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Fashion show explores African apparel

At the 2012 Inside Africa Fashion Show at Bates College, sophomore Nerissa Brobbey models a Togolese boubou dress with matching head scarf and Gulaid Abdullahi wears a traditional ma'awis and kofia hat. (Photograph by Simone Schriger.)

At the 2012 Inside Africa Fashion Show at Bates College, sophomore Nerissa Brobbey models a Togolese boubou dress with matching head scarf and Gulaid Abdullahi wears a traditional ma’awis and kofia hat. (Photograph by Simone Schriger.)

The second annual Inside Africa Fashion Show will take place on Friday, March 15 at 8 p.m. in the concert hall at Olin Arts Center at 75 Russell Street in Lewiston. Sponsored by the Bates College’s Africana Club, the show will reflect the diversity of the continent’s apparel and the influence of African fashion abroad. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact nkanu@bates.edu.

Some 30 students will model apparel from more than ten African nations, expanding this year to include Senegal, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Gambia. The program will also include a Swahili song sung a cappella by members of the Africana Club and two dance numbers: a medley of dance styles from across Africa and a Ghanaian Azonto dance, the upbeat hand-gesture style that went viral in 2011.

“I am inviting Bates students and the community to see Africa,” explains event organizer and Bates sophomore Nicole Kanu, the daughter of a Nigerian parents. “Many look at Africa as one country and fail to see that it is a continent that contains many countries, cultures and backgrounds.”

In addition to presenting traditional garb, the show will look at the impacts of African fashion outside the continent. “A lot of clothes in America have African influences,” Kanu pointed out. These include the “tribal print” leggings and wildlife-print fabrics that are popular this season.

Where last year’s show took the form of a fictionalized grand tour of the continent, this year’s edition will place more weight on fashion facts, says Kanu. “It’ll be fun, definitely, but it’s also meant to be informative and to show a dimension of Africa that people don’t normally see here.”

 

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