After months of planning, practicing and rehearsing, a group of models and performers finally took the stage at the Black Student Union’s 11th annual fashion show. The models’ choreographed routines shook Mason Hall, where students from Baruch and other schools cheered and applauded as their friends and family members came out on stage. During rehearsals, although the female models did not wear fashion show garments, they still sported sleek pumps in order to break the shoes in and practice walking fiercely. While most of the women matched the heels with comfortable jeans or a simple T-shirt, some sported elaborate dresses and printed skirts with new textures. The men dressed as they would have for the fashion show during the rehearsal sessions.
On the night of the long-awaited event, models broke out into their respective poses and strutted down the stage, championing all-black ensembles, while a DJ laid out flashy beats. The first division of the show was dedicated to patterns that anthropomorphized sleekness and aloofness. One of the initial all-male groups that appeared on stage sported a stern guise. They wore unbuttoned black suit jackets with a plain dark t-shirt underneath and black sneakers. Each model took his place on stage in one of five designated spots and stood still for a moment, their eyes scanning the crowd. To the spectators’ surprise, they erupted into a dance routine to New Edition’s “If It Isn’t Love.” Their moves broke the penetrating silence.
After that set of models took a bow and proceeded backstage, the DJ brought out the host of the event. The two exchanged witty banter and tried to hype up the crowd before introducing the next set of models. “What are we going to do when someone comes to the stage?” the host asked. “Make some noise!” The host brought out a performer who sang an a cappella version of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a poem adaptation that the NAACP adopted as its official song.
Two members of Phi Beta Sigma, a Baruch honors organization, came out on stage and performed a series of explosive step routines. Following their piece, the next set of models came out. These ladies showed off elegant solid-colored costumes as they filed in one at a time from each side of the stage. Various performances followed, including an interpretive dance feature to Beyonce’s “Check Up On It.”
The second division paid tribute to a local entrepreneur’s line called “Always Eating Better,” according to Marlee Carayol, BSU’s director of marketing. Models sashayed down the stage in fitted jackets, the brand’s logo etched onto a prominent spot of each garment. The articles of clothing ranged from sweatshirts to t-shirts to jackets, but each pushed a casual statement. According to the website for Always Eating Better, designer Tony H.C., a Baruch student, “created A3B to express a different and lavish lifestyle for young entrepreneurs. His main goal and target was young men & woman in the Harlem, New York. He wanted show society their worth and in the world, by overcoming the obstacles we face daily.”
The DJ and host brought out a street beatboxer who mystified audience members with his talent. He performed in increments, adding a new sound each time. The first level, as indicated by him, consists of standard beatboxing. Transitioning into the second level means adding a different sound while still maintaining the established beat from the prior level. His performance generated loud applause and cheers. Carayol said that one of the coordinators of the fashion show found the beatboxer performing in subway cars and asked him to come down.
Toward the end of the fashion show, the models paraded down the stage in a circular fashion, hands together in applause for and support of one another. Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic” closed out the last division of the fashion show. “I think the show is great. It really promotes positivity and confidence. It’s something I hope to see continue at Baruch for a long time,” Carayol said. “It really promotes confidence for kids to be able to walk out on stage.”
Carayol believes that the fashion show has many benefits, including the fact that it gives up-and-coming designers and students a chance to shine.