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Fife charity fashion show that put Kate Middleton on the map is back

Don't Walk fashion show is back for 2022.
Don't Walk fashion show is back for 2022.

It was the charity fashion show at which Kate Middleton first caught Prince William’s eye.

Twenty years ago, while at St Andrews University, the future Duchess of Cambridge sashayed down the catwalk in a see-through lace dress that later sold for a whopping £78,000.

Kate and William were already close friends and lived a few doors down from each other at St Salvator’s hall of residence.

But Kate really captured the 19-year-old Prince’s attention in 2002 after he spent £200 on a front-row ticket for the Don’t Walk student charity fashion show Kate featured in.

He is said to have turned to his friend Fergus Boyd and whispered: “Wow, Kate’s hot”.

Two decades on, Don’t Walk is returning to St Andrews on March 18 after a tumultuous two years and promises to be one of the hottest events in the style calendar.

It’s the UK’s largest privately-run student charity fashion show and since its establishment, it has raised more than £275,000 for charities including the Robin Hood Foundation, Families First St Andrews and Comic Relief.

“It is our first show since the pandemic and we will have around 960 guests in attendance,” says head of press Amelia Poole.

“The show is entirely student-run and this year, for the first time, even the music has been done by the student committee which is really exciting for us.

“We are thrilled to welcome everyone back in person for this year’s show after a very tumultuous two years.”

Kate Middleton in ‘that’ dress. Picture by Malcolm Clarke / Daily Mail / Rex Features.

Amelia says the show looks to the future and values the forward-thinking and the experimental.

“An amalgamation of art, dance, fashion, photography, film and music, this year-long undertaking culminates in a single night that pushes the boundaries of performance and artistry,” she says.

“Our team, formed of the most creative, passionate and proactive students on campus, works tirelessly to ensure the success of the show and further development of the brand.

“We strive to grow and adapt to our world’s ever-changing landscape as we enter our 21st year as a collective.”

Cutting-edge fashion on the catwalk at Don’t Walk.

The title, Don’t Walk, means “don’t walk past issues”, says Amelia, and takes inspiration from New York pedestrian signs which were established after 9/11.

“Don’t Walk was founded on the principle of not walking past problems in society, but instead taking action through artistic expression to raise awareness of global issues,” she adds.

“We refuse to remain complacent during times of discrimination, oppression and adversity.”

This year’s show will feature big names in fashion, while simultaneously providing a platform for up-and-coming young designers.

The theme for 2022 is “Revelation” and creative director Elise Morrison is hugely excited about it.

“Rising from the ashes of inferno, into the possibility of a new world, our divine disorders open our eyes towards new creation,” she reflects.

“Right now we are living in the liminality of the old and the new; a new world already inaugurated, but awaiting and anticipating its full realisation.

“With a focus on appearance versus reality, the veil of perception hides the truth from us. In a true revelation, this year seeks to unveil the mask of perfection and reveal the carnal nature of this period of eschatological jet-lag.

“Bringing together an army of martyrs, Don’t Walk 22 presents a whimsical and confessional reflection into our humanity.

“Let our laments turn to song as the darkness of our world becomes eternally light. This is our revelation.”

A bold look.

This year’s show is based on Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time and top designers include Hanro, ERES, Anna Valentine and Altuzarra.

Don’t Walk was founded on the principle of not walking past problems in society, but instead taking action through artistic expression to raise awareness of global issues.”

Amelia Poole

The event will be supporting the Urban Justice Center, a New York-based charity, and Impact Arts, based in Glasgow, reflecting the collective’s commitment to make an impact both locally and overseas.

The main sponsors are Morgan Stanley, Aviation Gin, and Coca Cola.

Style is everything at Don’t Walk.
  • Don’t Walk, an invite-only event, takes place at Bowhouse in Anstruther on March 18.

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