Student organization puts on fall fashion week

Connor Andre, Gui Pereira and Asja Querin participate in 'Through the Decades' day. Photo by Alessandro Latour.

Natalie Barr, Contributing Writer

Students around campus took part in a creative fashion challenge wearing animal prints, earth tones, lace, throwbacks to the past and ideas of fashion’s future. 

VCU student-led organization, Creative Production Collective, is an organization committed to bringing people together to gain skills needed for future goals within the fashion industry, according to junior fashion merchandising student and CPC’s head curator Eli Brown.

CPC put on a four-day fashion week event from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1 to raise awareness and get students involved in the organization, according to Brown.

“The fashion week idea just kind of came to me because I found that it was the easiest way for people that knew nothing about CPC to get involved,” Brown said. 

 The collective wanted to hold an event that would be easy for the campus to participate in and draw attention to CPC, Brown said. The event led to the organization’s mixer welcoming new and returning members back to campus.

Inspiration for the fashion week themes came from a fashion design project Brown worked on throughout the summer; it focused on the concept of liminal space, major periods of humanity and periods of transition, Brown said. Fashion week themes were Jurassic World, Fairy Dystopian Core, Through the Decades and Post Apocalyptic, according to CPCs Instagram. 

“We started with animals based off the Bible. And, then, it was … the metamorphosis of fairies,” Brown said. “Then, decades is the humanity that we’re experiencing now. And, then, post apocalyptic, is ‘what do we do when humans are gone?’”

Brown became involved with CPC spring semester through modeling and then became the organization’s model coordinator, they said. Since many of the original founders of CPC graduated last year, the reins were passed down to them to become the president of the organization, Brown said. 

“I really believe in what CPC can do,” Brown said. “I just say come out to an event. I’m sure you’ll walk away with at least someone new that you didn’t know would be into the same thing as you, and I find that’s just life. We just wanted to create a space where that’s more readily available.”

Senior fashion design student and CPCs creative director Rebekah Washington said CPC was formed during the spring 2022 semester by five VCUarts fashion design students: VCUarts alumni Michael Robinson, Adaora Okoye, Christianah Owolabi, DeJah “Jamahzea” Willis and current student, Washington. 

Washington said she and the other founders felt there were areas within VCUs fashion department that did not allow for the learning, training and collaboration that the group was wanting. She said most of what was being taught in classes was a very “cookie cutter” and “commercial view” on designing for the fashion industry. 

“A lot of us have very niche styles, and we knew what we were interested in — they werent able to teach us,” Washington said. “So, we were like ‘you know what, lets make this space and start collaborating with other VCU art students, other disciplines within the art school and other people in RVA.’” 

Washington said she uses fashion as a way of self expression and views fashion as “wearable art.” She said she hopes all students will see CPC as a safe space on campus and use the fashion week event to encourage others to dress up and wear styles that are different from their friends or classmates. 

“I think fashion is worldwide, and fashion is another unspoken language that we communicate with each other, and we let other people know, ‘this is who I am,’” Washington said.

Junior English student Deloris Allotey said her aspiration is to break into the modeling industry. Allotey modeled for the first time last semester and decided to participate in the fashion week event to get more involved with modeling opportunities, according to Allotey.

“I was like, ‘okay, I need more attention. I need more people to know me. I need to be on somebodys radar, somewhere. I need to be seen,’” Allotey said. “I want my face to be recognizable. I need to go to events. Its like networking.”

Sophomore fashion merchandising student Jeanie Barratt heard about CPC last semester while modeling for the senior fashion showcase. Barratt said she did not know the fashion week event was happening and found out by posting a picture of her outfit to her Instagram story. 

“I actually had posted my outfit of the day, and one of my friends reached out to me and was like ‘hey can you submit this for the fashion week’ because it kind of fits into the role of the fairy dystopian day,” Barratt said.

She said she liked the different themed days that challenged people to step outside of their style and try something new.

“I hope they do it more often,” Barratt said. “I feel like it allows a lot of different diversity in what were wearing on campus.” 

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