Rip the Runway fashion show celebrates African folktales, heritage

Rip the Runway fashion show celebrates African folktales, heritage

The fashion show emphasized cultural appreciation through the works of various designers.
Published: October 15, 2019
RIP the Runway Fashion Show
Bold patterns and bright colors stole the show on Saturday night.

Ticket-holders entered Goldstein Auditorium for SU’s African Student Union’s sold-out fashion show on Saturday evening to the tune of Beyoncé’s “Brown Skin Girl.” Rip the Runway took the audience into a space of celebration with the theme “Night in the Village: African Folktales.”

Style arrived even before the event started, as many patrons had put together fashion looks of their own starring traditional African garments. Speaking in the language of the tribe they were honoring, the emcee introduced the student union’s faculty advisor, Christabel Sheldon, who shared an African folktale throughout the evening. The folktale, which dealt with themes of conflict, change and women empowerment, echoed through the auditorium periodically.

RIP the Runway Fashion Show

Designer Queen Enidiok showcased her Queen E collection.

RIP the Runway Fashion Show

According to the designer's website, she made her debut in the fashion scene in 2014 when she was selected to showcase her work at Africa Fashion Week Nigeria.

Every designer spoke through their ensembles, while the models each exuded their own personality. The models were met by a lively audience that cheered, laughed and even danced as they showed off bright, colorful outfits. Brands like Jiggy By Nature, which was created by four college students, stressed the importance of utilizing what you have and being comfortable with streetwear while others, like Ataria NYC, wanted to “emphasize cultural appreciation over appropriation,” according to the emcee who introduced them.

Nigerian-based designer line Izu and Vash told a story through colors and bold prints. Other designers encouraged body positivity as men and women of all sizes, shapes and skin tones confidently walked the floor. Together, all six designers presented culture with a spirited atmosphere.

RIP the Runway Fashion Show
Models with personality show off a collection from Jiggy by Nature.

Although fashion was the primary purpose of the night, the event also highlighted the audience’s sense of community. With music from popular African and Caribbean artists playing in the auditorium all evening, the space was filled with an appreciation of cultural heritage and tradition. If it wasn’t the dance-offs, it was the interactions between models and spectators that made the place feel lively.

The final featured collection of the night was the Queen E. Collection by fashion designer Queen Enidiok.  Her couture line has made an impact across the globe and she encouraged everyone to pursue their dreams and follow their calling. But she said it’s the environment and professionalism that brings her back to Syracuse University time and again.

“Their character is what keeps me here,” said Enidiok, referring to the executive board of the African Student Union. “They are so sweet and so friendly. They did an amazing job.”

Nneka Akukwe, the student union’s president, shared closing remarks as the night came to an end.

“We love our African heritage,” she said. “Our fashion is very important to our aspect of our identity.”