the unapologetic issue
c i tge
RAW MAGAZINE spring 2019 Editor-in-Chief Rachael Thomas
Creative Director Nick Sullivan
Editorial Director Suzannah Koop Photo Director Daniel Square
Advertising Director Elise Miller
Lead Graphic Designer Kate Montgomery Social Media Directors Ashlyn Delaney Alexandra London
Advertising Representatives Anne-Marie Bryant ZoĂŤ Makhool Elise Miller Riley Reich Shelby Vanecek
Graphic Designers Kate Montgomery Emily Alspaugh Event Managers India Ambrose Kiley Tippman Writers India Ambrose Alexis Copeland Hannah Franco Suzannah Koop Samantha Shriber
Photographers Haley Ayotte Emily Crombez Ashlyn Delaney Megan Doyle Mackenna Kelly Kate Montgomery Sai Kiran Palivela Autumn Pinkley Rickey Portis Sarah Sokolowski Nick Sullivan Stylist Brynna Gani
THERAWMAG.COM Facebook: The RAW Magazine Instagram & Twitter: @rawmagcmu Founders Jordan Moorhead Kaitlyn Lauer Alexis Kelly
Table Of CONTENTS
Letter From the Editor 4 Letter From the Creative Director You, Me, and My ADHD 7 Paranoid Thoughts 10 Call Me By My Name 14 Pretty Identical 17 Un-Ladylike 19 Water Is Life 25 Whatever Catches Their Attention Reflect 35 Tiger Marks 39 Only the Poets Know 43 A Place Called Naija 51 POP 55 Karl Lagerfeld 59 Pops of Color 61 Cut-Throat 67 An Áo Dài 69 Two-Faced 73
THE UNAPOLOGETIC ISSUE
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR When you hear or see the word “unapologetic,” what comes to mind? For some, that could mean being confident in their sense of style; daring to mix prints and silhouettes that “don’t go together,” wearing last season’s colors, or the amount of skin chosen to show or cover. For others, the word can mean not apologizing for fighting for what they believe in. Being vocal about issues held close to the heart and creating safe spaces for others to do the same.
Photo by Olivia Seyfarth
Whatever being unapologetic means to you, RAW encourages you to live your best life authentically and unashamed. Read “Call Me By My Name” on page 14 for personal stories on sexuality, gender and respecting one’s pronouns. “Whatever Catches Their Attention,” on page 29 depicts how two student designers are raising awareness on the Flint Water Crisis through clothes. Check out “Tiger Marks” on page 39 to see CMU students loving the skin they’re in. “Only the Poets Know” on page 43 sheds some light on the university’s poetry scene and how students are using the art form to communicate what matters most to them. This is my final issue as editor-in-chief of RAW Magazine, as I graduate from CMU this semester. I am so proud of how far this publication has come and I’m honored to have been a part of it. I thank the leaders of this magazine who came before me and created this platform. I thank my staff who have taught me so much and continue to kill it with every issue. I’m thankful for the faculty, staff, students and everyone beyond this campus who have supported us during our journey. And I’m excited to see what the next leaders of this publication will do. I leave you with this RAW Fam: Be kind to yourself and those around you. Take the time to learn what’s best for your mind, body and spirit. Accept any opportunity that comes and understand what misses you wasn’t meant for you. Learn from your mistakes and continue moving forward. Stay humble. And never apologize for who you are.
LETTER FROM THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR
napologetic, a theme that has been the foundation of this publication since the founding of RAW Magazine in 2016. When I first joined the magazine in my second semester at Central Michigan University, I was a photographer with an interest in fashion photography and looking for a place to work with other creatives on campus. Little did I know that I would work with RAW for the remainder of college and grow with other talented creatives on campus. Two years later and I am now the Creative Director of this publication, and am incredibly thankful for the people I have gotten to work with and learn from with my time at RAW Magazine. In these two years, I have seen our magazine grow and become a strong presence on CMUâ€™s campus that is known for combining high fashion looks with honest storytelling that connects with our audience, and is ultimately known for being unapologetic. The theme of this issue felt like a perfect fit for my final semester with RAW Magazine. Through this magazine I was able to grow and build confidence that has gotten me to the point where I photograph and create content without regret.
