Modista Fashion Show brings Caribbean flare to campus

Ella Abbott

The Modista Fashion Group partnered with the Student Organization of Caribbean Alliances Saturday night to bring Caribana to Kent State.

The groups joined together for Modista’s annual fashion show and gave designers the chance to show off their best Caribbean Carnival-inspired designs.

“SOCA actually reached out to us about collaborating, and they presented it to us how they kind of wanted to go about the show,” said Laura Lithgow, a senior fashion merchandising major and the president of Modista. “We liked the idea, … and we just kept it moving from there.”

As guests took their seats in the ballroom in the Kent Student Center, they were encouraged to take beads, popcorn and snow cones while a steel drum band set the mood.

The show opened with a performance by Asé Xpressions, a dance troupe at Kent that focuses on traditional and modern African diaspora dance movements.

“We knew Afro-Caribbean dance, so this was perfect for us,” said Marquita Williams, the president of Asé Xpressions. “We were very happy out there; we felt really good.”

The looks took themes from Carnival like bright colors, flowing fabrics and feathers to create accessible pieces made by Kent State students and faculty.

Tameka Ellington is an assistant professor in the Fashion School and also designed a look for the show: a red jacket with an undercarriage made of red and black rooster feathers with boning inside to give it structure and create a tail-like appearance. She called the design “bajan rooster” or “baradian rooster.”

Ellington said she appreciates any opportunity to support students.

“I was flattered that they even asked faculty to put a piece in,” she said. “I had something that I thought would fit with the theme, so I just put it in.”

Modista hosts the fashion show each year to give their members a chance to show off their designs to a large crowd.

India Piñeiro is the co-founder of the company iDesigns and a fashion merchandising junior who, along with her partner Deja Jones, a sophomore psychology major, created beaded bralettes that each represented the flag of a Caribbean country.

This was Piñeiro’s second show with Modista, and being Puerto Rican, said the theme was particularly special to her.

“I haven’t been to a fashion show that has the Caribbean vibe,” Piñeiro said. “(Modista) gives you a good theme, and I like when they give you fun themes like this.”

Piñeiro and Jones’ were the last looks to walk down the runway before the show concluded with a final performance from Asé Xpressions and message from Lithgow and Modista’s vice president, Naz Jackson.

“This was our first collaboration with an (organization) on such a big event,” Lithgow said. “I’m really excited and really happy with the outcome.”

Ella Abbott is the fashion reporter. Contact her at [email protected].