As New York Fashion Week geared up in the heart of Manhattan, the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) hosted a sartorial revue of its own Friday night. In collaboration with SHEI Magazine — a student-run fashion and pop culture magazine, NOiR Runway Fashion — a fashion organization dedicated to diversity and community service — and Runway of Dreams, the UMMA debuted its series of “Feel Good Friday” events with a fashion show and clothing swap on Friday night.
Dubbed “Feel Good Fashion,” the night kicked off with a social hour where attendees could mingle, take photos and sit by the red carpet. Upstairs, NOiR models were scattered throughout the gallery, standing stoically alongside the exhibits’ various paintings and sculptures for guests to view.
A red carpet featured prominently accentuated by dancing pink and blue lights, as DJs from Maize Collective, a student-run art and music community, queued music. Standing opposite the red carpet were several racks of clothing where guests could drop off unwanted clothes and “refresh (their) style” by swapping old garments for new ones.
LSA senior Krista Albertins, UMMA programs assistant and co-leader of the UMMA Student Engagement Council, said in an interview with The Michigan Daily the museum wanted to bring fashion to the campus community.
“We were trying to think of what would be something that we could do that is interactive with (regard to) clothing,” Albertins said. “(We) decided to do a clothing swap where people can bring clothes and take clothes with them, and feel like they’re participating in fashion as well.”
After the social hour, the Runway of Dreams Foundation held a runway show featuring models from nonprofit organization Best Buddies and the Michigan Special Olympics Figure Skating Team. Runway of Dreams aims to empower people with disabilities and support accessible and adaptive fashion for all.
LSA senior Tori Weingarten is on the executive board of the U-M chapter of Runway of Dreams, which holds “adaptive runway shows” worldwide, including a show at the University of Michigan every year.
“We have our annual fashion show that supports adaptive fashion for (young adults) with disabilities,” Weingarten said. “It’s awesome to see all seven of our models rocking (this) Zappos clothing , and it’s just such a special event.”
To close the night, SHEI Magazine and NOiR held a joint runway show, sending dozens of models down the red carpet, decked out in attire from local and student designers. In addition to the Feel Good Fashion show, NOiR holds an annual Spring Fashion Show and chooses one charitable cause to support. This year’s show will take place on March 19 at the Michigan Union, and will raise funds for Freedom House Detroit, an organization providing temporary housing and resources to people fleeing persecution and seeking asylum.
Business junior Jalen Gu, vice president of NOiR, said the purpose of the event was to promote philanthropic fashion and celebrate unity.
“We’re about supporting charitable causes and doing all these other great things that have to do with (what) art has to do with,” Gu said. “So I think that’s one thing, this isn’t just fashion, this isn’t just a runway, it’s a celebration of all these other things.”
LSA senior Nadia Bailey, model coordinator for the UMMA runway show, said she strove for a diverse set of models. She said the theme of the show, “You Are Here,” was meant to celebrate socialization following the pandemic. Bailey ensured models’ posing and style on the catwalk reflected the theme.
“I made it a priority to make sure that I chose a diverse range of models of all different shapes, sizes and ethnic backgrounds,” Bailey said. “And then I also have to come up with the scenes that they’re going to be placed in, the songs of the scenes, and also teach the models how to walk up and down the runway as.
LSA senior Gustavo Navarro, president of NOiR, said the theme was inspired by COVID-19 restrictions, which forced the UMMA to close from March 2020 to June 2021. He said the runway would allow people to again enjoy the physical experience of fashion.
“Essentially we’re inviting people back to the space allowing them to stand (and) really feel like they’re in this space, taking on the new art and the new exhibits that are there and really allowing for people who are seeing this fashion show get to feel the clothes, get to feel the models walking, and really feel like they’re in the space physically,” Navarro said.
Daily Staff Reporters Nirali Patel and Irena Li can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com