Photo by Kris Sanford
THE UNAPOLOGETIC ISSUE
You, Me and My ADHD
As told to Hannah Franco Photographed by Haley Ayotte “I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in first grade. I remember my parents asking my sister and I to join them in the living room for a family meeting, which, as you know, is rarely a good thing. I was devastated when we were told that they wanted to get us tested for ADHD. Initially, I felt that I had done something wrong, and this feeling stayed throughout my childhood. My parents had always known something was different about their children, but they didn’t take action until our teachers brought up concerns about our behavior. What followed was multiple doctor visits, tests and questions that eventually led us to medicated lives.”
“Although I started to do better in school, I was a different person. Instead of the bright ball of energy that defined me, I was an apathetic and stormy cloud. Not only did I feel different internally, but the daily routine of taking a prescription for my personality didn’t help that fact that I felt different and excluded from others around me.”
“As I got older, middle school increased the anxiety I had about my ADHD. The blatant reality was that everyone was trying to fit in, be normal and stay out of the persecuting eyes of the popular crowd. I was no exception, and the concealment of my disorder increased the weight of fear and guilt on my chest. Besides my sister, I was the only person I knew of that was taking medication for something you couldn’t see. It was a somewhat isolating experience, to think you’re so different from everyone else. This was made worse due to my inability to take pills, so my doctor prescribed me medicated patches that would stick to my skin like a square Band-Aid, but more noticeable. Since the patches would irritate my skin, I had to put them in different spots, some of which would be visible if I moved a certain way, or if my clothes bunched up. I remember
the shame I felt when a very popular boy loudly pointed it out and asked me what it was.” “Eventually I entered high school, where things started to change. No one really talked about mental disorders, nor were the people diagnosed open to sharing about it. Mental disorders were thought of as taboo, and taking prescriptions for it only materialized the idea that you weren’t normal. I now know many people I went to school with were actually taking medications at the time for ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety. We were a group of alike people suffering in silence because we believed and sought the idea of ‘normal.’” “Entering high school marked a turning point in my relationship with the disorder. The biggest change was my senior year. I had grown used to taking daily medications and I wasn’t as reluctant to share with others about having ADHD. My newfound openness was responded to by a different reaction than I had anticipated. People in and out of high school began asking me if they could buy my Adderall. It felt weird, at first, because people were willing to give me money for a drug that had given me so much stress.”
“Regardless, more and more people wanted stimulants for study and party purposes alike. It was so strange to see the medication for my condition actually overshadowing it. Those with ADHD were starting to be seen as ‘plugs’ and not as a person dealing with an irritating condition. Yet, I still sold. I’m not sure if it was the money or the feeling of power I liked best, but either way, if you wanted it, I had it. In all honesty, selling didn’t make me feel different about having ADHD, but it did make me feel better about taking Adderall.” “Since being in college, my relationship with ADHD and my perception of normality has changed in a positive way. I am completely comfortable identifying as a person with ADHD, and I am very open to anyone who asks about it. I also appreciate how much Adderall has helped me, but I’ve seen the frequency of its use by those who don’t need it. I want to say the abuse of the drug I’ve seen doesn’t bother me, but it makes me feel conflicted. I understand why it’s a popular substance in colleges. Some use stimulants to study, while others
use it to party longer and harder. It would be foolish to dismiss its perceived benefits. But abuse of Adderall and those alike have its pitfalls. First, I can attest to the negative effects that I deal with daily. Cotton mouth, dehydration, irritability, mood swings, emotional dampening and loss of appetite and sleep deprivation are all problems I have to constantly deal with. Second, because of abuse, receiving medication, no matter how long one has been prescribed for it, is made more difficult to those that need it. In the end, I don’t really care if people use stimulants, or any other drug for that matter, but the abuse of my prescribed medication will always make me feel strange.” “Looking through the years has opened my eyes to the lack of knowledge and acceptance for those with mental disorders. As far as I can remember, no one really talked about mental disorders, nor were the people diagnosed open to sharing about it. They were often thought of as taboo, and taking prescriptions for it only materialized the idea that you weren’t normal. Now, I feel that people, young and old, are more open with discussing mental disorders. Social media has created a platform where people can openly express these topics, and are more common than formerly thought.” “I am happy with who I am, but there are times where I still wish I didn’t live with ADHD. I’ve learned that the only thing I can do is just live with it and learn the lessons it teaches me. I have accepted who I am and walk my own path according to the lessons I’ve learned, people I’ve met, places I’ve been and things I’ve seen.”
As told to Suzannah Koop Photographed by Emily Crombez Everyone has faced the struggle that comes along with figuring out who you are. For individuals who discover they identify differently than how they were born, this struggle can feel deep and heavy.
