Image courtesy of DONT WALK 2017

Image courtesy of DONT WALK 2017

By: Emma Corcoran

This year will be one of many firsts for DW: changing the venue from Kinkell Byre to Cambo Estate, moving the event space to an outdoor tent and releasing their first ever EP, a feat never before accomplished by a St Andrews fashion show. DW has always set the bar high, and with these new added elements, we are eager to see how DW will elevate its already exceptional show. 

One year after our initial interview with DW's Marketing & Sales Director Paula Murmann, we sat down again with her, this time to speak primarily in regard to this year's venue, Cambo Estate: how the idea evolved from its conception to its realisation, and how the committee intends to translate the spirit of the DW brand identity through the staging and overall aesthetics of the space. We also discussed the performance aspects of the show, specifically the fashion and the music, in reference to this year's theme 'Progress/Regress'. Read on for an exclusive sneak peek preview of DW 2017 (and for those of you who were lucky enough to snag a ticket, get hyped!). 


DW Preview: Interview with Marketing and Sales Director, Paula Murmann

ST.ART: So it’s been a full year since I last spoke to you, which is kind of hard to believe.

Paula Murmann: Yeah, it’s a bit crazy – we’re back to the same place!

ST.ART: What’s changed since last year? Have you noticed any differences?

PM: Specifically, it’s the event space itself: that’s obviously the biggest challenge we’ve had. I think it’s a lot more fun this year because [Cambo Estate] is a new venue, so we can have a kind of free feel to do whatever we want; we’re not as restricted, which is why I think it’s so exciting. The amount of work went up a bit, but I think it’ll all be worth it when everyone’s there on Saturday. It’s exciting to see people see the DONT WALK team move to a different venue and see how it is and see how we stay true to our brand and what we’ve done so far at Kinkell.

ST.ART: How did you choose that location? Did you think it best fit with the DW message and mission in addition to this year’s theme? Or was it for its overall aesthetic?

PM: I think for us, it was just, St Andrews is such a small place, and for us just finding a venue to fit that many people… it was so difficult, and we had a few options, but thought that [Cambo Estate] was the best backdrop we found. It was difficult to find somewhere, and it fit well, so we went with it.

ST.ART: How do you envision transforming the space?

PM: We’re going into a tent this year, so it’s a very different event from what we’ve ever done. It’s very much like we’re filling the space with different activities. For me, whenever I see the design images and sketches, it’s very… not festival, but definitely embodying the DW spirit. To us, we didn’t want to go that commercial; we wanted to put emphasis on little things – photo booths, food trucks, little goodie bags and hangover kits handed out to people as they exit... stuff like that. We really put work into the little things as well just to stay true to our nature of it.

ST.ART: Definitely. I suppose it makes it more interactive in that way – little things to look forward to.

PM: Exactly.

ST.ART: So with this year’s theme – ‘Progress/Regress’ – it ties in nicely with last year’s theme on the surveillance society in the digital age, but it has more of an internal focus: the ‘personal psyche’. How do you hope to translate that theme through the fashion as well as the overall aesthetics of the show?

PM: Our Creative Director, Tiphaera, she’s working on the opening, and this year, with the opening video, the music and the choreography – I can’t give specifics away, but you’ll see the theme embodied in sort of the performance art of the show.

ST.ART: And that will continue throughout the entire show?

PM: Right. We’ve put a lot of emphasis on the opening of the show as sort of setting the scene essentially, because it’s always been like that at DW. But even towards our After Party, the acts we’ve chosen, we’ve wanted to kind of keep it in line with the DW essence, which is why we thought Neiked would be a fun addition.

ST.ART: This Saturday then, after a year of hard work, I’m sure that that will not only translate through the fashion and the show itself, but also the atmosphere, the vibe – everyone in celebration together.

PM: Yeah, that’s what it’s all about for us: we put so much work into it, but we also want to celebrate. I think the good thing about this year is that it’s going to be a different feel than in Kinkell will ever be, just because of the new venue and putting in so much work. I think for me, I’m really excited to see it all come together, because back in I want to say May, it was just an idea: it was just a concept of maybe we can look at something else, maybe we can push the boundaries, maybe we can challenge ourselves, and if it doesn’t work, we’ll see. I just remember during exams last semester when we were all talking about this, and we were all, “oh we need to focus on studying”, but we were just so fixated on the concept of doing something else and challenging ourselves. It’s just amazing a year after sitting in a room and discussing it as just an idea - as a possibility - it’s now come true.

