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Group fashion show recognizes culture, justice

| Friday, April 7, 2017

The Black Cultural Arts Council (BCAC) will hold their annual fashion show, “Just Us: The Enlightenment,” in Washington Hall at 7 p.m. Saturday, in collaboration with Latin Expressions’ show, “Just: a Social Justice Showcase,” which will be held Friday. In addition to the monologues and outfits showcased during the fashion show, recipients of the Frazier Thompson scholarship — for members of the black community with at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) who have developed leadership skills — will also be recognized during the show, sophomore Sierra Mayhew, the show’s stylist, said.

Sophomore Reinaldo Angola-Hernandez, fashion show co-coordinator, first became involved in the show during his freshman year, after upperclassmen encouraged him to audition to be a model. After participating as a model, he decided to become one of the show’s coordinators.

“It was really fun, because I think at first I didn’t have much confidence, but then throughout all the practices that we had … it was very encouraging,” he said. “We just had a very good atmosphere to be in with all the models there, and we were creating art, in a way, so I was excited.”

The show’s theme, “Just Us,” was originally proposed by Iris Outlaw, the BCAC advisor, sophomore Erin Williams, fashion show co-coordinator, said.

“She said ‘Just Us’ and then [senior] Marissa [Taylor], who’s our president, said ‘Oh, it’s like quote from Richard Prior,’ who’s one of the most influential comedians ever,” Williams said. “It says, ‘If you’re looking for justice, that’s just what you’ll find — just us.’ Which is leading into the fact that justice means imprisoning black men, or black women.

“It’s talking about the fact that there is a problem with mass incarceration within the black community and justice never means justice for black people. It means justice against black people, or what others would call justice.”

The show will feature a number of black models and black artists, who are often underrepresented in fashion, Mayhew said.

“Typically you wouldn’t be able to go to a fashion [show] and see all black women modeling the clothing, and you wouldn’t be able to see mainly black artists,” she said. “I think we have all black artists featured, so it deals a lot with representation since the media kind of underrepresents our group.”

Mayhew, who has interned at “Elle” magazine and runs her own fashion blog, said the show will feature three dresses from Monse, a fashion line started by Notre Dame graduate Fernando Garcia with fashion designer Laura Kim, among other outfits.

“Their first season was really well taken, and everyone loves it now,” she said. “So it’s becoming one of the big names for the upcoming fashion brands, and he’s also the creative designer of Oscar de la Renta.”

Williams said she hopes the show will leave people thinking about what they may have missed while they watched it.

“I hope it’s like a good movie,” she said. “Like, when people were seeing ‘Get Out,’ I heard a lot of people say everyone needs to see it twice because they miss something. So I hope it’s something people talk about with each other and have to talk about to see what they missed.”

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