UNCHAINED fashion show raises human trafficking awareness


Model Brianna Hunter walks the runway at the UNCHAINED Fashion Show in the Kent State Student Center Ballroom on Monday, April 4, 2016.

Ile-Ife Okantah

UNCHAINED, a non-profit organization, teamed up with Kent State’s A Magazine to host an anti-human trafficking fashion show in the Student Center ballroom on Monday night, as April is sexual assault awareness month.

Mackenzie Lunde, a senior fashion merchandising major, brought the UNCHAINED Fashion show to Kent State. This is the first year the organization came to campus. Although her knowledge of UNCHAINED stemmed from a class project, Lunde’s passion pushed her to collaborate with A Magazine to bring UNCHAINED to Kent.

“I found this organization through a project I did in one of my PR (public relations) classes. We essentially had to find a non-profit to build a special event for,” Lunde said. “The more I learned and the more I got involved, the more interested I became, and my project turned into a reality.”

According to their website, UNCHAINED’s goal as an organization is to increase awareness of human trafficking both locally and globally through fashion shows featuring designs by Project Runway contestant Korto Momolu.

“Our passion is what happened tonight, telling the story of human trafficking,” said Felicia Kalan, the co-founder of UNCHAINED. “We want to tell you there’s hope. We want to tell you that you can make an impact.”

Kalan’s fellow co-founder, and human trafficking survivor, Stephanie Catani, narrated the show. While Catani read her powerful narrative dedicated to girls in the world of human trafficking, Kent models walked the runway modeling original garments by Momolu.

“It was very encouraging, we prayed backstage because they actually found a victim of human trafficking today in a car in Akron,” said Daijah-Monai Williams, a model in the show and sophomore fashion merchandising major. “It really touched my heart, and the narrator was an actual survivor. They are such good people.”

In addition to Catani’s narrative, facts and statistics about human trafficking played on a screen behind the models. This mixture of information and fashion moved Janaye Bullock, a sophomore fashion merchandising major.

“I think the show was a really good integration of human trafficking and art,” Bullock said. “It was really informative but it also kept you creatively engaged.”

For more information on human trafficking and UNCHAINED visit their website at http://unchainedfashionshow.com/#aboutus

If you, or someone you know, are in need of help, you can reach the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.

Ile-Ife Okantah is a fashion reporter for The Kent Stater, contact her at [email protected]