ST.ART: Especially from a guest’s standpoint, we don’t really have any expectations as to what the space will look like, so that in itself is exciting; you are the first ones to integrate the space for a St Andrews fashion show event, so that in itself is probably a little bit intimidating but also exciting.

PM: Yeah, exactly what you’re saying. I’m excited to see what people think of it. Yes we’re going into a tent, but we’ve very much tried to make it feel like DW, just in a different venue. I think a lot of people fear that it’s going to be so big and it will be too much and we don’t know what it’s going to be like. I think a lot of people are worried that they’re going to miss what Kinkell was like last year; people had so much fun because it was not as big and it felt more intimate, and I think a lot of concern is stemming from, “is it going to lose that intimacy?” But the way we’ve set it up this year, in terms of staging and production, it's designed to keep that vibe going. I think it will do its job.

ST.ART: I can understand what you’re saying, because you wouldn’t want gaps of space, but from what you’ve talked about, it sounds like you’ll succeed in filling the space or at least just make it feel like an all-encompassing atmosphere.

PM: Exactly, I mean we want our guests to have a good time and to enjoy it and to savour the performance aspect of it. We didn't want it to be huge and massive, you know? We wanted to keep it still intimate, but go into a new space and kind of focus on the outside tents, the entrances, the foodtrucks and where they will be, frozen yogurt… you know, keep it light and fun and not have not too serious of an atmosphere.

ST.ART: And that’s what so great about DW: you don’t take yourselves seriously.

PM: I mean, we’re not going to try to do something we're not. We want to keep a level of professionalism and keep everything sorted and done in an efficient, timely manner, but we don’t want to lose the spirit, which is why we’ve thought of things left, right and centre to keep it light and fun and interesting for people. Also to see something different – I think that was also a big thing: to keep the performance aspect but build something that is something no one else can see in St Andrews. I think the venue has been used before, but not to the degree we’re doing it. I think that’s exciting in that people have never been to a DW event there; I think it will be fun for people to have a different event to go to, other than Kinkell.

ST.ART: Especially because every DW show is different, each year – not only in terms of the fashion, but also the committee who puts it together, the theme, the music… and so this year, it’s like an added layer of something new and different, but even more so, because it will definitely have an impact on how the models walk down the runway, how the guests perceive the stage, how the music fills the space… that will be so cool to see.

PM: Right. I’m excited. Hopefully nothing goes wrong [laughs], but I think this is the year that we have a pretty solid team. I think if we didn’t have the team we have in place, it would have been a lot more difficult, but I think we have a very strong group this year, which makes it a lot more exciting.

ST.ART: So I know the DW music is a huge part of your brand. How do you hope to incorporate the theme through the music?

PM: DW Music is producing an EP, and we’re releasing that very shortly. This year, DW music was very tied into the Vic, but for me, it’s going beyond that: the EP embodies the DW spirit through music. When we originally came up with the concept, I thought it was so cool because DW is all about combining different art forms – fashion, performance, video, music altogether. We wanted to create more of an artistic performance, and music is a big part of that. We have a team of amazing musicians and DJs who came together to produce this EP, which will be fun to release, because it’s embodying everything through music, and I think people will really enjoy it. We’ve never done an EP before, and I don’t think any other St Andrews fashion show has either. Also, we released the SoundCloud last year because people really enjoyed the playlist, so I think it will be good to have kind of another set of music that people can listen to.

ST.ART: Yeah, I know my friends and I – we still listen to the DW playlists on SoundCloud during pres anytime we go out.

PM: It’s really fun, right?

ST.ART: Yes! I mean, a huge part of the fashion show is the music, because it really does set the vibe. If we didn’t have the music, all we would hear is our own voices and the sound of heels walking down the runway; it definitely helps to fill the space. I’m always so impressed with the DW music.

PM: They do spend a lot of time making it.

ST.ART: You can tell that so much hard work goes into it.

PM: And that’s another way we embody the DW spirit: having the music light and fun, and people can dance to it, so having that interaction.

ST.ART: It’s also great when an unexpected favourite song comes on, and you’re with your friends – it builds your memory of the night.

PM: Exactly.

ST.ART: Well thank you, Paula – we are so excited for the show!

PM: Thanks!

Image courtesy of DONT WALK 2017

Image courtesy of DONT WALK 2017

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