Sitara is by all accounts a unique event. It’s arguably as much a celebration of culture as it is a fashion show, combining elements of dance and theatre in order to establish its own identity within the busy St Andrews fashion calendar. This year’s theme was street culture, a motif portrayed throughout the show by the warring gangs of the Tigers and the Dragons and the lost and confused Josh at the centre of this gang warfare. It’s all a bit West Side Story, but it adds a fun, casual and ultimately accessible side to the event. This is a fact shown as soon as you reach the event’s new venue, located on the grounds of the Old Course Hotel. A marquee that was smaller than most expected, it created an unexpectedly intimate atmosphere for the show, with easy viewing of the catwalk antics for all that attended.
Fashion wise, the show was a mixed affair, with perhaps fewer couture pieces than other fashion shows within St Andrews; Sitara instead promoted a fascinating range of South Asian designers. The clothes struck a nice balance, creative enough to remain interesting and at times obscure, yet still offering looks that were stylish and altogether wearable. The models must be commended for their professionalism, their walks were for the most part flawless and exuded a fun energy with their range of clearly well rehearsed routines. There’s selfie-sticks, high fives and even flips, it’s an exciting twist to the standard routine of the catwalk.
Musically speaking, the event was a charged, with St Andrews’ own Kalliope offering an EDM and trap tinged set. It was energetic syncing perfectly with the intermissions of dance and acting. Perhaps a little more Bhangra and some Bollywood tunes wouldn’t have gone amiss, however for the most part the marathon DJ set is a nice accompaniment to the struts of the models, especially within the second half of the show when the atmosphere loosened up and the models began to interact more with each other and the crowds of their friends that awaited them at the end of their walks.
The afterparty unfortunately was somewhat of a different matter. Despite the energetic house sounds of Soul Patch filling the tent and practically commanding the clientele to dance, the venue soon becomes somewhat of its own worst enemy as the crowds begin to filter away from the catwalk leaving a space that was awkward and lacking in direction. The only other criticism of the event is its price. As I hear numerous guests complaining about the limited offers available from their £70 VIP tickets and the open VIP areas, essentially making their tables redundant for viewing the show, it’s clear that more needs to be done to enhance this deal in the future.
Despite a few minor hinderances, Sitara is to be praised overall for its creative drive, its unique take on a fashion show and its determination to showcase a wide range of south Asian designers in what is ultimately a fun and playful manner. It’s a show that wears its heart on its sleeve and strives to be a bit different, and for that it can only be commended.
Words: Charlie Jaco