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International fashion event at Mohawk College celebrates a variety of cultures

Volunteers walked the runway dressed in an array of traditional outfits for the International Fashion Show in the MCACES Learning Link (C-wing atrium) at Fennell campus on Nov.17.

The Language and Culture Centre (LCC) organized the event and encouraged students and staff to share a piece of their culture with attendees.

Originally created in 2019, the show had been held online throughout the pandemic before returning for this year’s second edition in person.

Andréia Lubini, LCC and international coordinator, looked forward to the event and said that fashion events like these are a great opportunity for students to learn about other cultures.

“I feel like they want to know about other cultures and they are usually curious about it,” Lubini said. “Through fashion we can see a lot of other cultures using different colours and different textures, as well as different ways the fabric is used – it brings out a lot of tradition.”

The event was open for viewing to any student walking by, and it drew in a decent-sized crowd of onlookers throughout the run of the show.

Twenty volunteers made up of staff and students were signed up to take part, roughly half were able to make it. Despite the lower turnout of models, the crowd clapped and cheered on their fellow Mohawk College community members as they took to the stage.

Outfits ranged from everyday looks to party outfits and represented countries like India, Vietnam, Nigeria and Somalia.

Two women twirl at the end of the runway. One woman wearing red and green while the other wears red and blue.
A variety of colours and fabrics could be seen throughout the many outfits on display.

Vibrant yellows, deep reds, and rich greens were some of the colours catching eyes down the runway.

One by one, the models took their turn strutting their looks as a student photographer, as well as many onlookers, snapped pictures of the outfits.

Most of the volunteers have never walked a runway or participated in an event like this, but they enjoyed the preparation and the chance to share with fellow students and staff.

“I loved the preparation,” LCC recruiter James Lee said. “We all got together, shared our cultures with each other and discussed how we would perform on the stage – I would love to do it again.”

A man stands at the end of the runway showing off a silk fan.
James Lee showed off a traditional long-dress Vietnamese outfit that featured a silk fan.

Lee wore a traditional Vietnamese long-dress ao dài, made up of rich blues, yellow and gold fabric. The crowd was particularly responsive when Lee showed off his silk fan.

Several of the models were happy to have a chance to meet new people and hoped of more opportunities like this one.

“I like this kind of fashion show,” student volunteer Olajumoke Alabi said. “It’s a mix of people and we got so many compliments. We should do more to show off our cultures.”

Alabi was first up to walk the runway and sported a Nigerian outfit traditionally worn for an owambe (a party). Her look featured a warm brown hand-made dress, a gele (head tie) and shimmering ipele (shoulder sash).

The event was roughly 15 minutes in total, but in that time the LCC created an environment for International Education Week where students could see, learn and experience a new or familiar culture.

For more events like this, be sure to follow the LCC on media @mohawklcc or visit the website at https://www.mohawkcollege.ca/international-students/international-events-student-leadership

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