World ending? Party like it!

            This past Saturday, revelers by the busload were transported to a fantastic event that has for years been the highlight of the Spring social season. The event, of course, was this year’s iteration of DONT WALK, the student-run and modeled fashion show whose annual fund-raising events have attracted heavy hitters like Chanel and Raf Simons to their catwalk. Put on this semester in support of The Rainforest Alliance (an NGO devoted to influencing corporate sustainability practices) DONT WALK offered to its guests a night of eco-conscious partying meant to be remembered.

The theme, “Another World is Possible,” though ambiguous, perfectly encapsulated the evening and its intentions. The venue, a restored barn house tucked deep in the East Neuk, was decorated in an indeed other-worldly way; constructed in all black and bathed in neon hues, the main room–which housed the catwalk–felt like a sleek mix between an underground club and executive’s office, exuding an unpretentious air of classiness. Provided by increasingly popular DJ activist Mall Grab, the music roared from the moment the first busload of guests arrived to the DONT WALK fantasy, furthering underground and relaxed atmosphere. Mall Grab’s electronic music stoked attendees’ excitement and hinted at the great show to come. 

As the lights dimmed and the volume raised, with all heads pointed toward the catwalk, a video assembled of news reports concerning the impending climate crisis played. Though meant to provoke thought along the lines of “Another World is Possible, but only if we act now,” it came off as a bit tone deaf. Those closest to the screen on which the warning aired, in the VIP section, looked troubled at the news of a changing climate while sipping provided champagne out of plastic flutes, the majority of which ended up on the floor. This isn’t to say that the Committee didn’t make an honest effort to meet their flaunted goal of sustainability. From ticket collection the day prior, the Committee’s commitment to their goal was evident. Presented to each attendee was a reusable gift bag containing a packet of vegan crisps, eco-conscious haircare products, and a refillable can of water. Eschewing printed paper tickets, guests were given either cloth wristbands or lanyards for entry. To boost the factor of mystique that surrounds the event, and ostensibly to reduce individual emissions from arriving via taxi, the Committee withheld the event location, offering only a time and place for attendees to meet the busses on which they would be ferried to the event. Additionally, plant-based food offerings reflected both the Committee’s desire to promote sustainable behaviors and student’s increasingly popular decision to align their eating habits with their attitudes toward environmentalism.

The show itself was incredible. St Andrews’ more genetically fortunate students strut the runway with an inspiring confidence, donning the latest, most creative, and gorgeous pieces from notable designers like La Perla and Mandali Mendrilla. Stalwart to their promise, 80% of the garments modeled were sustainable, and twinkled with natural, evocative elements. The choreography of the models was indeed otherworldly; sleek every motion, the model’s nonchalance and grace exuded a professionalism far greater than what one would expect from a student-run endeavor.

Overall, the event was a roaring success. Though occasionally off the mark in their quest for total sustainability, the event offered a night of honest, conscious fun that will be remembered by all long after their diplomas are received. No event is perfect, especially when it comes to sustainability; DONT WALK, however, was impressively close, and in the ensuing years will come to refine their approach.