Multicultural Affairs to host fashion show

By CiaraShook

Multicultural Affairs will present “Kaleidoscope,” their second fashion show fundraiser, which will showcase designs from around the world this Friday.

“Kaleidoscope” will show Columbia’s diverse cultures by featuring unique fashions from around campus and as far away as Tokyo.  All of the proceeds from this event will go to Chicago Cultural Alliance,  a nonprofit consortium working to build an understanding of cultural diversity in the community. The show will feature several  student organizations including the International Student Organization, Common Ground, Black Student Union,  Asian Student Organization and Latino Alliance.

This event is a spin-off of last year’s “Back to School” show, which was coordinated by junior television major Jillian Nettles and senior arts, entertainment and media management major Shenelle Blair.

Blair and Nettles have always been friends and they share a passion for fashion. The fundraiser was originally their idea.  Columbia’s office of Multicultural Affairs liked their first show and decided to produce “Kaleidoscope” for

Parents’  Weekend.

“I had all these ideas, but I wasn’t able to put them into anything because I’m not organizing my own show,” Nettles said. “[Blair and I] put our heads together, wanting do a show for a cause. That’s how we got the first fashion show started.”

Last year’s “Back to School” fashion show was also hosted by Multicultural Affairs and the $500 proceeds went to the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, according to Blair.

Kimberly Weatherly, director of African-American Cultural Affairs, said the clothes will be modeled by a very diverse student population.

“This is our tribute to Parents’ Weekend,” Weatherly said. “It’s a cornucopia of all our cultures that parents, family, faculty and staff can see.”

Sheila Carter, executive director of  Multicultural Affairs, said “Kaleidoscope” is part of a bigger picture of the office’s mission,  which is getting students of different cultures to work together.

“Building this together will make the event not just fun, but it will add to the broader importance of diversity and why it’s a part of who we say we are here at Columbia,” Carter said. “It’s another way that we can walk the walk and still do what we do.”

Blair and Nettles commissioned the work of student designers, as well as designers from as far away as Tokyo for the cultural fashion show.

“Our Asian Student Organization has outfits and designers from Tokyo,” Nettles said. “Latino Alliance and ISO has designers out of state. The designers got fabrics imported from Italy.”

Blair said each organization found their own designers to lend clothing for the runway. With 10 to 25 outfits in each section, “Kaleidoscope” will show more than 80 costumes from the different clubs, all of which will be modeled by Columbia students.

Chicago Cultural Alliance is also participating in the show by bringing historical clothing from the different cultures that will be worn by the models. The show will have nine runs, which are themed sections of the show.  There will be one run for each organization: a male run, a female run, the Chicago Cultural Alliance run and a finale in which the models will wear their everyday clothes.

Blair and Nettles found the models through online searches and reaching out to the organizations.

“We had a good turnout for auditions and we had a lot of different ethnicities,” Nettles said. “We have a wider range than last year: Latino, Asian, black and white.”

“Kaleidoscope” will take place on Oct. 16 in the Conaway Center on the first floor of the 1104 Center, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., at 7 p.m., with a meet-and-greet at 6 p.m. Donations for Chicago Cultural

Alliance will be accepted in lieu of ticket sales.