This past Thursday, April 18, Wesleyan students took style into their own hands in a group fashion show for WesFest. The show was one of the Admitted Students of Color Program events for WesFest. Proceeds from the night went back to the Office of Admission, which organized the show, to allow the Office to continue funding these campus events in the future. Event co-chair Heather King ’13 spent the semester planning the event with Wesleyan’s Students of Color Interns and Admissions Deans.
Advertising and Publicity team member Christian Nunez ’16 explained the purpose of the fashion show.
“I believe that the overall goal of hosting the show is to illustrate how fun and creative Wesleyan can be, even when hosting a fashion show,” wrote Nunez in an email to The Argus. “Wes is its own small family, and it’s important to have events such as the fashion show to join us all together to have a good time, welcome the prefrosh, and just make them feel comfortable and excited about Wes.”
King and Nunez agreed that the event is not only a showcase for fashion designs, but also a fun opportunity for students to express their creativity.
“It’s not supposed to be anything per se. We love to see those designers who really put a lot of effort into their designs but we also enjoy those who work with concepts and have really interesting line ideas,” wrote King in an email to The Argus.
The designers paraded down the runway in whatever style accompanied the theme of the clothing line. Struts ranged from a classic walk and demure pose to twerking and locking lips at the end of the runway.
The clearest indication of each clothing line’s purpose and theme was printed in the programs given out at the door. The designers could be as vague, silly, or specific about their vision as they wanted. These descriptions helped guide the audience, but unfortunately, the programs were not all fully printed or completely legible. In spite of the messiness, the moment the models took the runway, it became apparent to the audience whether the clothes were wearable, works of art, or statement pieces. One standout in the last category was a pair of boxers covered in wrapped condoms, modeled by Johnny LaZebnik ’16, matched with a dress with an unwrapped-condom-decorated bodice, modeled by Judy Lee ’13.
In a more traditional vein, Jalen Alexander ’14, Maggie Feldman-Piltch ’14, and Derrick Holman ’16 designed a collection titled “Urban(e) Line.” Alexander described the inspiration for the line in an email to The Argus.
“We really wanted to take sophisticated business-wear (Urbane) and mix it with street fashion and club-wear (urban),” he explained. “Hence, we took on the name Urban(e). Our line was heavily focused on repurposing and crafting. We wanted the line to be eco-friendly and leave the smallest footprint possible.”
Later on in the show, Amanda Distler ’15 modeled a line of shorts designed by her close friends Geneva Jonathan, Orelia Jonathan, and Leyna Donaldson, all ’15. This particular clothing line featured pre-made shorts that had been purchased and repurposed.
“All designs were made by us; the shorts were cut, ripped, dyed, frayed, designed, manual-labored over all by us,” wrote Orelia Jonathan in a message to The Argus. “We probably tried on at least 50 different pairs of high wasted jeans til we found enough for our models.”
“We did a lot of dying, distressing, and studding, but we also did sew things like lace or pockets on a few pairs,” Donaldson added.
The finished products are definitely wearable and unique. As all of the models were allowed to keep their shorts after the show, they should be visible around campus as the weather heats up.
“I can’t wait to wear them all summer long,” Distler wrote in a message to The Argus. “You should definitely check them out this season on Foss!”
Distler also recalled the scene backstage that we audience members missed.
“Backstage was so much fun,” she wrote. “The excitement was buzzing through every model and designer back there. Everyone was helping each other out, between last minute make-up fixes or helping each other oil-up for the runway. We were all laughing, dancing, cheering for each other, and taking pictures, having a good time.”
Some of the clothes had a distinct purpose, but others seemed to come from a muddled source of inspiration. Many showed unique artistry, while others were perhaps a little bit hastily thrown together.
Certainly, this WesFest treat was a unique way to show prospective students just how many opportunities Wesleyan offers to have fun and express yourself. No matter your overall impression of the show, it gave Wesleyan students a chance to come together and harness their creativity in a relaxed and welcoming setting.