For students Jace Parker and Madeline Wernette, they both discovered that the gender they were assigned at birth didnâ€™t exactly fit right. Hereâ€™s what they have to say about their exploration into gender, sexuality, and life in general.
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PR ETT Y IDE N T I CAL
Photographed and styled by Ashlyn Delaney Modeled by Mariah Bahr and Zoie Vanderbush
Photographed and styled by Sarah Sokolowski Modeled by Lorrynda Walthall and Deana LaLonde
Graphic Design by Kate Montgomery
THE UNAPOLOGETIC ISSUE
WATER Written by Samantha Shriber Graphic Design by Kate Montgomery In Michigan, an individual never stands more than six miles away from a body of water. The five Great Lakes can so easily be described as the crystal blue oceans featured in Caribbean fantasies and spring breaker Instagram campaigns. But in the light of manmade devastations to these waters, a serious question is unveiled: “Do we realize we are jeopardizing the sources to all of our Great Lake state mirages and daydreams?” Nearly 23 million gallons of oil glide through two 20-inch-in-diameter pipelines beneath the Straits of Mackinac. The Line 5 pipelines have overreached their expiration date by more than a decade; their operations are led by Canadian company Enbridge, Inc. -- the establishment in operation during the Kalamazoo River oil spill in July 2010, when a pipeline breakage resulted in over 1 million gallons of oil seizing the river. Line 5 has already experienced 29 spills and at least 1.1 million gallons of crude oil into the meeting line between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. One of the individuals working toward a formal shutdown of Line 5 is Onondaga senior Ty Bugbee, a tour guide for Great Turtle Kayak Tours in Mackinaw City. “I work on behalf of my kayak company [to] assist the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians with their annual Pipe Out Paddle Protest to shut down Enbridge Line 5 in Mackinaw City,” Bugbee said.
IS LIFE The fourth-ever Pipe Out Paddle Protest took place on Sept. 1, 2018. During this event, Bugbee’s workplace cancelled all operations in order to provide paddlecraft to protesters and directed any donations to aiding the tribe in shutting down Line 5. Bugbee learned about Line 5 during his senior year of high school, the issue inspired further engagement to water injustices such as invasive species in the Great Lakes, the Flint Water Crisis and the Detroit water shutoffs. Through kayak tours, he hopes to inspire people “to connect with our natural resources, while shedding light on water issues in hope that it inspires them to be active stewards of our environment.” He said he wished individuals better understood the importance of water preservation and active upkeep, especially while both the human body and economy are dependent on clean water for survival. “We sit on 20 percent of the world’s freshwater and because of that, we inherit a responsibility to protect it for generations to come. It has inspired me to see so many people around our state come together with that understanding,” Bugbee said. “There’s a lot of positive, passionate people who I’ve crossed paths with in the community of water protectors and it keeps me hopeful that we’ll be able to transition into a society that puts people and planet over profit.” Water protection demands harmony amongst humans, wildlife and water in order to succeed. This activism commands the need to not just showcase the beauty of water, but to tell a story needing to be heard by people from all walks of life and status.
Brighton senior Sara McAuliffe, president of Take Back the Tap (TBTT) at Central Michigan University and intern for the Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter said her water activism comes in the form of spreading petitions, calling senators and representatives and meeting with Central administrators. She is continually inspired by individuals living without clean water, the realities of climate change and the creatures of Earth’s wilderness. “Water provides life to so many living beings, it truly is the center of everything,” McAuliffe said. McAuliffe said she initiated her life as a water protector during her freshman year of college. She said she wanted to help communities demanding for accessible clean water in a manner of true inclusivity. Part of this mission kicked off in TBTT meetings. The organization was founded in Fall 2010 and aims to end the sale of bottled water on campus. “Bottled water is not a solution, it causes more problems in the long run and forces people to pay thousands of extra dollars for something that should be provided through public infrastructure,” she said.
