I’m Naomi Smith, a second year Ecology and Conservation student, the Events Officer for the Environment Subcommittee and the Outreach Officer for Sustainable Style. As a fresher last spring, I realised that the ball and formal event culture in St Andrews was very unsustainable and something needed to be done. As a result, I created the St Andrews Ball Dress swap, which originally started off as an Instagram page and has now expanded to Facebook.
It’s a space for students to search for formal wear items secondhand while not giving in to the pressure of finding an item last minute online. Students can send in photos of items they are willing to be borrowed as well as size and contact information.
I really want to expand the project because right now, it isn’t hugely successful. We need a lot more items but it’s hard when students are uncomfortable with the hygiene and care of their items while in someone else’s possession, which is understandable. I offer a solution of charging a refundable fee for items so that the items will be better taken care of and if there is damage, the owner is reimbursed to make up for that lost item.
There is a need to create a more sustainable fashion scene in St Andrews. Students are already so engrossed with secondhand culture and vintage fashion but it has not yet reached formal wear. I wanted to create a solution that would be accessible to all!