With a larger-than-expected crowd, the Chinese American Student Association kicked off its first annual fashion show by adding 50 extra seats to the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom before the program started. With food, music, dancing and fashion, the free event drew more than 150 students.
The first half of the show was dedicated to traditional Chinese clothing and the second half to modern clothing. During intermission, there was a dance performance by the hip-hop group Liquid Rain.
“(This year’s) theme, ‘East Meets West,’ was chosen because we sought to demonstrate a key goal of the club, which is to share traditional Chinese culture and also the positive influence of Western culture,” said Josephine Chiu, CASA’s publicity director. “Furthermore, (we wanted the theme) to encompass the diversity of the club’s members and the GW community itself.”
CASA members created the modern clothing, while the Fairfax Chinese Dance Troupe provided traditional garb.
“Originally, we wanted to model off clothing from Asian-American designers, but we had a hard time finding some,” CASA president Thao To said. “Instead, we created our own outfits, showing the inter-exchange of styles and culture between the East and West.”
The traditional segment of the show focused on historical China. It portrayed Emperor Qin, who unified China in 221 B.C. and established the first centralized feudal regime in Chinese history, the Empress Dowager in her court and ladies of the court.
The emperor and empress wore red and gold robes, which the emcee said symbolized authority. The court ladies danced in pastel robes with wide sleeves, and some wore shoes with the heel in the middle, which helps ladies’ posture.
“It was nice to see the history through fashion and to see it integrated in clothes,” freshman Shruti Kalameur said.
The show also featured traditional clothing from China’s neighbors – Tibet, Japan and Taiwan. Costumes depicted a blend of traditional clothing with western culture, including a woman’s qipao, a dress popular from the 1930s to 1950s, with long slits on each side.
The second half of the show consisted of modern Chinese clothing in three segments – “Classy and Funky,” “It’s Raining Men” and “We’re Livin’ it Ghetto Fab,” which showed people in modern suits, sports attire and casual wear. The models in each segment performed dances.
To said she came up with the idea of holding a fashion show after a trip to Hong Kong.
“I went to Hong Kong last summer and noticed that a lot of the styles that were outdated there had just recently reached the States,” To said. “This was news to me, and I realized that many people don’t (know) that a lot of styles and trends are started in Asian countries. The fashion show was supposed to show some of the ‘funky’ styles.”
Sandra Wu, fashion show coordinator, Annie Huynh, CASA vice president and other CASA members planned and organized the event. Most of the funding came from the organization’s date auction in November. The Student Association, Marvin Center Governing Board, Program Board and Residence Hall Association also co-sponsored the program.
Audience members said they enjoyed the fashion show.
“It was pretty cool and fun,” freshman Chad Nunez said. “I liked the dance routines; they were entertaining.”