This year’s show, titled “The Chronicles of Culture,” offered a unique spin on “The Chronicles of Narnia.” The show combined cultural themes with social issues, engaging with different communities and displaying different aesthetics over the course of six scenes.
“There was a lot of thought that was put into the roles of the characters and connecting it to culture,” said Monet Schultz, president of BSU and a senior majoring in sociology. “There was a great storyline and the pieces were really amazing. The designers were really great and our models, of course, were awesome, so it was a great show.”
This year, the show began with a free pre-show. Around 350 attendees were treated to food and video games and also had the chance to meet some of the artists who contributed to the show. Makeup artists and hair stylists showed off their talents while fashionistas milled about taking pictures of each other’s outfits, discussing how they expected the show to go. Schultz said the pre-show allowed the artists to showcase their work.
“We [had] a lot of cool designers, we [had] a lot of cool vendors [and] we [had] a lot of students and professionals who’ve put a lot of work into this show,” Schultz said.
Once the show began, motocross denim and racing jackets from the brand SINA shared the stage with logo-heavy tees and rare sneakers like Nike Special Field Air Force 1s.
Malik Ashbourne, a designer from the Bronx and the mind behind SINA, said that his goal for the night was to debut a new look.
“I call it ‘blackstar’ — a mixture of the rockstar vibe with that royal Egyptian feel, which is what I go for when I dress every day,” he said. “I just want to spread the magic that I use on myself to everybody else.”
Ian Hercules, a junior majoring in physics, reflected on his time at the show and noted that SINA’s designs were his favorite.
“I didn’t really understand the theme, [but] some of the fashion was fire,” he said. “I would buy some of the clothes they had up there. [SINA’s] clothes, I would wear any day.”
Streetwear had a heavy presence on the runway, with most designers at least including some street-inspired looks in their scenes. For those who were more experimentally inclined, there were avant-garde options as well, complete with translucent materials and silky detailing designer.
Angie Chang, a member of Fashion Runway club and a senior majoring in financial economics, said she enjoyed the looks that came down the runway.
“I think this entire show is really great,” said Chang. “It’s very diverse, it’s very elegant [and] it’s very carefully planned.”
Although clothing took center stage, this wasn’t your typical fashion show. Another layer was added to the event by opening each of the six scenes with a different skit, including one reflecting on life in Harlem, another exploring the dichotomy between the lives of wealthy white New Yorkers and people of color and another examining racial profiling and police brutality.
The student-run show has been a Homecoming Weekend staple since the 1970s. With on-stage dancing and singing, plus interactions between the performers and audience, it was clear this was a community event.
The models didn’t stick to the traditional runway strut either, with plenty of onstage interaction between the models, which created a sultry mood that captivated the audience. The attendees yelled out models’ names, whether cheering for their friends on stage or expressing their appreciation for their looks.
Beyond the audience participation, community was a focus in the outcome of the event. All proceeds from the show will support the BSU Youth Program, which brings children from the Binghamton area to campus each Saturday to take part in fun and educational activities with BSU members. The total raised was unavailable when this article went to press.
Host Marv Glover, a standup comedian from Brooklyn, said that he appreciated the significance of the show beyond fashion.
“For people of color to be able to come out and just enjoy culture and each other and fashion, it’s incredible,” Glover said. “You can feel it in the air.”
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