RAH Co-Hosts “Blast From the Past” Fashion Show Displays Diversity

Two models walk the runway during the "Blast from the Past" fashion show during RAH's Black History Month event. This event shared the cultural changes of fashion over time. - Photo / Kariyah Bennett

The first event for Black History Month was co-hosted by Rowan After Hours, Black Culture League and Beauty in Distress, with a night filled with amazing designs, acting and reflecting on characters that contributed to African American heritage. Pieces included elegant ball gowns and flapper dresses with amazing sequins. Fashion trends back then that inspired today’s fashion were on display. 

The fashion show was representing Black cultures throughout the different eras where diversity wasn’t possible, which spoke to the audience throughout the evening.

One of the eras that really stood out was the representation of LL Cool J, an hip-hop icon in the 90s. This really shifted the narrative that rappers can have a diverse style and not be misrepresented in poor narratives.

Another aspect was the connection the models had to the characters and pieces they were representing. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing different time periods shown with people of color, I don’t really see a lot of that even with historical research for different types of period pieces,” Kate-Rose Wilburn, one of the models, said. “A lot of the models were generally white so it’s going to be interesting to see those pieces on people of color because that existed. I’m super excited just to see that.”

When we see different eras being reflected throughout history, we don’t see much diversity in the models. Changing the narrative and showing more diverse models changed emphasised to the audience what models what have looked like in that era of history. This was the aim for the models and the fashion show as a whole.

“It was a huge success. This was our first time working with Rowan After Hours and we were able to implement everyone’s ideas, BCL definitely showed up for us and we were able to feature them in the show as a performer, and as a model, so that was exciting,” Beauty in Distress president, Hydia Bearfield said. “We were able to make this happen because of the Rowan Theater department and a lot of the models also bringing in pieces to represent Today’s look.”

Fortunately, if you were unable to make it to this fashion show, Beauty in Distress plans on hosting and putting on an even bigger event in April. 

“Here at RAH we want to create a space, community and a safe space for people to truly be themselves and embrace others that’s why we’re here,” RAH Graduate Coordinator, Mustafa Abdus-Sabuur said.

For more information about the future events these organizations will be hosting, students should visit Proflink for more cultural events going on the rest of the semester.

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