The African American Alliance (AAA) presented the organization’s first fashion show, “Evolution of Black Fashion,” on Wednesday, Feb. 17 in the Dolan Science Center atrium. The show featured organization members as models and emphasized how black fashion evolved through the ages in America, beginning in the 20s and continuing in the present. The event is part of AAA’s more extensive Black History Month Series.
“We put together the fashion show because we wanted to show people the evolution of our culture. We express ourselves through our fashion, through our music, and it’s a big part of American pop culture. We wanted to showcase that and celebrate that by showing our fashion over the years and how it evolved,” said junior Brittney Seals, the marketing chair of AAA.
“We wanted to get the point across that black culture is American culture,” Seals said.
“I feel like people are embracing [Black History Month] because we got a pretty good turnout for our past couple events,” Seals continued. “I don’t know, because sometimes there’s not a lot of interaction with it. We tell people about our events and it’s just like ‘Oh, okay.’ It’s not overbearingly supportive but there’s also not a lot of backlash about it.”
Members of the organization found a number of challenges in introducing a brand new event. “It’s something new, people aren’t really open to new ideas. That was one of the biggest obstacles but other than that, everybody was really engaged with it,” she said. “A lot of people supported it and we got a lot of our members to be involved in this,” said Seals.
Seals remains confident that the event will become a greater success with time. “It was the first time we ever did it so we didn’t know how it would turn out. But it was really organized and I feel like it could be made even better with more preparation and since we have this experience, we can build on that,” Seals said.
“When you’re planning an event, it gets really hectic right before, but then you go into it and it flows,” said Dwight Venson, president of AAA. “It’s a lot of hard work and I’m very proud of my board and my members,” he said.
“I never would have thought to do this event but my vice president, Emmanuel Brown, a freshman, came up with the idea in December and we started putting the work into it. We wanted to explore fashion throughout time. There are different roots of previous fashion in modern day style and I think it was nice that we got to explore those and educate the crowd at the same time,” said Venson.
Venson orchestrates many of the administrative details for AAA events and also oversees the organization’s progress with the rest of the campus.
Venson expressed the struggles the group faces with publicity, “I think we had a decent amount of people come to this event.” he said. “Marketing-wise, I think we did the best we could. We had the windows in the atrium, social media, flyers and everything.”
“Marketing has been a major concern. It’s an ongoing challenge I think all departments face but I think the better our events become, the word will spread and I think word of mouth is one of the strongest ways that people know about things. So, hopefully more people will know about events and we’ll see them in the future,” said Venson.
“I think we reached the height of the organization’s fame after our demands were presented to the university so our events don’t get as much resistance as they used to,” said Venson. “I think overall the University has been supportive. There hasn’t been any strong resistance but we just wish more people from our school would show,” Venson added.
Venson said that in the future, he thinks the group would like to plan further in advance to tighten up details that they view as failures. Venson said, “I think with each event of the black history month series, we get better and we get stronger. It’s just trial and error,” he said, “seeing what works and what doesn’t work.”