Falling for fashion

Emily Inverso

Jackie Friedman

Thirteen model-hopefuls battled on a square runway at Exquisite Inc.’s Fall into Fashion event Thursday in the Student Center Ballroom.

Muriel Motley, a freshman fashion merchandising major, took the spotlight. Walking down one side of the catwalk, she paused, grinned at the crowd and, in a strong model pose, soaked up screaming audience adoration.

“It was such an incredible experience,” Motley said. “I didn’t think I stood a chance of winning.”

She was indeed the winner of the Fall into Fashion runway show’s audience walk-off competition. Exquisite Inc., a campus modeling organization, put on the show.

“We really want to represent a diverse group of people, not based on color, not based on size and not based on experience,” said Khadijah Wilson, president of Exquisite Inc. “It’s about building self-confidence through community service, educational programs and, of course, our fashion shows.”

Fall into Fashion gave designers the opportunity to express themselves as they wished with ideas ranging from fall wardrobes to Kent State pride. Garmai Matthew, freshman fashion design major, designed a line of clothing out of fabrics from Ghana and Liberia.

“My parents are from Liberia, so I’m really inspired by African clothing,” Matthew said. “I like to take traditional African garments and turn them into modern, wearable pieces for high fashion, ready-to-wear and urban styles.”

While Exquisite Inc. has been in existence for two and a half years, Wilson said she saw Fall into Fashion as a chance for more people to learn about the group.

“I feel that this is giving people a chance to further get to know who we are and what we are about, especially with it being Homecoming weekend,” she said. “It’s also giving us an opportunity to be deeper affiliated with campus, involved in campus and tied toward Kent State.”

Audience members strolled into those closer ties with Exquisite Inc. when a short lull in the program occurred. Three brothers of Phi Beta Sigma, who were running a table with other organizations in the back of the ballroom, filled the time with impromptu dance.

“We stroll sometimes if there’s music playing,” said Lanre Olaniyan, president of the fraternity. “Strolling, we all get in a line and do synchronized dancing.”

Fall into Fashion continued with a Kent State pride scene. Kevin Bouknight, sophomore pre-human development and family studies major, designed a tank top out of Parking Services parking tickets.

“I imagined a fanned deck of cards,” Bouknight said. “I took a bunch of parking tickets and put them in different directions to make the top. I also contorted a few to make flowers for decoration.”

Nearly 250 people witnessed these designs Thursday, supporting Exquisite Inc., Fall into Fashion and Kent State Homecoming. The event meant even more to one of the models involved.

Troi Davis, freshman exercise science major, modeled in the show as a member of Exquisite Inc. She said she was honored to have found her second family through this organization.

However, Davis said the most important representation of Exquisite Inc. and its purpose for hosting Fall into Fashion can be found in its motto:

“We’re not just models, but role models.”

Contact Emily Inverso at [email protected].