ASU struts its fashion stuff yet another year

source: Kenny Kenny Photography INC.

This year’s African Student Union’s La Nuit D’Afrique Fashion Show took place on April 13 and Hunter students proved they have what it takes to truly stand out. The show, featuring womenswear, menswear and swimwear, brings out hundreds of Hunter students and guests each spring. This year it took place in the cafeteria.

“It’s one of the biggest events that the ASU has so a lot goes into it,” says Rohan Hutchinson, 21. “We all had to audition. Nobody was just given a role.”

Preparation was underway for weeks prior to the show on the third floor of Thomas Hunter Hall. Practice typically would start at 6:30 p.m. and end at 9 p.m., run by a professional runway coach, Damilola “Lola” Folayan. Folayan stresses the importance of being on time, abiding by the rules of the practices, and putting in hard work.

“Even though she seems a little stern, you can tell she really cares and she’s really passionate about what she does, even though it may come across a little tough and a little hard,” says Zenzile Tonge, 19. “In anything for the arts, that’s just how it is.”

Each practice has fashion theme – a specific assignment for the outfit – in order to get people used to wearing something different than their usual street clothes. On a Monday leading up to the show, the theme was black and gold, and the models, all wearing yellow tops with black pants, strutted to music as it blared through the brick halls of Thomas Hunter. Wearing their highest heels, the girls walked with purpose down the makeshift “runway” in the hall. Folayan, standing at the end of the runway, snapped photos for, her Instagram page

“We’ve had ‘80s, black and red, we’ve had African print,” says Tonge. “It forces people to put together outfits that they may not normally try to put together, or challenges people to look different.”

Mimi, CEO of Mimidesignss. source: Kenny Kenny Photography INC.

Folayan, a native of Nigeria, taught the models the basics of walking, how to add variation to their posing, and how to exude strength and confidence on the runway. The models were also given freedom to come up with some of their own routines to present during the show.

“She’s a really strict person and a professional at it and I love it!” said Damilola Sholaja, 21.

The fashion show showcased the work of nine designers, all of African heritage. One of the featured labels, Mimi Designss (@mimidesignss on Instagram), is headed by its 20-year-old CEO Mimi from Guinea. The designer, who simply goes by Mimi, immigrated to the US at the age of 9 and began her business by selling dashikis.

The ASU states as its mission to “uplift, foster, educate, and promote love and unity within Africa diaspora,” and the show hopes to do that too. Every year the event is free and open to the public. This year the show featured dance performances, a performance by Brooklyn-based rap artist Chuckavelli, Tony Adè, and two Senegalese drummers in addition to the show itself.

source: Kenny Kenny Photography INC.

In addition to the annual fashion show, The ASU also holds movie nights and discussions, and also throws parties open to the public.

More photos from the ASU La Nuit D’Afrique Fashion Show can be found here:

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