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"Carnival Fashion Show" bridges cultural divide

by Brianna Bush Executive Editor
Tue, Nov 12th 2019 05:00 pm
Participants and models performing at Treasures of the Caribbean: Welcome to Spice Island (below) were dressed in decorative outfits inspired by Caribbean gemstones.
Participants and models performing at Treasures of the Caribbean: Welcome to Spice Island (below) were dressed in decorative outfits inspired by Caribbean gemstones.

Showcasing Caribbean culture and showing The College at Brockport there is more than meets the eye, the Caribbean Student Association (CSA) held its annual “Carnival Fashion Show” titled Treasures of the Caribbean: Welcome to Spice Island. The show featured music from DJ Morefiyahdread, DJ Blacks and a live saxophone performance from James Fuentes, as well as dance performances from the CSAs dance team, Devine Dancas.

The show featured six sections — Rose Quartz, Larimar, Jab Jab, Amethyst, Peridot and Ammolite — each section represented a gemstone that is found in the islands of the Caribbean, with the exception of Jab Jab. 

“Our Jab Jab section was based off of one of the oldest carnival characters in Grenadian Carnival called “Jab Molassie,’” CSA President Denáe Forrester said. “The character dates back to slavery days when slaves were not able to participate in Carnival celebrations. Slaves would cover themselves in oil and/or molasses to scare the slave owners of the island.”

True to Forrester’s words, the male models came out on stage dressed in the Carnival attire — adorned in chains, face masks, and horned-helmets the models performed for the audience. The section of the show differed from the others because of the lack of color and the ominous history it.

“Our theme was Grenada and Gemstones,” Forrester explained. “When people usually mention Caribbean countries they mainly focus on Jamaica and Trinidad so we thought it would be important to highlight other Caribbean countries that have a lot of important history. Also we wanted it to be a treasure hunt so the different sections were named after different gemstones.”

Each of the sections directly correlated with the gemstones colors. The Rose Quartz section saw the models dressed in pink feathered shoulder and head pieces, and wings. Larimar had the models adorned in a light blue, Amethyst had the models wearing purple, Peridot featured models in green and yellow and Ammolite saw models with a variety of colored feathers.

For many, the fashion show provides an outlet to help empower themselves. CSA Secretary Monite Jolivert found the show helped lift spirits of everyone involved.

“We also empower women through this show — for example women that are shy or lack body positivity,” Jolivert said. “My first year in the show I was really shy, this helped me open up, try more modeling and be more confident in myself. We always cheer on our models and uplift them; putting a smile on their face, making them laugh at every rehearsal and the day of the show. So through this show we’re not only able represent Caribbean culture and pride but also promote women empowerment and that’s what I believe is most important.”

To put on a show of this magnitude there is a lot of planning and work that goes on behind the scenes. CSA Promotions Director Taylor Hatchett expressed how important teamwork was when planning the Fashion show.

“Preparing for the show took about a month. Having modeling practices every week for four hours and dancers rehearsed three to four hours, three times a week,” Hatchett explained. “Planning out what materials we want and things we need to have for the show is important and I think that took us about a day to a week for decorations.”

Each year CSA throws a Carnival Fashion show to highlight Caribbean culture and to help people better understand its culture.

“It is important that we showcase our culture so people learn to respect it instead of trying to sexualize everything we do,” Forrester said. “I look forward to seeing CSA flourish and seeing Brockport embrace the Caribbean culture.”

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Taken by Vinny Croce:
Staff Photographer

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