Sitara* 2016: An Interview with Alysha Radia

Callum Hyland Photography, Sitara* 2015

Callum Hyland Photography, Sitara* 2015

By: Cordelia Diamond

Sitara*, one of the most truly unique events hosted in St Andrews, stands out not just among the (many) fashion shows we have, but also among balls and parties. A combination of a performance, dance party, fashion show and rich cultural display, Sitara* is one of the most exciting and multifaceted events our humble (ha ha) student community has to offer. I sat down with Head of Creative Alysha Radia and chatted with her about what we can expect from this year’s show and about Sitara*’s creative vision and mission.

An Interview with Alysha Radia

ST.ART: Can you describe Sitara*’s general mission for me in a few sentences?

AR: I feel that at least this year, Sitara* is aiming to bring quality fashion and performance, and just an overall good show to the students of St Andrews, without any stuffiness or exclusivity. Our aim is to make sure everyone has a good time witnessing such a spectacle on stage, whilst also appreciating a culture that has so much variety and richness, whether you are South Asian yourself, therefore giving you a chance to connect with and indulge in your own culture, or know absolutely nothing about the culture and can therefore experience something new. 

ST.ART: Three words to sum up this year's show?

AR: REGAL, INTRICATE, VIBRANT. 

ST.ART: What are some things which you are doing differently this year as opposed to last year, and how has your role changed? (I know you were involved last year as well!)

AR: I think this year our whole marketing process is much slicker. We are making full use of all   our social media accounts to keep people enticed throughout the year. After last year, which was my first year doing anything like this and therefore I handled things with much more trepidation, I am definitely more confident in myself and my decisions, and therefore have  been trying to creatively push what we are doing in terms of photo-shoots and fashion to a higher level of concept and quality, which will hopefully exceed expectations. In terms of photoshoots, instead of trying to emulate what I see in glossy magazines, which I feel is pointless, (why copy what has already been done?), I have at least been trying (not sure if successfully!) to do our own thing and give Sitara* its own vibe and charm. 

We are at Lower College Lawn this year, the largest scale venue we have used to date, so we are super excited to have this extra space to play with and to amp up the intensity of the show. 

Last year whilst the name of my role was the same, I was solely in charge of enlisting designers, styling the clothes and creatively directing the photoshoots. However this year I have a more overarching creative role, as we have a separate director of fashion, Rishika Agarwal, whom I work closely with, and am responsible for keeping the creative vision of the show in check, including front of house, marketing etc, whilst still being very much involved with the fashion and the photoshoots. 

ST.ART: Tell me more about the theme, “Mahal.”

AR: To me, South Asia, although it may sound cliched, does not typically consist of minimalist cultures and aesthetics, but of bright colour, pattern, jewels and gold. 'Mahal' is the Hindi   word for 'Palace', therefore encapsulating ideas of luxury and excess and South Asia's rich regal history. This also allows for the exploration of South Asian architecture with its endless craft techniques such as carving and inlay work, which are an endless source of visual inspiration. 'Mahal' creates a whole experience, whereby the audience are invited to join 'the royal family' at a Regal reception, making the theme an encapsulating experience. 

ST.ART: Thanks Alysha, can’t wait for the show! 

Callum Hyland Photography, Sitara* 2015

Callum Hyland Photography, Sitara* 2015

Callum Hyland Photography, Sitara* 2015

Callum Hyland Photography, Sitara* 2015

ST.ART Magazine