Fashion for Fundraising

Fashion for Fundraising

MiMi Yeh

Much fun was had by all at the Eighteenth Annual Black Student Center Fashion Banquet on Saturday, April 26. Whether it was the music, stylish clothes, or fine food, the event was sold out to the benefit of the Early Learning Center, which received all proceeds. Held at the Bayside Expo Center Waterfront Ballroom, attendees could either purchase tickets individually or buy entire tables as the Student Senate, the Asian Center, Casa Latina, the Queer Student Union, and numerous other groups did. In spite of some difficulty in finding the place, driving rain and blasting winds could not keep the crowds from showing up, even though weather did cause a few delays.

Musical guests Planet Ubiquity showcased their full range of talents not only playing the drums, but also able to keep the spoken-word rhythm flowing as one of them jammed on a violin, adding a somewhat unique touch to this high-energy performance. Their low-key approach to music, “less is more” attitude, and ability to groove right along when the moment called for it provided the audience with the mellow atmosphere for conversation and relaxation.

The fashion show was left entirely to the creativity of the volunteers, who did not disappoint. In wardrobes drawn by both the participants and their sponsor 8, the men and women with courage to strut their stuff on the runway displayed their own good tastes in a series of carefully coordinated “scenes covering all phases of hip-hop,” as the program put it.

The name “8” represents two of the UMB students who came up with the label and slogan “numerical dynamics.” Their website statement at defines it as “both words, numerical, as that which is expressed in numbers or indicative of numerical strength and dynamics, as the cohesion of social, moral, and intellectual forces, to provide change in any given field or system…with the intention of redefining not only style of dress but that of thought and motivation as well.”

However, it was not so much what they wore as the attitude with which they wore it. With a mixture of serious, sexy, and occasionally silly attitude, the models proved they could dance or dribble when it came to evening gowns, sportswear, and, my favorite, the tribute to old school hip-hop. It was a blast from the past with leg warmers, ripped shirts, and layered outfits that harkened back to the 80s and, every now and then, a model would bust a move that was chronologically coordinated with their outfit.

The Early Learning Center provides day care service to single parents and employees of UMass Boston who otherwise would not be able to attend classes or even hold down jobs. Although they haven’t been the only ones hit by budget cuts affecting higher education and social services in the Commonwealth, the fact that they might be forced to close is a source of anger among parents and students. Currently, the center takes care of 61 children but has been told that they need to be self-sufficient by July of 2003 after suffering a $250,000 budget cut.

The Black Student Center is located on the fourth floor of Wheatley and, as is described in their mission statement, is open to students of African descent and other ethnic groups, dedicated to addressing social and political issues affecting the students. For more information e-mail [email protected] or call (617) 287-7982.