AAINA, Knox’s South Asian cultural club, held a fashion show with the Boys and Girls Club on April 10 in the Oak Room. Tickets were sold for $3, which covered appetizers. Proceeds went to Heifer International, a non-profit organization. The fashion show, entitled “Hollywood 2 Bollywood,” was the first charity event AAINA has ever done.
Co-President of AAINA junior Priya Sharma said they prepared for the fashion show by having restaurants cater the food for the event and recruiting models. Sophomore Shruti Patel, one of the organizers of the fashion show, said, “Our aim was to reach out into the community and bring us together. We want to have a good time and show American and South Asian culture. It’s mainly Indian, Pakistani and Nepali garb.”
Before the fashion show, those who bought tickets went into Ferris Lounge for appetizers and a slide-show presentation on Heifer International. The appetizers, as explained by sophomore Aparna Kumar, were naan (toasted bread), vegetable samosa (fried pastries with mixed vegetable filling) and chicken tikka masala (chicken with spices). Served with the appetizers were green chili chutney and tamarind chutney, which served as dipping sauces, and cookies. The appetizers were from Taj of India located in Peoria and the cookies were from Q’s Cafe on 319 E. Main Street and Uncle Billy’s on 83 S. Seminary Street.
Students enjoyed the food in the relaxed atmosphere of Ferris Lounge and talked amongst themselves while Indian dance music played in the background. When asked about the food, sophomore Kristyn Bridges said, “It was pretty good. I would say the chicken was my favorite.”
Next was the slide-show presentation on Heifer International, a non-profit organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas “whose goal is to help end world hunger and poverty through self-reliance and sustainability.”
After the presentation, students walked from Ferris Lounge to the Oak Room for the fashion show. Chairs encircled a lit runway draped with black fabric with the words “Hollywood” on one side and “Bollywood” on the other. Faculty brought their children, relatives of the children from the Boys and Girls Club came for support and people from the community and students attended the fashion show. Some students had to stand as chairs filled quickly.
The audience enjoyed the show as Knox students and members of the Boys and Girls Club walked, stomped and danced on the runway. Members of the Boy and Girls Club seemed to especially have fun, as they smiled while they were on the runway and had plenty of support from the audience. Every model had a corner of their face painted in different patterns with black paint. The fashion show featured modern designs like mini dresses and suits as part of the Hollywood portion and had traditional clothing like saris, cloth draped over the body in different styles, for the Bollywood portion. The clothes featured in the show were stylish and had a variety everyone could enjoy.
Junior D’Angelo Smith choreographed the fashion show, which had traditional and unconventional elements. There were often two or three models passing or walking with each other on the runway at a time. After reaching the end of the runway, models would pose and often they would be playful or funny posses. Sophomore Brandon Paraharm stepped off the runway at one point and went into the audience. The audience would cheer for the models that were their friends or their family — something you wouldn’t see at a typical fashion show.
After the fashion show, sophomore Mandy Bigham said, “The clothes were really pretty. Everyone on the runway did a really good job keeping it fun and interesting. I really liked the funny posses.”
Sophomore Cameron Posey, who modeled for the show, said, “It was exciting. I never thought about being a model but I wanted to try it because people said I should be a model.”
AAINA hoped to raise enough money to buy a water buffalo for those in need through Heifer International at the cost of $250. Patel said the amount collected surpassed AAINA’s goal of $300 and would enable them to buy a goat and some chickens as well for those who need them.