The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

African Student Union Fashion Show Lets Students, Styles Shine

Olivia Miller

Colgate University’s African Student Union (ASU) held its beloved annual fashion show on Saturday, April 13, featuring styles from four different designers. The fashion show brought students together to enjoy a diverse array of African fashion, music and food as attendees cheered on their peers as they walked — and sometimes danced — down the runway.

Designed by the director of the African, Latin American, Asian American and Native American (ALANA) Cultural Center, Esther Rosbrook, the first set of showcased fashions primarily featured long, flowing skirts in colorful swirling prints. Each piece was handmade and one-of-a-kind. 

The second set, Afropa Clothing, stood out with its many unique silhouettes and flaunted denim accents, patchwork designs and bold fabrics.

Junior Gifty Afrifa, co-president of ASU, brought life to the clothing as she danced to “Charm” by Rema and “Truth or Dare” by Tyla while wearing a neon pink two-piece with spiraling, fluttering attachments. 

“ASU has been planning the fashion show since the end of our show last year,” Afrifa said. “So much planning goes into the event and receiving the clothes is one of the most exciting parts. Seeing the clothes on a real life body elevates the piece and accentuates the patterns of the clothes.”

The third set, clothing company MyObioma — named after the indigenous Igbo group of Eastern Nigeria who, after losing the Biafra Civil War in 1970, carried sewing machines on the tops of their heads to mend clothing and transformed into multi-millionares — had several standout pieces, like a many-layered dress with a round silhouette and a whimsical pink outfit of draped chiffon.

Senior Blessed Jimoh sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Paul Simon to commemorate the community, culture and spirit of “coming together” that the ASU fashion show encapsulated. Her upper register captured attention in a moment of beautiful stillness as her voice rang through the air.

The fourth and final set by Chimzi Fashion ended the show with creative cuts and colors. Each piece brought a bold take on traditional designs, from oversized floppy hats to wide, patterned suit jackets. 

Ahead of the event, sophomore Jannah Zabadi, a model for the show, discussed the growth of the fashion show and its importance on campus.

“I am excited to see all the incredible designs the talented artists have created and see a bunch of people coming together to support African cultures, fashion and performances. [ASU] booked the Edge Café last year, but it seems like we need more room for all the awesome things they have planned, so I’m excited to be walking in the [Hall of Presidents],” Zabadi said. “On predominantly white campuses, it is incredibly important to celebrate and support the cultures of this student body. Especially with the legacies of erasure in this country, connecting to and showcasing African cultures works to push back against the deficit narratives that have been so ingrained in hegemonic culture in the U.S.”

Sophomore Yabesi Witinya was also a model in the show and helped to organize the event. Witinya shared the purpose of ASU.

“ASU is a club dedicated to promoting and sharing African culture throughout the campus,” Witinya said. “We welcome students with African heritage as well as those interested in learning about African culture to participate in various events held throughout the academic year, including movie nights, banquets, fashion shows and game nights.”

Afrifa provided some insight about what it’s like to be involved with ASU.

“ASU is a warm and welcoming club, […] dedicated to representing Africa in a way that is different from the stereotypes, such as the continent being poor and starving; instead, we strive to show the richness of African culture. We do this through our meetings as we host game nights, bracelet making events and the fashion show,” Afrifa said. “My favorite part about ASU is the people — there is never a dull moment, and I know when I go to meetings I can have an hour to wind down and have fun.”

The fashion show had it all: eye-catching clothes, gorgeous models, dynamic music and delectable food. The ASU pulled off a stunning demonstration of culture that brought joy to all who attended.

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