VoC makes new fashion statement

Laura Schocker

Fashion met activism Sunday night with condoms strung from skirts, wedding dresses constructed from trash bags and stilettos paired with lab coats.

“We’re promoting awareness through fashion. It’s a fresh and innovative way to reach students,” said Medill senior Shruti Kumar, who helped organize VoC’s charity fashion show called “Wear Your Voice.” “The ways student groups usually try to approach students all start seeming the same after a while, so we decided to try something new.”

Around 200 spectators filled the folding chairs set up at the dimly lit Patten Gym for a runway show that addressed women’s rights, gay rights, environmentalism, racial profiling, freedom of religion and the AIDS crisis.

The show raised about $2,000 for Oprah’s Angel Network, Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and Rocky Mountain Institute.

Students at the International Academy of Design and Technology designed the clothing, and the Barbizon modeling agency — as well as a few Northwestern students — modeled the apparel. Members of VoC productions have been coordinating the fashion show since the fall.

“I’ve never done anything like this,” said Weinberg sophomore Rebecca Sameroff, of her modeling gig for the show. “I have 5,000 curlers in my hair and huge fake eyelashes that I can’t see through. I’m tall to begin with, but I have to wear heels with really complicated outfits. If I fall, I won’t be getting up.”

Sameroff and the other models prepared backstage at Patten Gym by coating their high heels with hairspray so they would stick to the runway and practicing their struts and pivots.

“At this point, it’s just about getting it done,” said Weinberg sophomore Liepa Gust before her modeling debut for the show. “There’s so much work that there’s no time to be nervous.”

An audiovisual presentation introduced each of the topics and highlighted an NU student with a personal interest in the issue.

With the runway lights flashing, the models for women’s rights stripped off lab coats to reveal dresses, and those for the AIDS crisis sashayed in red ribbons and condom packages.

Amid the pulsing music shaking Patten Gym’s floorboards, the male models for gay rights donned skirts, gathering the most applause for the night, and those for freedom of religion shed their outer layers to display crosses and Stars of David.

“The U.S. is less than 5 percent of the world population, but they use 30 percent of the non-renewable resources,” said the presenter from environmentalism before the models displayed clothes constructed from recycled and natural materials. Finally, the models for racial profiling displayed ethnic fashions.

The night ended with a special Mother’s Day tribute by the show’s writer and director Kenneth Chu, who brought his bashful mother on stage.

“She’s real proud of me,” said Chu, a Weinberg senior. “She wasn’t completely aware of what I was doing and I think everything went really well. It was a completely original and very creative event.”

Reach Laura Schocker at [email protected]

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