WKU students strut their stuff during fashion show

Louisville senior Dominique Jeffries, 22, eyes the runway from behind a curtain before modeling her outfit. Members of the Western Kentucky University Black Student Alliance put on their annual Rip the Runway fashion show at the J. B. Preston Health & Activities Center on Friday, April 17, 2015. WILLIAM KOLB/HERALD

Madison Martin

House and hip-hop music carried a steady beat through the air. Women and men strode in wearing brightly-colored evening wear, taking a seat in the three rows laid out on either side of the runway.

At 8 p.m., the overhead warehouse lights shut off, leaving just the two columns of theater LEDs to slice through the darkness as the audiences chatted in anticipation. It had been just a gymnasium before, but now the partitioned basketball court in the Preston Center felt upscale and lively, because the Black Student Alliance’s annual fashion show was about to rip it up. 

Roughly 30 students modeled for the fundraising fashion show, Rip the Runway, all underneath the leadership of BSA Treasurer Drew Hurt, a junior from Indianapolis. With two months of rehearsals and a semester-long search for sponsorships, Hurt was exhausted but still excited by the end of the night. 

“It took some practices, a lot of late nights, but it finally came together,” she said. 

Before the bulk of the audience had begun to arrive, the female models were situated in the women’s locker room, standing and sitting beside tables filled with clothing and make-up while Charlotte Russe bags and water bottles dotted on the floor. The women were awaiting Hurt’s call to start getting dressed for the first scene, “Alice in Wonderland.” 

At about 7:50 p.m., Hurt approached the women and told them to start getting dressed. The show was about to begin. Close to 8:30 p.m., many chairs were filled and the chatter died down.

Simone Smith, Indianapolis graduate student, kicked off the production by singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” as the lights shone upon her in a bright orange romper. 

There were five scenes, each based on a theme, such as “50 Shades of Grey” where the models wore grey color schemes. Male and female models strutted down the runway and posed, as the DJs played artists like Big Sean, Sevyn Streeter and Jay-Z. 

Audience members—a combination of friends and family—cheered on the student models as they made their way down the aisle. 

Louisville senior Al Greene helped emcee the event for the third year. Greene said he tries to engage the crowd.

“…I try to get the crowd involved a lot,” he said. “I’m loud, I’m funny. I just try to joke and keep everybody dancing, just be positive.”

Student involvement did not stop there. One of the scenes did not come from a store sponsor, but was a collection created by New Albany, Indiana senior, Katelin Calloway. 

“I’m all about individuality and how important it is for every woman, no matter what size they are, no matter what color they are, to be sexy, and just feel comfortable the way you look,” she said. 

In the end, Hurt was proud of the effort put into the production, but felt relieved after it ended.