Cultural Clubs Model Global Style at Fashion Show

Gasson 100 served as the setting for a multicultural expedition on Oct. 21: In celebration of Immigration Week, Asian Caucus, Fashion Club, Korean Students Association (KSA), Organization of Latin American Affairs, the Taiwanese Cultural Organization, and various AHANA+ cultural clubs collaborated to present the Cultural Fashion Show. The event afforded student organizations the opportunity to showcase their traditional dress and share their culture with the community. 

The first down the runway were models from the South Asian Students Association (SASA). Their speaker introduced three traditional styles: the shalwar kameez, the lehnga, and the kurta. The shalwar kameez is a traditional dress worn in many South Asian countries by women and, in some regions, men. Shalwars are trousers, and the kameez is a long shirt or tunic.

The lehnga is of traditional Indian fashion. It is a long skirt that hangs from the waist and is usually paired with a blouse called a choli and a drape called a duppatta. For the show, the models were wearing all three pieces and each were embellished and printed with colorful elaborate designs. The kurta is a traditional shirt, usually falling above the knees. It was once only worn by men, but has become a unisex piece that can be worn casually and formally.

The Taiwanese Cultural Organization came next with attire associated with Han Chinese and Taiwanese aborigines. Specific colors highlighted were blood red and azur blue. The club also wanted to share the androgenous culture of Taiwan and their celebration of the LGBTQ+ community with legalizing same-sex marriage by having a female model wear traditionally male clothing.

The Philippine Society of Boston College then presented their looks: the barong and the costume for singkil, a traditional dance. Barongs, the national dress for men, are typically worn on special occasions and are traditionally white and lightweight with intricate lace details.

The singkil, a Muslim dance originating from Mindanao, the southern region of the Philippines, is danced for potential suitors. For this purpose, elaborate dress is common and, during the show, the model was adorned with a gold headpiece and wore a bright pink dress decorated with gold embroidery.

Next were outfits from KSA, which consisted of the hanbok and a taekwondo uniform. Hanboks are the traditional attire in Korea characterized by vibrant colors and simple lines. They were once casual dress only a hundred years ago, but these days they are only worn for special occasions. 

KSA also introduced the talchum, a traditional masked dance that uses the hanbok for costume, but also have face masks as a staple part of the art. The club presented taekwondo uniforms as the traditional dress of the Korean form of martial arts.

Students from the Chinese Student Association had modeled the cheongsam, also known as the qipao, and the changshan. The cheongsam is a feminine, form-fitting dress with distinctive designs from the 17th century Manchu reign. The changshan is the male counterpart to the cheongsam and can be a dress, robe, long jacket or tunic. Both are now worn exclusively for special occasions.

Closing out the show, the Japanese Club of BC modeled yukatas and hakamas. The yukatas are summer robes, a casual form of kimonos, fastened with a sash called the obi and worn by both men and women. Hakamas are traditional trousers worn about the waist and typically over kimonos that fall to the ankles.

After all of the models had made their debut, they reappeared for one final walk down the pseudo-catwalk to enthusiastic rounds of applause. The fashion show wrapped up, but student conversations about culture and fashion were held by the leaders of the organizations afterward.

Featured Image by Alexa Spitz / Heights Staff