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NOiR Runway Fashion, a student organization dedicated to inspiring high fashion through philanthropy on campus, held their annual spring show at the Michigan Union on Saturday. Their first show since 2019, NOiR sent dozens of models down the runway, donning pieces by local designers such as William Palmer Hommé and Sabrina Spanta.

LSA senior Gustavo Navarro, NOiR president, said in an interview with The Michigan Daily that the show’s “Evolve” theme emerged after not being able to stage a show for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“(The show) is a culmination of a year’s worth of work,” Navarro said. “This year is sort of like our comeback show … showing (NOiR’s) evolution, from pre-COVID times to now, to how we’ve changed and maintained ourselves and gotten a new name for ourselves at Michigan.”

The show was divided into nine scenes, each defined by its own set of designers, styles and music. The first scene, titled “Diminish” and set to X Ambassadors’ “Unsteady,” featured patchwork garments and oversized hoodies designed by Michigan-based brand Irui Studios. Another scene, the six of nine, “Asubuhi,” had models sporting vibrant African prints and patterns from brands Nakel Cuchur and J’Nae Collection as Kabza de Small’s “Sponono” played in the background.

Every year, NOiR chooses a charity to raise funds for as part of the organization’s philanthropic efforts. This year’s show supported Freedom House Detroit, a shelter that provides medical care and legal services for those seeking asylum in the United States and Canada.temporary shelter providing medical care and legal services for asylum seekers in the United States and Canada.

Mercedes Pergande, engagement coordinator for Freedom House Detroit, told The Daily working with NOiR had been an incredible opportunity.

“There are very few organizations in the country … that function as Freedom House Detroit does,” Pergande said. “To have such a special organization right in (their) backyard, in Detroit, I think stuck out to (NOiR) … It’s been an absolute pleasure working with NOiR.”

During the show’s intermission, NOiR presented a $3,000 check to Freedom House Detroit.

Pergande also weighed in on the non-profit’s established relationship with the greater U-M community. 

“Freedom House Detroit has a long-standing relationship with the University of Michigan,” Pergande said. “Especially the language departments, as we, currently at (Freedom) House, serve over 20 countries present in one home, which is super special. We’re just excited to deepen that relationship with the University of Michigan and diversify it within these other groups and organizations.”

Business junior Jalen Gu, NOiR vice president, said the organization was committed to its diversity efforts and hopes to continue expanding their reach to new communities on campus.

“We also pride ourselves on being super diverse: we have people from all different backgrounds, all different schools at Michigan,” Gu said. “NOiR is (always) trying to be more inclusive and expand; we want to reach a broader community at Michigan.”

Navarro said he was grateful for the opportunities that NOiR gave him to express and experiment with his identity through fashion, especially now that he is graduating in a few weeks.

“Growing up, I was told that I had to wear a certain outfit, I had to wear a certain color, because that was the standard of what a man should wear,” Navarro said. “Coming to college and discovering NOiR, I found that I was able to do something different with my style, I was actually able to tap into parts that I didn’t know were there … To me, (fashion is) being able to not only express yourself, but (also) experiment with yourself.”

Daily Staff Reporter Irena Li can be reached at