One Special World is making use of fashion and open casting to highlight diversity.
On Sunday, May 6, the club is hosting its second annual Multicultural Fashion Show. The show will feature models of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and ethnicities walking down the runway, modeling fashion unique to their heritage. Special Olympians will also be included in the lineup. All of the proceeds will go toward building a group home for individuals with developmental disabilities, of which one of the residents will be the brother of One Special World founder, Danielle Preiser, ‘17.
Jessica Senzer, secretary of One Special World and a junior majoring in English, said that this event is not only a fundraising opportunity for the organization, but also a means of promoting understanding.
“[Preiser] founded One Special World, originally, to build this group home, but now she’s working to eliminate the stigma of special needs also, and it’s taken a much more educational route,” Senzer said.
Models will grace the catwalk — or rather the stage in the University Union’s Mandela Room — accompanied by descriptions about “where they come from, why they love who they are, why they love their culture and so forth,” according to Catherine Castillo, president of One Special World and a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience. Though she was unable to attend last year’s show, Castillo said she is eager to host an event that celebrates people’s differences.
“The whole goal of our organization is to celebrate individuality. We advocate special needs, of course, and so one of the things that we portray or what we speak about the most is how everyone has special needs and how everyone is unique in their own way and because of that, that’s how we are one special, beautiful world,” Castillo said.
Castillo said One Special World has also been reaching out to other on-campus organizations to perform or attend the show. Signing with the Stars, a group which signs popular songs instead of singing them, will be performing at the event, but Castillo said she hopes an a cappella group will be able to perform as well.
“We’re also trying to find other cultural groups to come and so far many of them are busy, but we’re trying to see if individual performances can occur as well, if students just want to participate.” Castillo said.
One Special World has previously hosted a coffeehouse event at the Food Co-Op on campus as a safe space for student performers to showcase their talent, as well as a Fall Field Day and various fundraising events. This will be the organization’s second time putting on their Multicultural Fashion Show.
Castillo said she is adamant about casting a diverse group of models and making sure each feels comfortable in his or her own skin. One Special World has used both its Instagram account and Facebook event page to scout for models, as well as makeup artists.
“Through this fashion show, I want to be the one to demonstrate that uniqueness is beautiful in its own way and that you should not be ashamed of where you come from, who you are, where you are now and to just be happy with who you are as a person. That’s what we’re trying to celebrate: individuality, happiness, uniqueness and just being you,” Castillo said.
One Special World’s Multicultural Fashion Show will take place on Sunday, May 6, from 5 p.m to 7 p.m. in the Mandela Room. Presale tickets are $7, and those purchased at the door will be $10.