Ending with a standing ovation, the Black Student Union’s (BSU) annual fashion show kicked off Homecoming Weekend on Friday. Showcasing black student pride, the show featured various multicultural designers and models that displayed a variety of styles, including streetwear, athleisure and business casual.
This year’s show was titled “HBINGCU,” and followed the story of a typical homecoming weekend at a historically black university. The story was divided into different parts of the day as models got ready to enjoy the weekend, and scenes included a pep rally, a halftime show and a football game. The Mandela Room in the University Union, where the event was held, was decorated with vivid green lights and an abundance of multicultural organization banners, which showcased unity.
The opening scene, titled “Wake Up,” showed models beginning their day and getting ready for homecoming events. Models wore pajama pants and silk loungewear designed by Tiamat Fontes as they struck a fierce pose for the camera.
Another scene was dedicated to women of color in business. All of the pieces, which ranged from pantsuits to skirts, were designed by Simone Sullivan, catering to the business casual side of women’s fashion. Although the clothing was meant for a professional environment, many of the pieces were versatile and could be used for nightly outings. Models confidently walked down the runway ready to take on the day, giving women of color a spotlight that deviated from the sexualized images often seen in pop culture.
The halftime show featured performances from Binghamton University’s X-Fact’r Step Team as they engaged in a hard-hitting step battle and the Black Dance Repertoire, which engaged the audience with dances inspired by majorette dancers and featuring music by Beyoncé. In addition to the dancers, a marching band comprised of kids and teenagers from Brooklyn United Music & Arts also performed, breaking into high-energy dances and stick tricks throughout the show.
The high energy from the marching band was contagious and as the night progressed, the audience became invested in the models’ every move.
The football scene featured an all-male cast of color going head-to-head. The clothing in this scene was designed by Jarret Dines and Austin Johnson from their brand Epok. Models sported blue and red tracksuits and athletic shorts as they performed stunts. The segment created a sense of camaraderie and black boy joy as smiles were brought to audiences’ faces.
The closing of the show conveyed the show’s main message. Titled “The Culture,” the last scene demonstrated that even with having descent from Africa in common, we as a community are composed of multifaceted individuals. In this scene, models were able to express their own personalities, walking the runway under different categories. The models got a chance to showcase themselves as opposed to clothing. This scene also catered to the different ethnic identities within the African diaspora for Latinx, African and Caribbean students.
Although we go to a predominantly white Institution, this year’s BSU fashion show reminded all of us that no matter what, we should be proud of our melanated skin. Our community is filled with many talented and multidimensional individuals. We are leaders, creators, artists, game-changers and the future. We will continue to progress and grow as long as we unite and support one another.