Oglethorpe’s Coexist student club recently joined forces with the Oglethorpe International Ambassadors and Phi Delta Epsilon to co-host the 2018 International Fashion and Talent Showcase, an event meant to translate “Oglethorpe’s diversity into visuals.”
The inaugural showcase in 2017 came out of “Better Together Day,” an initiative begun by Interfaith Youth Core to promote a day of cultural and religious understanding and unity around the world.
“The fashion show was inspired by the idea of doing something more than just writing down statistics of diversity or tabling on campus to promote understanding of different cultures, religions, etc.” says Coexist President Syeda Bano ’20.
“(This year) I was inspired to reach out to other organizations to make this an event that was inclusive of Oglethorpe’s entire community, including our international students.”
The night kicked off with Phi Delta Epsilon’s annual Cultural Potluck, catered by local Atlanta restaurants Sweet Hut, Ruchi, and Halal Guys.
Students modeled fashion from their respective cultures, which was interspersed with cultural performances, like traditional Mexican dancing, plus songs from jazz band Queen Mab and the L-Train and rap group Triple Three. Altogether, 17 countries were represented in the showcase, including Mexico, Jamaica, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, El Salvador, Chile, Palestine, the Philippines, Vietnam, China, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Bano and fellow Coexist officer Robert Dougherty-Bliss ’20 served as hosts for the event.
“It was amazing to see people feel so comfortable and themselves in attire that describes their cultural identity,” said Bano. “There was something in looking at people as they were able to represent their cultures, that was beautiful to look at…the diversity among our peers is what makes each one of us, us, and to lose that with the intention of assimilating or conforming would be a great loss to the beauty of our campus, and our world.”