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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

ACSA promotes diversity through fashion show

Members of the African Caribbean Student Association. PHOTO: KELLY SHANNON ’24/THE HAWK

After two years of covid-related disruptions, the African Caribbean Student Association (ACSA) is back with their popular campus fashion show, titled “Juggernaut,” which will be held on April 8 at 7 p.m. in the Perch. 

The fashion show is an opportunity to bring people of all backgrounds together who have a love of fashion, said Autumn Richardson ’22, president of ACSA. 

“Usually you would see in the fashion industry European standards as beauty standards, which is generally what people consider society norms,” Richardson said. “But with ACSA’s fashion show we like to go against the norms.” 

What started as a runway show in 2018 has since shifted to a “visual,” or a pre-recorded format with an in-person viewing, and will continue as a visual this year. Lenora Thomas ’23, who modeled at the Barnes Arboretum, dressed in a long, white-tan dress with a classic style, said there are advantages to this type of show.

Lenora Thomas ’23 poses for a shot during the photoshoot on March 26 at the Barnes Arboretum. PHOTO: KELLY SHANNON ’24/THE HAWK

“If I’m in a fashion show and I trip, that’s in everybody’s minds,” Thomas said. “But if we’re recording they can say, ‘let’s run it back one more time, get it right.’” 

Another advantage is getting to watch the final product all together, Richardson said. Last year’s viewing was split into different sessions with a Zoom option, due to covid-related capacity restrictions. This year, there will be one big viewing, which Richardson said she is excited for.

“I look forward to seeing everybody in that one space going off, like ‘oh, that’s decent,’ ‘all right, well, that’s nice,’ ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs,’” Richardson said.

The photo shoots for the visual were held the weekend of March 26 and 27 at the Barnes Arboretum for a natural garden theme and at Fairmount Park for a Western theme.

Victor Price ’23 poses in Fairmount Park for the wild west photoshoot on March 27.

Donavin Gomez ’24 modeled in the large, grassy field in front of the former Barnes residence dressed casually in a dark-green polo shirt, khaki slacks and casual shoes without socks. Gomez said he appreciates how the event celebrates the diversity of the club’s membership. 

“What it means to me is an opportunity for people of different cultures, different backgrounds, different origins to display their culture and the beauty of their culture,” Gomez said. 

The crew and models battled with cold temperatures and wind during the wild west shoot at Fairmount Park on March 27.

Richardson, who didn’t model but helped direct the operation, agreed that expressing diversity on campus is a major goal of this event. To emphasize this, the fashion show includes a portion called “We Are the World,” which highlights people from all different backgrounds and cultures wearing their traditional garments, Richardson said. 

“We do that category every fashion show just to show that ACSA is a multi-ethnic organization on campus and that we accept everybody,” Richardson said. 

That diversity is also important in rewriting cultural narratives of beauty, Gomez said.

“When the only ‘beauty’ you see is white, straight hair, blue eyes, it makes you feel like you’re not beautiful because you don’t fit that characteristic,” Gomez said. “So when you do see people who look like you being represented as beautiful it gives you more confidence and just builds you up as a person.”

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