NOIR, a philanthropy-based fashion group at the University of Michigan, presented their annual runway event at the Power Center Saturday night. The event included seven designers and 40 models donning clothing by both student and professional designers based out of the Ann Arbor area. Inspired by Homer’s epic “The Odyssey”, the runway included scenes related to Homer’s story.
NOIR’s annual runway event is the group’s biggest event of the year. In an interview with The Michigan Daily, Jalen Gu, NOIR president and Business senior, said Saturday’s runway aided in raising $1,000 in support of the Ann Arbor Art Center this year in combination with other NOIR events.
“This year, we wanted to align (the runway event) a bit more with our mission, which is arts and fashion,” Gu said. “So, it just made a lot more sense for us to support our art center.”
While the organization is based at the University, Gu said NOIR also hosts models and designers outside of the school.
“We find designers (who) can be students or local designers who (design) full time (from) around the country,” Gu said. “We also have models, which I believe this year are all students (from the University) of Michigan, but in previous years, they’ve been students from (Michigan State University) … or all over the state.”
Gu also spoke about the runway’s theme of a “hero’s journey” inspired by “The Odyssey.” Gu said NOIR studied specific parts of Homer’s epic to discover the types of music and clothing that would best fit each scene.
“We’re using some of the quotes from (“The Odyssey”) to guide the (creation and execution of the runway event),” Gu said.
LSA sophomore Sarah-Marie Jabre was one of the models for Saturday’s runway. In an interview before the event Jabre told The Daily she had always been interested in modeling and clothing design and was excited to get involved in the industry on campus.
“I saw (NOIR) on my friend’s Instagram story, and I’ve always been interested in fashion,” Jabre said. “It felt like it was a creative outlet that (people) can involve themselves in.”
NOIR Runway Fashion models display the works of local fashion designers at Odyssey: The Hero’s Journey at the Power Center Saturday Night. Keith Melong/Daily. Buy this photo.
The runway event included nine different scenes from “The Odyssey,” starting with a scene titled “Ordinary World,” and ending the story with a scene titled “Return With Elixir.” Each scene of “The Odyssey” was represented by different designers’ clothing with unique music selections to fit each scene. The show also included an intermission and a musical performance by local musician Tonie Arcon.
Music, Theatre & Dance junior Margot Cunningham told The Daily that, while she is exposed to a lot of fashion at the music school, it is different from the kind seen at the show.
“I think it’s really cool to see the different vibe, and I think the music really matched,” Cunningham said. “(The semi-formal dress code) makes it really fun to be able to take part in dressing up just like the people who are in the show. Dressing up and getting to go to a show with friends is really fun.”
During the runway’s final scene, the executive board members of NOIR also participated in walking on the runway. When all the executive board members were on the stage, Gu took the microphone and thanked the people who made the event happen.
“I want to thank you guys for trusting us with your creations and allowing us to show your work to the world,” Gu said. “Thank you (to the audience) for supporting us on this fine Saturday evening, celebrating creativity, diversity and beauty of fashion as an art.”
Daily Staff Reporter Ji Hoon Choi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.