The process of producing plastic bottles requires nearly 17.6 million barrels of oil annually in the United States. In the time for their disposal, American cities often spend up to $70 million in yearly expenses for tidying the 86 percent of empty water bottles inevitably set to end up in landfills, according to Riverkeeper, a non-profit environmental organization. The expense of bottled water can equal up to $8.26 per gallon, despite 40 percent of the product originating from the significantly less expensive tap of $0.002 per gallon. “When you have a privilege no matter how big or small, you have to fight for those being impacted by our toxic society. We have to protect the environment for future generations and for animals who are the most innocent of all,” McAuliffe said. Cedar Springs sophomore Meredith Wiles, the Sustainability Chair for Central’s Health Professions Residential College and member of the university’s Sustainability Coalition said water protectors are inspired by others elevating the importance of education, conservation and protecting ecosystems. “Water protection isn’t just about me, I think it’s important because it is home to many creatures,” Wiles said. She said water is one of the most versatile forces caring for human existence and prosperity. “We consume it, bathe in it, and are precipitated on by it,” Wiles said. “I connect with this spiritually because to me, water heals. By hydrating ourselves not only are we taking care of our bodies physically, but we are also reminding our bodies that we deserve to be comfortable and nourished.”
Photographed by Emily Crombez Modeled by Corinne Bass Garment designed and provided by Cecilia Alfaro and Cassandra Wentela
e wanted every piece of this garment to have meaning towards shedding light on the Flint Water Crisis, which is continuing to wreak havoc but has lost media attention. Art can help bring awareness and we used clothing as an art form. Every element of the garment needed to have a role that would help make the connection to water and the crisis in Flint. The leg and neck piece utilized water bottles that were cut into circles, the bulk of the garment was made with different shades of browns to mimic the water, the digitally printed fabric utilized imagery from Flint, and the small top was blue to make more connection to what water should be. All of these elements worked together to create conversation about a deadly issue that has yet to be resolved.â€? -Cecelia Alfaro & Cassandra Wentela
Photographed and styled by Mackenna Kelly Modeled by Jewel Cotton
Photographed and styled by Ashlyn Delaney Modeled by Mackenzie Harville, Alexandra London, Emma Lillie, Brianna HicksJones and Madison Murray
o n l y
t h e
p o e t s k n o w
Young poets at Central Michigan University discuss their dreams and the power of writing against life’s greatest tragedies Written by Samantha Shriber Graphic Design by Kate Montgomery For Pewamo sophomore Kelsie Halsted, her poetic works take both the soundless and animated characteristics of an ocean. Her words are quite accustomed to unfolding like waves throughout a limitless sea, suggesting the reviving qualities of paradise and the devastations of an unboundable storm. “A lot of the time it is calm, but there are turbulent storms that hit throughout it, making it hard for some people to hear all of it,” Halsted said. Halsted said her first legitimate poem was created during her sophomore year of high school in response to her friend’s suicide. “After his death I wrote poetry to cope. The constant pain of knowing you’ll never see your friend again was enough that I wanted to end
my own life. Just knowing that he was bullied that much that it was seen as a viable option baffled me,” she said. “Everyone thought he was a coward. I thought he was brave.” She said writing poetry throughout the “mind boggling” experience wasn’t exactly an outlet for reducing her grief, but truly an opportunity to challenge the normality of hurting others to the literal point of no return. “I just wanted people at my school [and] others to understand what words can do,” Halsted said. “I wanted everyone to understand that not everybody can show their feelings that easily.” Halsted said her poetry serves as an opportunity to convey and remind herself goodness can often be the final product of heartache. She said once her pen hits sheets of paper she is eventually vanquished by an immense sensation of relief.
“[It’s] like I have just taken all the emotions bubbling inside of me and let them fall out of me. This helps me with my anxiety and depression,” Halsted said. “Poetry helps to keep the demons in my head at bay so I can focus on more important things.” Mason senior Rob Lindsey, editor for literary journal, Central Review, said Central Michigan University is a cornucopia of fantastic poets and literary dreamers. He said he is frequently awestruck by the variety of creative works he encounters in Mount Pleasant and is further captivated and compelled by the constructive criticism and encouragement he receives from the community. “My biggest dream is to help both myself and others through my writing,” Lindsey said. “I do this by engaging with my inner darkness and inner light alike [and] by working to improve my craft through learning as much as I can about various poetic skills and techniques.’’
never want my writing to stay the same,” he said. “Recently, my poetry has gotten wilder in both imagery and form. I am aspiring to let my work get more psychedelic (and) subconscious in nature.’’ He said one of his favorite compliments was having a piece of his poetry referred to as “a trippy nightmare.’’ Detroit senior Brandii-Mikayla Washington is the president of Word Hammer, an organized society of poets and performers at Central. She said her poetic career commenced fairly early in elementary school and her brand’s aesthetic continues to flourish as being “furiously brokenhearted.’’ “I would describe my poetry style as a rainbow. It comes after storms and exposes beauty after tragedy,’’ she said.
