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B/AACC fashion show celebrates Black joy

Coast+Contra+puts+on+a+show+for+Colorado+State+University+students+at+their+concert+Thursday+night+in+the+Lory+Student+Center+Theatre+Feb.+22.
Collegian | Lauren Mascardo
Coast Contra puts on a show for Colorado State University students at their concert Thursday night in the Lory Student Center Theatre Feb. 22.

In honor of Black History Month, the Black/African American Cultural Center at Colorado State University is celebrating students and their heritage with this year’s theme: Redesigning Our Future.

B/AACC partnered with RamEvents to host a fashion show with clothing by Black student designers and models on Thursday evening in the Lory Student Center ballrooms.

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“I put on this fashion show because I was in charge of the keynote event for Black History Month, and we usually get a speaker, but last year, we got Bobby Seale, and I was like, ‘There’s literally no way we’re going to top this,’” said Ashenafi Paulos, peer coordinator at the B/AACC and B/AACC coordinator for RamEvents. “So we decided to completely reimagine it and do something that focuses more on appreciating our culture and facilitating community between these groups and enjoying Black joy.”

“The fashion show was just a way to kind of exemplify not only the excellent and beautiful parts of our past, but also show where we’re moving as a Black people, as a race and as a community.” –Joshua Duran, United Men of Color president and fashion show co-planner

All throughout February, B/AACC has hosted weekly events for their Redesigning Our Future theme to celebrate and honor Black history at a predominantly white institution. 

“America is always so focused on the worst parts of Black history during Black History Month, and the reason why we created the theme to be Redesigning Our Future is because we just want to be able to not base our future in the roots of our past or the past that keeps on getting shoved down our throats,” said Joshua Duran, president of United Men of Color and co-planner of the fashion show.

The designers were allowed full artistic expression in their looks, which ranged from neutral palettes with high fashion influence to casual streetwear and brightly colored statement pieces.

“The fashion show was just a way to kind of exemplify not only the excellent and beautiful parts of our past but also show where we’re moving as a Black people — as a race and as a community,” Duran said.

After the fashion show, attendees were able to watch a performance by up-and-coming hip-hop group Coast Contra and browse art from local Black vendors, like art major and self-taught rug maker Jahvon Lee

“The way I taught myself was by looking at TikTok videos and YouTube, and I was studying for, like, two weeks, and I ended up just taking some money out of my savings and said, ‘You know what? Let’s just go for it,’ and now I’m here doing this,” Lee said. 

Vonrugs, Lee’s business, makes small- to medium-sized decorative rugs of both his original designs and other iconic images like the Las Vegas Raiders logo, customized Nike swooshes and characters like Kirby or Spider-Man.

Duran also showcased his art with his clothing brand AllLoveNoHate, which aims to unite marginalized people in Northern Colorado. 

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“I’ve always been very focused on bringing in people from the margins and just trying to lift up not only people of color but just marginalized communities in general,” Duran said. “That’s what my clothing brand is really aspiring to do.”

Beyond his clothing brand, as president of CSU’s United Men of Color, Duran seeks to bring together male-identifying people of color on campus through service, leadership and culturally inclusive programs. 

“The United Men of Color has always been focused on just uniting all the men of color up here on campus just because there’s such a light population of us up here on this campus,” Duran said. “And with being president, my focus has been this year to just really set it up for the next generation.” 

Reach Sophia Masia at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @sophie_masia.

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