c/o Nélida Samara Zepada

c/o Nélida Samara Zepada

On Saturday, April 15 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., an eclectic mix of students and professional models took to the runway in Beckham Hall, showcasing the creations of seven different student designers as well as an exclusive line from Vogue-featured designer Quieesha Burns. Organized by Shasekh Augustin ’23, Finite Fashion highlighted the immense creativity and talent that exists among Wesleyan’s student body and left audience members thoroughly entertained.

The idea for the show first came to Augustin last spring when she was a junior. She was walking back to her room in Hewitt when the scenic springtime atmosphere caught her eye and inspired her to start planning a fashion show that would take advantage of the campus’ natural landscape.

“It was beautiful, it was warm outside, the grass was super green, and I was just thinking, ‘I’ve never seen a fashion show [take place] outside and utilize Wesleyan’s beautiful landscape,’” Augustin said. “I was like, ‘Okay, I need to do this because it’s never been done before. And I’m going to be the first, I’m going to do it.’”

Augustin then began planning the show over the summer as she prepared to enter her senior year. However, despite beginning the process a year in advance, transforming her vision into a reality proved to be an incredibly difficult task. Securing a bookable venue presented many administrative obstacles—the outside designers that Augustin had originally contacted were unresponsive, funds were difficult to receive and even harder to access; and, during the week of the show, an administrative miscommunication left Augustin scrambling last-minute to make sure Burns could attend the show and be paid for her work.

“I had so many days where I was just so defeated, I wanted to give up on the whole thing,” Augustin said. “I didn’t have the energy to keep dealing with all the craziness. But I knew I was going to…. I knew that I would do it regardless because I had put so much energy into it already…. The [show] ended up being amazing and perfect and worth it, [but it was] definitely a roller coaster.”

Despite the many difficulties, Augustin powered through and saw the show to fruition.

“So many parents were there to support the models…and designers, and [they] would talk to me to just congratulate me on all the hard work I put in,” Augustin said. “It was really nice to feel recognized for all the work that I put in…. I really just feel like a boss. I really did that. It was very satisfying and rewarding.”

Situated in Beckham Hall, the runway was lined by LED lights, building an exciting atmosphere of anticipation for the fashion show to come. Every seat was filled, with audience members eager to see their friends show off their work. The designers created unique and stunning pieces, and the models did an incredible job displaying them. The show was brought together by the combination of phenomenally funny emcee Mo Hamid ’23 and Augustin’s hard work, which positively shone through every aspect of the event.

c/o Owen Forbes

c/o Owen Forbes

Augustin reflected on how she had always found supportive and welcoming communities among models and designers while taking part in various fashion shows. Nolan Lewis ’25 shared similar feelings about his experience modeling in Finite.

“It was a massive honor to be a part of Finite Fashion and make history with fellow talented students of color,” Lewis wrote in a message to The Argus. “The show itself was an iconic moment in our school’s history, but above all, let it serve as a reminder that students of color are the culture and are not going anywhere!”

Finite model and designer Pelumi Sokunbi ’25 also enjoyed participating in a student-run fashion show and hopes that more events like this will be held in the future. 

“It was a great experience modeling and designing,” Sokunbi wrote in a message to The Argus. “I really enjoyed working with other students to put this together. You know this is a full[y] student [run] event, and I feel like that just made it…more special to us. We all really worked really hard and I’m proud of everyone. And I hope there’s more opportunities like these for students to explore [their] creative minds.”

Meanwhile, designer Jolexis DeJesus ’23 explained that although she was anxious to present her work, doing so was an exceptionally gratifying experience.

“I was really nervous because I didn’t really know what to expect,” DeJesus said. “You don’t know what people’s reactions are gonna be or how they’re gonna feel about it. But it was a great experience, I really enjoyed the outcome.”

DeJesus collaborated with Dakota Jones ’23 to design a line titled “Neonatal.” The designs featured elevated versions of workwear and streetwear, with inspiration drawn from DeJesus and Jones’s own wardrobes. The pair thrifted and altered clothing pieces and sought to experiment with silhouettes and innovating workwear fashion. In the end, their finished product featured a stellar lineup of designs, each equally iconic as the one before.

As the show’s external designer, Burns showcased her mini contemporary collection, “Tentacles” at Finite. “Tentacles” aims to draw attention to the fast fashion industry and issues of overconsumption. Burns reflected that she was happy to work with the Finite team as well as collaborate with creatives at the University.

“The experience as an outside designer working on the show was great,” Burns wrote in an email to The Argus. “Everyone was super nice and made me feel at home right away. Everyone also listened to my creative perspective and direction for small aspects of my set and I truly appreciated that! My favorite part of Finite was speaking and working with other creatives that were at the show. The musicians, artist, and even the collab with Wesleyan’s AMAZING jewelry designer Maya [Alicki ’24].”

In addition to celebrating Wesleyan’s creative community, Finite Fashion Show also featured a wide range of collaborations between student groups. The event was hosted in partnership with Mic Check, and featured a performance by the University’s only all-Black music collective, Black Raspberry. 

c/o Nélida Samara Zepada

c/o Nélida Samara Zepada

Production Manager Leevon Matthews ’23 explained that there is an increasing overlap between events hosted by students of color, as more and more students on campus look to support each other in their various endeavors and projects. He pointed to how Finite fits within this pattern as a space for fostering community between artists and creatives.

“A lot of students who were unable to share their fashion [designs] are now given a platform.” Matthews said. “Fashion at Wesleyan is a very unspoken and unregulated way of communicating that we have with each other…. A lot of people here are fashionable…. But we don’t usually have spaces to discuss [that] and walk through those relationships. So when you have fashion shows, like the SOC [Student of Color] Fashion Show or the Finite Fashion Show, it gives [an] opportunity for people to have a creative conversation.”

Reflecting on the fashion community at the University, Jones expressed excitement about seeing more people get involved with fashion. 

“There’s a lot of people on campus that are from…Cali and New York,” Jones said. “When you get [lots of people] coming from two of the fashion centers of the states…everybody kind of tends to pick up what everyone else is wearing. It’s cool to see people add their own flair to things…[and] see people do their own thing with fashion content, bring a little bit more of their individuality into their clothing”

Though Finite Show was the first of its kind, Augustin hopes that its legacy will live on through the images and footage from the show, which she is compiling into a zine for her class, “Product Design I” (ARST 270). Her goal is to provide an opportunity for connection among creatives at the University.

“The purpose of it would be to showcase the work of Wesleyan student creatives,” Augustin said. “It would also have all the contact information, so you could reach out if you want to work with them. It would also help build portfolios for the creatives that are having their work published. I thought it’d be a cool way to continue Finite after the event and document all of the important work that was done there, so it’s not just gone forever.”

Looking ahead, Matthews hopes that this event will inspire many more fashion shows at the University.

“I appreciate Shasekh; she [did] so much work to put on an event like this,” Matthews said. “We’re about to graduate but I think if she wanted to do it again, the next one would be even bigger. I hope that [the] SOC Fashion Show goes well and that students are encouraged to keep doing events like this. If they’re reading this, I hope that this makes them want to do more shows [like] Finite.”

Kat Struhar can be reached at kstruhar@wesleyan.edu.

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