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An exposé on the (not so) Secret Garden: St Cuthbert’s Society Charity Fashion Show Review

I bid on 2 hours of DJ lessons and am now dangerously close to entering my overdraft….

In the words of a very drunk member of the audience after St Cuthbert’s Society Charity Fashion Show (SCSCFC) stormed the catwalk: “Tonight has been a great example of a community coming together, having a great time and we love that.”

Not only was the fashion show a stellar example of Cuth’s community spirit, it has also been granted the award of being a “big slay” – Durham’s highest accolade. The event also raised some serious money for charity and the audience was graced by Cuth’s fittest.

You just love to see it.

The set

Walking through the doors of Slug and Lettuce, I was not met with the classic bar that I expected.

Rather, it was as if I walked into a ‘Love-Island-esque’ theatre. It gave off the essence of a ‘hot-girl summer,’ a rather stark contrast to the cold February evening I endured on my way over.

The stage set in the middle of the room was covered by this white, marquee-like structure, wrapped in vines with flowers hanging off it. It felt as if we had been transported to an all-inclusive, luxury holiday resort in the height of summer.

The atmosphere

Although the clean and polished set was all in order, there was something else still lingering in the air – the tense, anxious nature of exec members, bustling around the place hurriedly, directing everyone in place.

As stated by Beth (President of the Exec team): “The team’s been great but I could not sleep a wink last night.”

Whilst the exec members were busy getting the show ready to start, I could see, on the other side of the venue, a sea of tuxes and dresses crowding around something…

Ah, the bar, offering two-for-one cocktails!

I stood up, waltzed over and ordered two espresso martinis…

The show

But then, a booming voice startled me and I turned around immediately. 5 compères suddenly showed up, and I realised I was about to miss the main event of the evening.

But then, a booming voice startled me and I turned around immediately. 5 compères suddenly showed up, and I realised I was about to miss the main event of the evening.

Smiles all around, flaunting their looks and moves (and even downing pints from their mates in the audience), it was charming to see all the high energy created by the students. Even their synchronisation, albeit imperfect, provided a sense of charm which stood out particularly well the more drinks that were purchased.

Combined with the ‘hot girl summer’ atmosphere and the extroversion of the Compères, it could really be said that this show ultimately proved to be the epitome of what being a Durham student is all about.

But soon came the moment which I believe most members of the audience would regret thoroughly the next morning – it was time for the auction.

The items ranged from a night out with the models, another model being your own private chef and waxing another’s chest, all of which were being valued up to £100.

I was a little disappointed that no one had offered a two-person bed and breakfast in Cornwall (which I heard went for £3000 at DUCFS), but also a little relieved for my bank account.

There was also the famed ‘Take Me Out’ game hosted by the Compères. With the constant ringing of “no likey no lights” in the thickest northern accent ringing in my head, I’m reminded of our whole table trying to set one of my friends up on a date with a model, all of us directing our flashlights onto him and demanding that he be the chosen one.

It was truly a sight to behold and unlike any strict fashion show atmosphere that I expected to encounter. One could say that it wasn’t a fashion show, but rather a one-of-a-kind Durham social experience.


From the jittery anxiety I encountered prior to the show, to the unity and harmony afterwards dancing on stage, we all made our way towards Wiff Waff to end the evening.

Throughout the night, I encountered some people and here’s what they’ve had to say…

“Everybody I’ve spoken to have said it was the best show so far. Everyone backstage said it was the most fun they have ever had. As long as everyone has had a good time, I think it was a success.” – Beth Cuthbertson, President, post-show.

“Our group is all about body positivity, loving yourself, and all those sorts of things align with the views of the fashion show.” – Mary’s Dance Troupe, Interval act.

“It’s all a laugh, I loved seeing all the models and everyone’s personality coming out, people coming together, and the fact that its all for charity makes it a really good cause.” – Georgia, President of Durham Instep Dance Society, Interval act.

As you can see from the views above, going to a Durham fashion show is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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