He hopes to eventually publish at least one book connected to his persistence in the craft.
Washington said some of the most challenging and discomforting topics she’s encountered in her writing exhibit and feature the tensions of sexual assault and persisting under racism.
“I currently have a lot of poems focusing around biblical stories and my personal spiritual journey,” Lindsey said. “So I could see myself releasing a book someday focused heavily around the Bible, life as an ex-evangelical homeschooler and queer faith.’’
“[They] have to be the most difficult topics to come across. Having to hear how people talk about how scared they were and how they don’t view themselves the same way after something precious has been taken from them is earth-shattering to hear.’’
When Lindsey reached adolescence, he said writing evolved into a therapeutic practice and was no longer just a device for flirting with playground crushes from a safe distance. He said although none of his early poetry was good, each piece was extremely helpful in better understanding his subjection to mental health struggles and religious shame for his identity in the LGBTQ+ community. “I suppose my poetic aesthetic is fluidity; I
She said although the poetry community at CMU is unfortunately quite underground, like an unintended secret society, she said poetry on campus still aims to offer influence, acceptance and hope. “My biggest dream is to help,” Washington said. “I want to offer poetry as a platform [for] everyone to express themselves. I do this through Word Hammer and I make sure that all of my students know that the WH environment is a judgement free and exciting zone.’’
I’m watching Jim Carrey’s Grinch with my little brother. December 2007. he’s eight, I’m eleven. the girl keeps popping in my head, her face itself an innocent fantasy I can’t forget. round. thin lips. acne covered cheeks. giant, kind brown eyes. straight hair. squirrely smile. I tell myself, wait till the commercial break to let yourself think of her.
I watch the Grinch slip through Cindy Lou’s chimney and emerge ablaze, before a goathorned demon marches out of the flame. He presses his claws against the screen and shatters the glass, jumps onto my shoulder then crawls in my ear, through the clammy tunnel to my brain. Whispers the word only a demon could say. Homosexual,
he taunts, a smirk on his face Homosexual. Sinner.
I gag as his breath assaults mine, his voice escalating till it’s the highest frequency screaming theremin fever pitch HOMOSEXUAL. HELL. HOMOSEXUAL. From a silvery goblet pitcher he pours liquified images of candidates pitching I can hate the gays more,
and inside the morphing television screen I see my mother and father’s applause
“the night everything changed; or, how the demon stole innocence’’ by Rob Lindsey
The demon draws a razor from my mouth, taunts now it’s your turn
my own hands slash the locks off my head my left hand jerks to my right hand’s two lateral fingers hacks them off lets the blood run through
now you only have fingers for sin
now aware of my nakedness, the walls begin bulging, then melt and creep toward my chair in their oceans of noise at the ad break, I rise from my maroon swivel, and make my way to the kitchen, as if to grab a Christmas crinkle— I spot the dishes piling. Good, a chance to pretend I can ever be useful again. I grab the grimy old sponge we need to replace I try to scrub, scrub, scrub all the filth away.
“feb. 23: in the window overlooking washington st.,’’ by Rob Lindsey soft streetlights glow in lines you said you didn’t want to feel ((trapped)) by curtains, i listened when you told the tainted gold paisley curtains no. crushed together in waves they still fell heavy. some creases of fabric didn’t want to soclosetoothers, couldn’t deal with that now, couldn’t bring their (lipless) selves to speak
‘no’ as you kept pushing, their curves contorted
into carcasses of violation, folded in on themselves, morphed into silence
â€œWarning Signsâ€™â€™ by Kelsie Halsted i fell in love with you so quickly that i forgot to look for the warning signs not the one about being a gossip or leaving your junk in the shower but the ones that reminded me of him how you made me feel like i was flying through the air walking on water careening through space just waiting until i hit a planet and fly off course i missed the one where you made me feel like i was worth something before making me realize that i am just another pawn in your game the one where i felt like i belong not for the first time but for the last because trusting people is just too hard i missed the one right after you told me i was beautiful then rolled your eyes laughing at my foolishness or when you said you loved me and would always be there then left like everyone else before you i missed the signs that would have told me to run but instead i was wrapped up in the blistering boiling sun where i thought i would be happy where i forgot what it was like to not be but something woke me up and i realized that you were just fucking with me because thats how you get your entertainment although i can try to cover it up i didnt miss the signs i simply chose to ignore them because for once i thought you were it that we would be together forever but i realize now as i am waiting for you to come back that i will eat straight out of your hand because youre perfect and i am desperate for your admiration
‘‘Glass Box’’ by Kelsie Halsted
Pretty little princess, Put in a glass box. Laid out for the whole world to see; Forced to look elegant and posh. Perfect blonde locks, Red lips pursed into a grin. Everybody passes, Seeing nothing is wrong, But they cannot hear, Through the sealed glass box, The caged bird’s broken song.
