Ravonne Cockfield & Ibrahim Jibrell Staff Writer
I bet you’ve never attended a show like this before! An interesting detail about this event was that it took place in the dark. That’s right, the African club decided to host a spotlight fashion show in the gym. The name of the event was called, “Roots: A Journey Back In Time”. If you’re unsure what a spotlight fashion show is, imagine this: You’re in the audience facing the runway in complete darkness, there are no lights on with the exception of 2 extremely bright spotlights focused at the runway. These type of fashion shows are super trendy, and are surprisingly more common than you may think. Regardless of the concept sounding a little odd, some very successful designers such as Anthony Vaccarello and Simon Spurr have put on shows with spotlights as well. This event was executed to primarily show an appreciation for African print clothing. With this being said, the audience was able to see traditional African print designs, in addition to a more modern take on clothes containing this African fabric.
This was a free event that was definitely worth attending. It was extremely interactive and hosted by an amateur comic, who turned out to be one of the designers for the event. This show was far from what you would expect to see at a standard fashion event.
Multiple, distinguished sets represented each designer’s looks. Each set was arranged differently. The way models would come down the runway differred for each scene. For example, the first set was a designer whose looks focused more on traditional African style clothing. The models in this set each performed various African dances as they worked their way down the catwalk.
The night didn’t just focus on fashion. In between sets, when the host wasn’t making conversation with the crowd, there were spoken word performances, a mini runway strut, and a dance competition from people called out of the audience. All in all, this was a night of laughter and fun, but more importantly, a night to recognize and appreciate the beauty of African culture and their clothing.
A numerous amount of wonderfully constructed garments had made their way down the runway, but what really resonated with the attendees was the last scene of the night. This set was catered to recognizing gun violence and police brutality within the African American community. This was a very moving and impactful scene that was successfully delivered. For this particular set, the models were wearing their own clothes. Much of the focus was on the handmade signs and even the extremely brief skits they would perform. The models re-enacted real instances of gun violence and police brutality of those who lives were lost to it. They honored kids such as Trayvon Martin, and movements such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”
Junior, Rebecca Olandzobo, secretary of the club, shared her experiences regarding the show with The Campus Lantern. She loves the African Club, saying that her very large family got even larger after joining. When asked about the process of putting on such a show, she states, “Every year the e-board already has the notion that we are going to have the fashion show, so at our first club meeting, we tell our members that the event is coming up an we need their help with coming up with a theme… we vote on the top two themes. We pick the final theme based on what educational message we want to send as well as how entertainment and decorations can be incorporated. If we cannot decide between them, we take aspects of both themes and intertwine them.” She went on to tell how there were a total of three designers who contributed. All three were African and helped provide authenticity. She ended her interview by giving her favorite part of the show, the traditional scene, stating that it was something they had never tried before.
The show was intended to be a journey back in time, and that’s exactly what was given to us. It was a journey recognizing the elegance of African print clothing, while also bringing awareness to issues which have taken the lives of many and persisted for far too long. Congrats to the African club for dedicating their time and effort into a culturally conscious event and for bringing awareness to the forefront in both African fashion and major societal issues.
“It was a journey recognizing the elegance of African print clothing, while also bringing awareness to issues which have taken the lives of many”