© Gabrielle Berlin

It was only two weeks ago, when Horst und Edeltraut were kindly invited to St. Andrews in Scotland to attend the DON’T WALK FASHION SHOW 2012. Founded in 2001 as a reaction to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the students have ever since organized a show every year in collaboration with charity programmes to support the lives of others. Their will is to celebrate freedom of expression and individuality. This group of highly dedicated students aims to make a difference by producing a fashion show and artistic spectacle. Organized by young professionals for young professionals DONT WALK 2012 united artistic talents in St. Andrews and beyond.

The show itself was a very special spectacle. Unlike other fashion shows it took place in a barn nearby the sea surrounded by sheep. This rural setting added to the shows uniqueness and gave a magnificent backdrop to such an awesome show. Given this natural setting, organized by only-students, the show was a very native performance, which only enhanced the support and banter for the night. Young designers such as Sir Plus, Goldie of London, By Malina and Cala Ossidiana proved to be an instant crowd pleaser. The make-up of the models was provided by Bobbi Brown and Toni & Guy and was changed throughout the show to adjust lighter and darker color visions. Champagne and the music ensured a wonderful evening and created a hybrid relationship between the presenters and the audience. The specialty of the night was that the show itself was a fun performance featuring professionalism and creativity. Edeltraut managed to get in touch with one of the models, who gave a wonderful interview and many insights into the making and physicality of the show.

Interview by Gabrielle Berlin with Louise Stolt-Nielsen Holten

© Samira Qassim

GB: Where are you from?

LS: The US and Norway

GB: What do you do?

LS: I study in the smallest, craziest town on the planet.

GB: Your style in 3 words?

LS: Diverse. Comfortable. Chic.

© Samira Qassim

GB: Walking on a DONT WALK stage, how is it?

LS: Walking in the show is an adrenaline rush like no other. There’s a strategy that we follow to entice the audience and it’s only when you’re finally on the stage that you understand why we need to do this. We start out seemingly oblivious to the crowd around us but gradually engage more with the audience. In those beginning moments when what all you want to do is wave to your friends, you need to hold back and maintain a calm composure. The build up elongates the experience felt by the audience.

GB: Have you ever modelled/ walked in public before?

LS: This is my second year modelling in DONT WALK making me somewhat of a veteran of the show. Before that I had done some modelling whilst living in Paris.

© Celeste Sloman

© Samira Qassim

GB: What led you to apply for DONT WALK?

LS: In Freshers Week my first year, the DONT WALK committee was bombarding town with their model scouters. After being approached, I asked some friends what all the noise was about and everybody told me how DONT WALK was one of the most exciting nights of the year. I quickly found out that DONT WALK was not a typical fashion show, rather, something of a performance.

GB: What are you studying and where do you come from?

LS: I’m in my second year studying Modern History and Management. I have a pretty typical St Andrews explanation of where I’m from. I’m three-quarters Norwegian, one quarter Lebanese, but have lived in the US my whole life.

© Celeste Sloman

© Samira Qassim

GB: How much time and effort does it require to organize such an incredible show?

LS: In terms of the modelling, we starts practicing in October and would meet once a week for two to three hours. When we got back for second term in February, we started practicing two times a week for three hours each, then in the week before the show, every single day. Beyond the practices, we had several photo-shoots for not only our website but also our sponsors. This year the committee made a really big emphasis that as models of the show, we were the most visual ambassadors of DON’T WALK and as such were responsible for participating in any form of fund-raising or awareness-building we could come up with.

© Gabrielle Berlin

GB: It was a very lively and an interactive show? Do you think every show should be like this?

LS: What I love most about DON’T WALK is this exact feature. To call it a fashion show is too simplistic. The evening is a performance. I think given the circumstances we are in, students at university, this kind of show is the most likable to all those attending. The interactive nature of the show is what makes it so fun. Not everybody attending is a fashion guru, more come for the party. The best way of making a good party is by having a lot of life and energy in it and this is exactly what DONT WALK does.

GB: What do you think of this years designers? Which ones were your favourites?

LS: The clothes this year were incredible. Antonia Tedroff, head of Women’s Fashion, found designers from every stretch of land be it England, Sweden, Austrailia, Japan and much more.

© Gabrielle Berlin

GB: DONT WALK is only organized by students for students, how does it feel to participate in such a life-changing project?

LS: Being a part of DON’T WALK is such an incredible experience. I remember when I first joined the team I thought it was just a one-night event. However, I quickly learned that the preparations for the show start the summer before any of the students even get back to school. All of the hard planning and coordinating becomes completely worth it when you realize how much money you have raised for this fantastic cause.

© Gabrielle Berlin

GB: How will DONT WALK support this year’s charity, Zamcog?

LS: The great thing about Zamcog is that unlike larger charities such as Unicef, or Human Rights Watch, we can see our impact much more immediately. In January, the heads of the show travelled down to Zambia to visit the school that would be helping to build. The entire experience this year became personal when we so immediately knew what our efforts would ultimately be impacting.

Special thanks to Tom Curry, Charlotte Adlard, Samira Qassim & Louise Stolt-Nielsen Holten

by Gabrielle Berlin