THE UNAPOLOGETIC ISSUE
A PLACE CALLED NAIJA BRINGING NIGERIAN FASHION AND CULTURE TO CAMPUS ATTENTION THROUGH STUDENT EVENTS
Written by India Ambrose
Boluwatife Ogungboye & Tolu Nathan
Photographed by Daniel Square
Modeled by Thelma Azong, Boluwatife Ogungboye, Tolu Nathan, and Ayomide Adetoyi
Within the vast landscape and culture melting pot that is Africa lies Nigeria, a home to many cultures and languages that derive from ethnic groups such as the Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa Fulani peoples to name a few. These cultures and others created the brilliance that is Nigerian fashion. Though their traditional garments rarely change, many have adapted these garments into runway-ready masterpieces while keeping the traditional and cultural elements alive, including popular Nigerian fashion designers Folake Folarin-Coker, Duro Olowu, and Deola Sagoe. Tolu Nathan, a senior at Central Michigan University, is a designer taking Nigerian garments, such as the buba, a loose-fitting blouse worn by both men and women; the sokoto, a pair of long trousers as part of the four-piece agbada worn by men; and the Ankara-printed skirt and blouse with a gele headpiece worn by women, and showing Nigeriaâ€™s contributions to both the bustling fashion world and CMUâ€™s campus. Nathan presented her designs in the Sankofa Pan African Culture Show, put on by Central Michigan Universityâ€™s African Student Association on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. The fashions, music, and culture gave students a taste of Africa without even having to buy a plane ticket.
Nathan, who always attempts to have a touch of culture in her daily attire, started designing at a young age. Founded in 2016, her brand, TFNDesigns, is an African diaspora clothing line inspired by the rich culture of Nigeria meshed with the sophistication of the Western world. The brand started in Nigeria as a way for her and her mother to bond. Nathan would watch her mom create garments and after her mom saw her passion, was enrolled into a mini-fashion school at the age of 10. At 13, she created her first garment. The pride that Nathan takes in her culture comes forward in the breathtaking elements of line, pattern, and color. She finds her inspiration in God, nature, and colors. The traditional cultural dress of Nigeria are still alive in her designs, whether it be modern twists or traditional odes to her heritage. Students on Central Michigan’s campus expressed their feelings about whether or not the campus and the fashion world give the proper acknowledgement to the fashion of Nigeria. Urenwa Osuamadi, a Student Government Association representative for ASA and from the Igbo people of Nigeria, feels that her culture is not well represented in American and Western culture. “You never really see what we are wearing over there,” Osuamadi said. “CMU also does not really do anything to ensure that these fashions are represented. The only time this fashion is represented is the African Student Association fashion show.”
Emmanuella Eragbai, an ASA member and from the Edo and Afemai peoples of Nigeria, voiced her concerns about how she felt her culture was represented in the world and on campus.
“Having my designs in the show was a great honor to me. My collections were centered around diversity and beauty in fashion, working with African as well as Western prints was a great way for me to show that no matter how gapped our differences may be, fashion can always create a bridge.” -Tolu Nathan
“I see African-inspired clothing in fashion and the media and within the black community, but it does not always truly represent my culture,” Eragbai said. “My culture is not a collective idea, and I think when many in the African-American community think of Africa, they see a collective culture which in reality is not. In my country alone, we have over 30 different ethnic tribes and over 200 languages.” Despite the disconnects in how Nigeria is represented on campus and within communities, CMU students are attempting to create spaces that bring awareness to these cultures. “For the past four years, ASA has had an annual fashion show that has showcased West African clothing and wasn’t until this year’s show where we were able to broaden to East African attire as well. The show sheds light on an aspect of Africa that is not readily paid attention to,” Eragbai said. She says CMU should take the initiative to help better advertise the next fashion show. Osuamadi said the show made her feel happy and proud to be a Nigerian because of how well the unique clothing and styles are displayed. Thanks to designers like Nathan and students like Eragbai and Osuamadi, this campus can continue learning more about the fashions of Nigeria. These women and other students are working to educate students on their culture through their love of fashion and passion for their homes.
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