Fashion show highlights African culture

Clothes vary from tribal wear to modern styles

By Gioia Johnson | 3/30/14 6:44pm


GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Lakeith Chavers sports traditional African body paint during the African Student Council’s Aspire to Inspire Weekend. The OGE: Fashion Royals of Africa show took place in Kirkoff Center’s Grand River Room this past friday.

As the school year at Grand Valley State University winds down, students begin to get restless. One way to combat these feelings of boredom is to attend some of the many events put on by GVSU student organizations, and one such student organization is the African Student Council, which kicked off its Aspire to Inspire weekend on Friday with its OGE: Fashion Royals of Africa Fashion Show.

To start the weekend on a high note, the ASC put together a show that highlighted the trends, clothing and culture of Africa. The show included a wide variety of clothing collections — from African tribal wear to more modern styles of the culture — and it featured student models and performances, as well as designs and collections from GVSU students.

The show’s main goal was to bring to light how Africa really is instead of the media’s portrayal of it, said Adesinmibola Olabode, president of African Student Council.

“I came here from Nigeria, and I wanted to have an event where we could showcase our roots, our culture, and that we are more than what the media displays. We wanted to showcase who we are and showcase what Africa really is,” Olabode said. “Students will learn to really see a different part of what Africa is and who Africans are. We are modern. We are sophisticated. We are cosmopolitan. We are trying to show a new Africa — the real Africa.”

The Fashion Royals of Africa Fashion Show brought African roots to GVSU’s campus with unique clothing designs, jewelry and apparel. The event provided a variety of entertainment aside from the main event, including an introductory dance number to set the tone and feeling of the African culture.

In between the various collections, the host engaged the audience in participating in the show, themselves. The surprise of an audience participation fashion show quickly got members of the crowd out of their seats and strutting down the catwalk. The audience members got a chance to thrive in the spotlight as they made their way down the runway to the hoots and hollers of their friends and peers. Also featured was a competitive dance-off between members of the crowd.

“This is our first time doing a separate fashion show. We usually do it with our dinner dance. We want to do different events every year, different things to showcase our culture,” Olabode said.

African Student Council’s weekend celebrations continued Saturday with its annual African Film Festival dinner dance.

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