I went to DUCFS, the UK’s biggest student-led charity fashion show right here in Durham

From free drinks to fancy outfits, it does indeed live up to the hype

There is no doubt that Durham University Charity Fashion Show is one of, if not the most hotly anticipated night in the Durham social calendar. With tickets ranging in price from £23 for individual seats to £84 per person for some of the floor tables, the show just keeps getting bigger and, hopefully, better.

This year there were four show nights spanning from Wednesday 14th to Saturday 17th February. And according to the DUCFS Instagram, tickets for the closing Saturday night sold out in half a second.

Since tickets were released in December, there has been an intense countdown to opening night. Themes, brand partners, and prizes were announced – not to mention the all-important model reveal of those who had survived being whittled down through an audition process which one of our very own writers decided to give a go.

Eventually, Wednesday 14th February rolled around and given I hadn’t managed to secure a last-minute Valentine’s date, I was ready.

Upon arrival at Rainton Arena in Houghton-le-Spring, having passed the security bag check, we found ourselves in the welcome drink room where all ticket holders could enjoy a free vodka Redbull. Unfortunately, despite the fact all the buses hadn’t even arrived yet, and that it was only twenty past six, they had already run out of vodka. Oops.

I can’t imagine why they hadn’t envisioned that everyone would take advantage of that free drink because if Durham students enjoy one activity, it is drinking. But I shall put it down to first night jitters.

As students decked out in their finery trickled into the main arena, practicing their own fashion show walk en route, a countdown on the screen declared it was only 20 minutes until showtime. The perfect amount of time to investigate one of the best perks of DUCFS: The free items on the table. I quickly swiped the perfume and deodorant samples into my bag and plunged into the snacks for some pre-show fortification (given we would be standing for the next three hours).

Free goodies

The atmosphere was growing as the countdown inched closer and closer to zero. Suddenly the stage was full of Durham students strutting their stuff and giving it all they got. I am unsure if it was the wine talking but I do remember thinking “I could do that”. Though I somehow doubt you’ll be seeing me on that stage next year.

The outfits were spectacular, and the models looked extremely professional. I wonder if I’ll see them walking like that around campus as I imagine it must be hard to stop.

Although a back balcony ticket is not the most brag worthy option, I really cannot complain. While we weren’t on the floor tables right beside the stage, touching distance from the models, we still had a very clear view. As we were looking down, we could appreciate the overall effect of the lights and choreography.

All too soon, the famous swimwear/lingerie walk drew the show to a close, and the models strutted backstage for the final time.

The incredible atmosphere created by both the effects and the lively crowd, with many leaning over the barriers to high five the models as they went by, would give anyone a significant ego boost and it was great to see a lot of representation up on the stage. I have to applaud everyone involved for pulling it altogether, as I imagine some degrees have suffered greatly in the process.

In conclusion, DUCFS does indeed live up to the hype. It is a must for the Durham experience but can definitely be done without breaking the bank…

…If we’re going by ticket price alone. Who knows what will happen during the slightly (extremely) tipsy auction?

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