ALANA’s Second Annual Multicultural Fashion Show is Traditional, in a Modern Way

The Africana, Latin, Asian and Native American (ALANA) Cultural Center held its second annual Multicultural Fashion Show on Friday, Oct. 21, under a starry series of string lights and a stage enveloped by an audience of about 150 attendees. The event occurred during the University’s Family Weekend, which brought both students and parents together to observe a variety of students’ artistic expressions through clothing, makeup and dance.

A playlist of fierce runway music curated by sophomore Jose Arriaza, which consisted of hits across languages, faded into the stage as host and sophomore Clementine Aboagye joined Director of the ALANA Cultural Center Esther Rosbrook to preface the night’s proceedings. Upon her entrance to the outdoor stage, Rosbrook met the audience’s cheering with a thoughtful remark — she advised attendees to enter the ALANA Cultural Center if anyone should need scarves or gloves for the viewing. 

“We want you all to stay warm,” said Rosbrook. “We are going to have a beautiful lineup; we’ve worked so hard to be here for this show.” 

Within the planning process, Aboagye volunteered for her role, given her earnest interest in the fashion show’s mission: to give a stage to varying cultural identities so that the student models may express their identity through clothing. Aboagye commented on how her West African identity supported the curation of her hosting skills.

“This summer, I went to Ghana, where I was born, to MC for my brother’s birthday party. [I enjoyed] being able to stand in front of people and engage with the audience […] I love leading things,” Aboagye said.

The crowd matched Aboagye’s energy on stage, where in between phrases such as “How are you all feeling tonight?” and “Let’s get the energy going!” she broke into dance and the audience cheered. As she introduced the first group of models, Aboagye stepped aside, and a variety of student models preceded onstage one by one. Highlights from the first round included Junior Valeria Morales Ciriaco’s Peruvian-inspired fluffy red skirt, which matched a red lip. Another student model, Senior Marisa Modugno, combined a modern green slip dress with a pearly lace shawl traditional to the Philippines. After the first round, Modugno took the stage to explain the history behind her look. Modugno’s family, who provided one of the pieces she modeled, was in attendance as they and other attendees were visiting for Colgate’s annual Family Weekend.

“I’m half Filipino and half-Italian, so, my mom gave me this traditional Filipino shawl, and I combined it with other things I had, including these tights that my aunt gave me,” Modugno explained. “I just like to showcase different parts of my identity and the way that culture has evolved to incorporate tradition and modernity.”

Following Ciriaco and Modugno’s walks were a series of male-identifying student models who showed off their sneakers, flaunted crop tops and shone in sparkly eyeshadow. The lack of adherence to gender norms was characteristic of ALANA’s show, whose models varied widely in age; one look that particularly riled the audience featured a toddler in a Peruvian alpaca hat — a knit beanie with braids of yarn below both ears. Another look that stood out to the audience was Senior Kameron Rhodes’ animated walk; Rhodes confidently strutted down the runway in a blue monotone jumper, which they removed and tied to their waist, showing off a crop top and waving a finger at the crowd.

Between the models, Colgate’s K-Pop Dance crew Sipsam gave two performances, the first an interpretive dance cover of “Burn It” by Golden Child. The group, which consisted of about seven dancers, turned heads as they cleared a circle in the crowd to perform. 

The ultimate mission of ALANA’s show was reaffirmed by Aboagye at the show’s close, as she encouraged students to foster the identity-centric confidence that was reflected in her hosting. 

“Showcasing my culture and basking in my identity, that’s what grounds me,” Aboagye said. “I know that the identity I have to share is something that I’m proud of, and I don’t have any reason to shy away from that.”

The entire footage from ALANA’s second annual multicultural show, along with last year’s show, can be streamed on Colgate’s Vimeo.