By Jasmine Wu, news correspondent
As men strutted down the runway in studded black heels to a remix of Halsey’s “New Americana,” Northeastern University’s (NU) student groups broke down gender stereotypes while raising money for charity.
Last Friday night, members from NU Fashion and Retail Society filled Curry Student Center as the group debuted their annual fashion show. New Americana: Fashion in Action showcased the transition from a traditional style of clothing to millennial fashion, while also demonstrating that fashion isn’t confined to gender roles.
“We wanted to choose a theme that spoke to the millennial generation and made a statement through fashion,” Elisabeth Borja, junior communication major and co-president of the Fashion and Retail Society and fourth-year communication studies major, said.
The show began by featuring professional clothing such as suits, ties and blazers but soon began transitioning to more innovative looks, including a man sporting a knee-length skirt and combat boots and a woman wearing a brightly studded leather jacket with skulls plastered on the back.
Elizaveta Pereguda, a freshman journalism major, walked the runway in an office-style black blazer with just a hint of her bralette peeking out, balancing between innovative and traditional clothing.
“If I had buttoned up, nobody would notice [the bralette],” Pereguda said. “I really like being on this edge because it’s kind of as if some risk is involved. […] You just don’t dress for your comfort, but because you might have a message in your outfit. It’s something that I hope that in the future will be more accepted.”
Although Borja originally saw the show as a demonstration of the potential for genderless clothing, this was hindered by the lack of availability of such clothing styles in local stores.
“We wanted to show outfits that men and women could both wear to allow people to find inspiration and get creative with their fashion choices,” she said. “This proved to be more difficult to execute than we imagined since clothing is cut certain ways for male and female body types, but this may influence us to create more of our own pieces in future shows.”
For Anna Jekel, a sophomore theater major who designed a red angular skirt worn in the show, genderless fashion isn’t just one look or style.
“It’s about not being confined by gender roles, but wearing what you want just because it feels right,” Jekel said.
Pereguda, who was a model in the fashion show and is a stylist for the Fashion and Retail Society, believes that not only is genderless fashion becoming more popular and acceptable, but that it is an outlet to break down gender stereotypes.
“I’ve seen it on the street-style websites,” she said. “It really shows that fashion has no limits.”
John Zhang, a fourth year music industry major, said clothing has no gender.
“Anyone should be able to wear what they want,” he said.
However, he thought the fashion show could have demonstrated this a little more effectively.
“I was a little disappointed because I felt like only one or two models went with the genderless theme,” he said. “But for the two people who did do it, they did it well.”
To briana sevigny, an assistant director with the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, the biggest draw of the show was that proceeds go toward 50c50m, a NU-founded group that raises awareness about autoimmune diseases. sevigny chooses to spell her name in lowercase.
“I have MS (multiple sclerosis), so I came to support [the cause],” she said. “I loved that it was a charity event. I feel like it gave the show a little more meat behind it.”
To raise money for 50c50m, attendees could enter a raffle for prizes including a JP Licks ice cream party for 10, a free mug from Pavement Coffee and a gift card to the Cheesecake Factory.
“We knew we wanted to give more purpose to our fashion show, and 50c50m helped us do just that,” Borga said. “It’s such a great cause, and seeing that many of our organization members and models suffer from autoimmune diseases, it seemed like the perfect fit.”
Photo by Yana Sybiga