Appreciating all shapes, sizes, colors and abilities was the theme of an on-campus fashion show this past Tuesday.
The “One Special World Fashion and Multicultural Show,” organized and hosted by the club, One World, took place in the Mandela Room of Old University Union with an attendance of over 220 people. The event raised over $1,500, which went toward building a group home.
One World is also a federally recognized organization, known as “One Special World.” Danielle Preiser, who founded the organization and is a senior majoring in psychology, explained that this name change was made to be more inclusive of everyone’s needs, and that the on-campus club has plans to change its name next semester. Prieser opened the show by reminding the audience that everyone has different qualities.
“We all have needs that are special and unique to ourselves,” Preiser said. “We do not know the individual special needs every one of us needs.”
With this event, One World brought together students, campus organizations and special needs community members to walk the runway, spread awareness and inspire a new mindset.
In her opening speech, Preiser asked the audience to raise their hands if they knew someone with special needs: a friend, family member or even themselves. Preiser later shared that whether it be autism, anxiety or needing 10 hours of sleep each night, everyone has special needs — an idea she continues to promote through her organization.
“The first time I heard [Danielle’s] speech about [how] ‘everyone has special needs,’ it really connected with me,” said Sarah Hall, the fundraising chair of One World and a junior majoring in environmental studies.
The fashion show focused on appreciating the beauty of every individual and changing the stigma associated with having special needs. Preiser explained her personal connection with the organization, sharing that her brother has Fragile X syndrome, which is similar to autism. After reading about the atrocities committed in group homes, Preiser began One World while she was in high school. She was terrified at the thought of her brother going into just any group home, so she decided to build him one. Although her school allowed her to create the club, they denied her funding.
Preiser introduced her brother through a Skype call as he hosted his own show, which he calls “Johnny Time Live.”
During the call, he welcomed the crowd and expressed his gratitude and appreciation for everyone coming to the show as well as those involved in planning.
“He just has those fairytale, pristine lenses and if I could just share that for two seconds or for however many minutes on a screen and allow people to laugh and be carefree,” Preiser said. “[It] has allowed me to feel so beautiful, how could I not share this with everyone? He’s the impetus behind my fire.”
A group of Special Olympians were also at the event, and they strutted down the runway with their own dance moves and poses. Later in the show, they performed the lyrics to a song about friendship using only American Sign Language, while the song played in the background.
“It was very emotional, especially seeing our son up there,” said Vernon Priest of Endicott, whose son participated with the Special Olympics group. “He has high anxiety, so I loved seeing him up there. That’s something he doesn’t usually do. It brought tears to my eyes.”
The multicultural portion of the night included Binghamton students modeling fashions from around the globe, from countries such as Guyana, Nigeria, Pakistan, Spain, India, the Philippines, China and Honduras. There were also dance performances from Binghamton Bhangra and Uyai Nnua African Dance Ensemble.
One of the models who participated in the show, Celine Dorsainvil, a junior majoring in political science and English, commended Preiser for her work with the organization.
“[One World’s] mission and dream is just something that I’ve never seen or heard of before,” said Dorsainvil. “Because of the foundation of it — [Preiser] was fatally ill while pursuing it and the fact that she was able to push through it and see this bigger picture makes it a thousand times more special.”
This was One World’s first fashion event, but they have previously hosted three fundraising walks. Next semester they are planning to host a gala.
“I think at this time especially, the world really needs healing,” Preiser said. “It’s more than just an organization or a club — it’s really a movement.”