The students marched on April 23 for the Inter-Asian Council (IAC) “Diaspora” fashion show. The showcase highlighted the diversity of Asian cultures represented at Hopkins, providing Desi Pacific Island Asian students with the opportunity to display the clothing of their culture. The models wore traditional and modern clothing from across the Asian continent, with styles from the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Korea, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Myanmar, Mauritius and Malaysia.
Whether customary or more avant-garde, each piece had a deeper meaning, detailed by emcee Ethan Tieng as the models strutted down the runway and posed for the cheering crowd. These personal vignettes added dimensionality to the meaning of the event, demonstrating the power of clothing to connect individuals to each other and their origins.
IAC President Joyce Wang participated as a model, wearing the brown pantsuit her mother wore to job interviews when she immigrated to the United States.
In an interview with The News-LetterWang explained about the experience of dressing in her mother’s clothes.
“To me, the clothes symbolize the struggle that many immigrant parents face in coming to a new country in search of a job or better living conditions and trying to blend into a new society,” he said. she declared.
Wang complemented the brown pantsuit with sleek black sunglasses and brown lipstick to add a personal touch to the look. She noted that the clothes offered her a way to express her appreciation for her parents’ immigration to the United States, although she sometimes felt emotionally disconnected from that experience.
Other highlights of the show include the traditional Korean hanbok worn by Elizabeth Im, the Burmese dress and handbag worn by Saung Oo May and the custom shoes – inspired by memories of her grandparents – designed by Paul Lam. These pieces highlight the heterogeneity of Asian fashion and demonstrate the cultural pride felt by Hopkins students.
My personal favorite outfit? Lilac color by Yuehan Liu hanfu, a traditional garment that is currently making a comeback among young Han Chinese and the Chinese diaspora. at Liu’s hanfu draws inspiration from its traditional features but incorporates new colors, styles and materials to achieve a modern look. Its renewal testifies to the desire to reconnect with its roots and reaffirms the ability of clothing to fulfill this desire.
In an interview with The News-Letter, Student Government Association Executive President Breanna Soldatelli praised the event, its role models and organizers.
“There was so much meaning behind every item of clothing, whether it was traditional and many people wore it, or whether it was a family-specific piece,” she said. “It all felt really meaningful and the show was incredibly well put together. I am really proud of the students who participated in this. They do a great job representing their cultures and educating others.
A cocktail party followed the fashion show, during which models, organizers and participants met and discussed the clothes. All in all, the whole event deserves nothing but applause, which was plenty from the students in attendance – the event organizers had to scramble to find more chairs to accommodate the abundance of ‘guests.
The hard work of the IAC members to execute this event was clearly showcased through the elaborate stage set-up and organized flow of the evening. Although I’m not into fashion myself, I was absolutely blown away by the models’ attire, choreography and stories.
Wang emphasized his pride in the whole team that organized the event.
“As a senior about to graduate, I hope IAC’s fashion show will last for many years to come, and I definitely want to attend future iterations as a member of the public,” she said. .
As an audience member, I can only echo Wang’s hope that the event will continue as an annual affair. IAC’s “Diaspora” fashion showcase showcased some of the best attributes of the Hopkins community, highlighting both the diversity and creativity of the students. The event organizers referenced the “Flavors of Africa” fashion show hosted by the African Students Association last December, applauding the event and citing their inspiration.
Given the success of these events, I hope other cultural organizations will follow suit to bring more attention to the richness of the countries represented by the Hopkins student body through apparel. Fashion provides a unique opportunity to explore heritage and for students to express their own narratives, promoting critical cross-cultural discourse that strengthens our vibrant community.