A fashion show first on campus
Multicultural styles on display
Published: Monday, October 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 28, 2013 22:10
Junior Hannah Winand says she entered the university undecided, but knowing she was interested in English education. In the spring of her sophomore year, Winand saw English 295: Introduction to English Education was being offered. The course interested her, she says, and since it was only for those majoring in the subject, she decided to declare.
Over the course of the next few months, she learned a great deal about teaching English and had her desire to major in the subject confirmed, Winand says. This is due to the fact that English 295 is not an ordinary course, where all of the learning is done in the classroom. Rather, the class utilizes lectures and field placement to teach the students about working as an English teacher, English education professor Deborah Bieler says.
The 36 students in the course worked with dozens of high schoolers at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, preparing them for the SATs, Bieler says.
The program has its genesis in Race to the Top, a 2009 initiative that aims to improve education across the country. As part of the action, the state of Delaware won grants to make it possible for every junior in a state public school to take the SAT test for free, Bieler says.
“So I read about that, and I learned that they didn’t earmark any funding for preparation for said SAT, so that sparked an idea, and it was an idea that led to me thinking more about how we as faculty can develop mutually beneficial partnerships with local communities,” Bieler says.
Partly because numerous alumni work as English teachers at Howard, Bieler contacted the school’s principal with a proposal to train students for the SAT, she says. The principal was supportive, and so the idea came to fruition as an actual plan of action, she says.
Working with students in her 295 class, Bieler says she designed lessons and procedures to the program, which would run in spring 2013. Bieler says she had no particular goal in mind for the number of high school students she hoped to work with, although the principal set a goal of 100 students. Ultimately, she says, 85 sophomores and juniors signed up and 76 participated, although not all of those 76 saw the program through to its conclusion in April. As members of the audience leapt onstage in a synchronized dance to V.I.C.’s “Wobble” during intermission, models scrambled behind the stage to change into the next round of clothing.
Approximately 180 people surrounded the stage Saturday evening for the university’s first Multicultural Fashion Show in Trabant Multipurpose rooms. The event raised $578, senior Janet Akinola, president of Delaware African Student Association, says.
Akinola says the group thought of creating a fall fashion show after the success of their annual spring event, Snapshot of Africa.
“We wanted to do something low-key because we didn’t want to do Snapshot twice,” Akinola says.
The Multicultural Fashion Show was sponsored by DASA and co-sponsored by UDress, with performances by Kamal, DASA Dance Troop and Dark Arts.
Junior Aziwung Nguatem, treasurer of DASA, says the executive board reached out to other RSOs to draw a bigger crowd and represent the diverse student body. Each RSO represented different nationalities on campus, Nguatem says.
Sophomore Seraphina Cromwell, the freshman liaison of DASA, says the event opened student’s eyes to the variety of cultures around them.
“Through the fashion, people can see the different cultures and different attires,” Cromwell says.
Models wearing everything from typical American garb to traditional Indian attire took the stage to give a taste of the nationalities they were representing.
Peplums, kimonos and saris swirled together in a sea of colorful ensembles. Tribal prints and intricate trimmings adorned fashionable items.
In between collections, the hosts took the stage to excite and entertain the crowd while models changed into different outfits backstage.
The first collection featured Indian and Bangladeshi attire, with items ranging from the white linen pants to the turquoise sari.
Each RSO brought their own clothes to model. Since they didn’t have a budget for clothes, each RSO brought their own to model, says junior Danielle Andrade, director of philanthropy for UDress. The Indian collection was from two students, the Muslim collection belonged mainly to junior Medina Wilson, president of students for Palestine and Muslim Student Association and UDress brought their own clothes to showcase the American collection. Two designers, Oyato and Libernation, brought their own lines for the African collection.
The night featured dance performances by Kamaal Indian Dance Fusion Team and DASA. Both dances used styles derived from hip-hop and Bollywood.
Next, Wilson took the stage to talk about Middle Eastern and East Asian clothes as well as a new RSO, which, she says, aims to spread awareness about the religion and stereotypes.
“The only way to bring change to policy is to change opinion,” Wilson says.
Wilson introduced the next collection which spanned as far east as China and west as Morocco. The colors of the clothing were akin to earth undertones. Models strutted down the runway in everything from five inch heels to bare feet.
UDress representatives took the stage next to discuss upcoming events and present the following fashion they oversaw.
Andrade, one of the 22 student models in the show, wore garments from the Indian, American and African collections.
Modeling the different fashions allowed Andrade to learn more about other cultures.
“I didn’t realize I was lacking cultural intelligence before the event,” Andrade says. “I became aware of the different cultures through the outfits and the different events through the organizations.”