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Red gown goes green for charity

Student models John Kinnell and Lucy Simmonds previewing the recycled red gown collection (photo: Gayle Cook).

The distinctive red gown synonymous with student life at the University of St Andrews will be given a `green’ makeover this week (21 March 2008) for a charity student fashion show.

Student designer Camden Hauge will unveil her collection of recycled woollen gowns at this Friday’s event.  The collection forms the centrepiece of the St Andrews Charity Fashion Show 2008, which aims to be the most environmentally friendly student fashion show in the country.

Students gathering for a rectorial election in 1947 (photo: Special Collections)The red gown was introduced post-Reformation as compulsory `school uniform’ to students as young as thirteen, as a way of preventing them from illicit drinking in public houses.  Worn differently according to year of study, the red gown is still worn today by St Andrews students for formal occasions and by student ambassadors.

Famous graduates who once wore the red gown include Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, who recently said that wearing one guaranteed him better tips when giving tours to visitors of the University.   The new collection will include customised versions of the gown in garments including skirts, shorts and even a kilt.

Second year student Camden said, “For a University as traditional and historic as St Andrews, I wanted to infuse our iconic academic gowns with a sense of fun and modernity.”

Around 850 students will pack the University’s Younger Hall for the event, which aims to raise £10,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The dual focus on cancer and the environment has attracted the support of Hollywood star Glenn Close, who has offered a walk-on role and visit to the set of her New York-based TV show `Damages’.  The role will be star attraction of the night’s live auction held during the show’s intermission.

FS:08 Director Olly Markeson said, “Cancer research and sustainability are two very important issues for St Andrews students.  It’s wonderful to be able to put on a show which benefits both.”

Students today doing the 'pier walk' in their red gowns.

From using eco-friendly products and lighting to carbon off-setting, everyone involved in the show, from designers to organisers, has been encouraged to do their bit for the environment.

The event has the support of University Rector and environmental campaigner Simon Pepper, while organisers have been advised by staff from the University’s Sustainability Institute and Environment team on practical issues.  In addition to the red gown collection, the show will feature another collection made from completely recycled materials.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS:

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ATTEND THE FASHION SHOW ON FRIDAY 21 MARCH AT THE YOUNGER HALL, PLEASE CONTACT ANDREW KEENAN BY 12PM FRIDAY ON 07957 166612 OR EMAIL ak259@st-andrews.ac.uk

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:

 

 

 

 

HISTORICAL AND CURRENT IMAGES RELATING TO THE RED GOWN ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE – CONTACTS BELOW.

 

 

 

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Gayle Cook, Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk
Ref:  Red gown photocall 190308
View the latest University press releases at www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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