CSA Rips the Runway

Cora St. Marie

The David A. Beckerman Recreational Center looked nothing like what most students at the University of New Haven were used to seeing on Friday, April 1, 2011. The black platform stage, assorted lights, dozens of white chairs, cameras, and projection screens were some of the few things that filled the main basketball courts as the Caribbean Student Association put on their annual fashion show for the opening of Caribbean Week.

“Runway International” was the theme of the show, and throughout the night, the audience could see why. The models who participated in this event represented the clothing styles from Tokyo, Moscow, New York, Paris, the jungle, candy land, Miami, and the Caribbean. Models were seen strutting their stuff in the clothing provided by Plush Boutique, D.E.B. and Enclave Clothing Boutique.

The event was hosted by Raven Shelton and Demetrius Washington. Throughout the show, music was provided by DJ Amazin. This event was also a fundraiser for the Red Cross to help raise money for those affected by the past earthquake and tsunami disaster that hit Japan. Donations were taken before audience members walked into the main seating area of the Rec Center.

CSA president, Chenellia “Nellye” Manning spoke about what it took to put this whole show together. She stated that it was a collaborative effort from many clubs and organizations. Clubs like the Black Student Union, the Latin American Student Association, and the UNH Field Hockey team were there to support CSA in producing this show. Organizations such as Lambda Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Iota Alpha also lent a helping hand. Manning was in charge of coordination, lights, and the stage throughout the process of making this show happen.

Manning said that putting together this show took about eight months, and during those months, there were many aspects into making the show complete. CSA had an open audition for casting the models, and from there, the models would try out to be included in the show.

However, there were some difficulties along the way of making this event happen. Some of the issues came from trying to have the models stay during practices to make sure that everything ran smoothly. Manning gave most of the credit for this show to Livingston Steele, Rriauna Hagans, and Jennifer Muriel. Her three coordinators put in an incredible amount of effort to ensure that the fashion show was on a course to success.

Steele said he was in charge of constructing the scenes for the show, creating the choreography of each scene, how many people were expected to be in each scene of the show, and the clothing needed to accommodate each scene. “It was all a combined effort of the three coordinators that helped decide upon the theme of the show,” continued Steele. Like Manning, Steele also said the most difficult part of the show was gathering everyone for practices. “The coordinators of the show tried their best to work out all of their difficulties before the show would premiere,” said Steele.

Hagans also had her fair share of responsibilities. She was in charge of clothing, hair styles, make up for the models, and the choreography for them as well. Looking up and smiling to herself, Hagans reflected back on all the accomplishments made before and after the show. “After everything we went through we pulled it off,” Hagans said.

Janine Jean- Pierre, a sophomore at UNH was one of the many models that were featured in the show. Pierre said that she thought the show was very successful, but wished more clothing stores would have contributed. She also said that she was able to fit in practices with her schedule without a problem. Pierre gave a confident smirk when asked if she was nervous before going out on stage. “I just knew that I had to rip the runway,” Pierre said.

Shniqua Christian, secretary of CSA was also one of the models that was in the show. Christian was experienced in assisting CSA for their fashion shows, so she was not nervous as she walked down the stage. Christian had just finished taking a final before coming to prepare for the show that same night. She did think however that a few more practices would have been beneficial, but thought the show was an overall success.

“I would rate this show a nine out of ten because we had everything that we wanted, but there is always room for improvement,” Manning said as she commented on the success of the show.

As the last set of models came out in their Caribbean outfits, they waved their flags proudly as the beats of calypso echoed throughout the Rec Center. Accomplishment and joy began to appear in their smiles as the show came to an end.