Amplifying diversity through fashion

Students strutted down the runway in cultural garb and with pride on their sleeves at the Multicultural Fashion Show hosted by Castleton University’s chapter of NAACP on March 5. 

The event, which began at 6 p.m., was the brainchild of NAACP Secretary and sophomore political science major Kayon Morgan. Thirteen cultures were represented among the 17 participating models who were asked to craft an outfit for three different categories: streetwear, formalwear and traditional attire.

“We have so many students internationally, exchange students, even I was born in Jamaica and I’m here. And oftentimes we don’t talk about it enough. We don’t really talk about where we’re from and what our identities are. So this [event] shows Castleton how diverse we truly are,” Morgan said. 

Though Morgan said the idea for the show had been in the works since last semester, it was only two weeks prior to the event that things really began to come together with models and planning. 

“I feel like we really needed to give it all a good amount of time to really make it what it is. And I am so proud of it,” Morgan said. “And I definitely had a vision, but the vision could really not come to life without everybody else, truly.”

Students were charged $5 for entry, there was a $10 admittance for all other audience members, and guests were invited to purchase $5 raffle tickets for the evening’s grand prize — a three night, no-deadline vacation for four to Paradise Villa by the White Bay Villas Company in the British Virgin Islands. 

The prize, which was donated by the mother of NAACP Treasurer Liliana Farrell, was drawn at the end of the night and awarded to freshman Emily Bouchard. 

Models for the evening represented cultures that spread the globe including Japan, Pakistan, Laos, Jamacia and many more — and the smiles that graced their faces were exemplary of the pride they felt in participating. 

“(We joined) because we wanted to represent the culture,” freshman Ashlesha Mainali representing Nepal said. “This is very unique. And we can see the diversity within Castleton University and represent who we are.”

Nathanial Ray Dito, a student exhibiting his Filipino culture at the event, said that though he may not have originally thought participating was for him, he enjoyed the opportunity.

“It started off with some of us dragging each other [into it]. We went to the meeting, and once we attended the meeting, we got to pressure our other friends into doing it,” he said. 

With extra chairs needed to accommodate the plethora of guests, it was clear from the start of the show that the Castleton community was also excited to see models showcase themselves through fashion.

Attendees praised the show and said they hope to see it return next year. 

“This should be an annual event. The NAACP has taken off since it has been created. And this would be something that would totally showcase all the representations that they’re bringing to the table,” junior Maria Page said.

Morgan said she was extremely happy and grateful to have seen such a positive turnout and that she and other NAACP members are hoping to host the event again next year. 

“(The turnout) was a big deal for the NAACP because it showed that the Castleton community showed up for us and that we are valuable. In a predominately white school, it’s so easy for us to feel unvaluable and like we don’t have the support. However, last night was a great reminder,” Morgan said. 

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