Project REACH Fashion Show hit the runway yesterday to showcase different cultures on campus.
The fashion show, sponsored by African Students Association, was at 6 p.m. yesterday in the old bowling alley area of the Campus Center. The show featured 17 students from different cultures modeling attire from all over the globe. In keeping with the spirit of high fashion, formal attire was encouraged for those who attended the show.
Janice Nkrumah, sophomore kinesiology major from Houston, started Project REACH last year as a project for a scholarship for the Office of Multicultural Enrichment. When Nkrumah came to ACU last year, she said it felt bland when it came to cultural experiences around Abilene.
“We had to think of new ideas to enrich culture on campus,” Nkrumah said. “And everyone wears clothes. I want the audience to get a glimpse of what cultures are.”
Last year’s show went well, Nkrumah said, but most of the models wore her own clothes. She said she wanted to expand this year’s show to more than just African culture.
Nkrumah decided to partner with African Students Association for Project REACH this year to not only promote the new multicultural group, but also to encourage interaction between students of different cultures.
Nancy Ndekwe, sophomore business management major from Kigali Rwanda, is the vice president of ASA and was involved with planning the show.
Traditional Asian, African and Hispanic attire was modeled, even the styles of American college students, Ndekwe said. Students were able to see models wearing native cultural fashions and showing off some different outfits, as well.
“We didn’t want it to be, ‘Oh I’m from here so I should wear this,'” Ndekwe said. “We want people to experience other people’s cultures. I hope it impacts the stereotypical ways of thinking of different cultures.”
“This is a chance to say, ‘Hey there’s different cultures here,'” Ndekwe said. “Because basically college is a culture of itself.”
In addition to showing off cultural fashion and traditional clothing, Project REACH’s influence extends out to Abilene and around the globe.
For admission, students could pay $5, or $2 with two cans of food, which will be donated to West Texas Food Bank. The proceeds from the fashion show will be donated to KIVA, a micro-finance company that gives loans to small business start-ups around the world. Two different vendors, Premier Designs and Women Worth A Million, sold jewelry and beauty products from different countries, as well.
Nkrumah selected these organizations because of the wide range of people they impact.
“Culture should hit everyone,” Nkrumah said. “Both locally and outward. I hope from this people can be more open-minded when it comes to culture.”