sexy lingerie that was showcased by the female models. Their braided hairdos were let loose, embracing their long and luscious locks in half-up, half-down hairstyles. The lingerie included sensual and scandalous collections by Belle et Bonbon Lingerie and French designer Myriam Girard. Men also looked haute with their defined six-pack abs and boxer briefs from eco-friendly lifestyle brand, Fair Harbor Clothing and Pakho Lee. Two male models were particularly salacious as they simultaneously put their hands down their boxer briefs to grab towels that they then threw into the audience. As former university student and DONT WALK model, Duchess Kate Middleton said in an interview with British Vogue, ‘I hope you weren’t involved in the fashion show, you never know what you’re going to be asked to wear!’
While the designer collections and the idea of attending a fashion show made the evening especially exciting, what ultimately made DONT WALK’s fashion show enjoyable was the fun and popular music. DJs Stuart Hindmarch and Daniel Garner were wise in their music choices, because they played timeless hits such as ‘The Fresh-Prince of Bel-Air’ by Will Smith and allowed guests to vicariously live the catwalk scene in White Chicks when they played ‘Move Your Feet’ by Junior Senior. Above all, the finale song ‘One More Time’ by Daft Punk stole the show as models and all members of DONT WALK decided to ‘celebrate and dance so free’ on the runway.
DONT WALK was successful due to the generosity of many sponsors and donors. During intermission, students Ashton Squires and Elizabeth Stockton hosted a competitive auction. Auctioned items included a gin experience for eight people at Eden Mill Distillery & Brewery St Andrews, a weekend stay at The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa with two spa treatments and one dinner, Céline sunglasses from Duncan and Todd, and the last table for the St Andrews Charity Oktoberfest on 5 March 2016.
Guests were happy to end their evening with Murray’s Fish & Chips and BlackHorn’s delectable burgers, and they danced the night away to Swedish DJ OTTO KNOWS’ music. By the end of the night, everyone was in a state of bliss in the name of charity, so to speak. What to add to your St Andrews bucket list? Attend a DONT WALK Charity Fashion Show to experience the thrill and excitement of this oh-so haute demonstration.