Former and current University of Oregon students of all shapes and sizes sashayed down a long, lit runway in the Global Scholars Hall as guests sat and cheered them on. Applause and words of encouragement were spewed from every row of onlookers as the men and women posed and showed off their outfits.
On Feb. 23, the Womxn of Color Coalition hosted its second annual Body Positive Fashion Show in the Great Room of GSH. The fashion show was in collaboration with the University of Oregon Counseling Center and All Sizes Fit, the University’s positive body image campaign.
The fashionistas modeled in four different categories of clothing: “feeling good,” “who inspires you,” “street wear” and “evening wear.” In all four categories the models wore their own clothing — instead of being assigned outfits — to ensure the most comfortability.
As each model had their spotlight moment, a message from the models about body positivity, loving yourself and fashion were read aloud for the audience to hear.
Alexandra Urrutia is a freshman who decided to model in the show because she thought it would be a fun way to celebrate inclusivity. She walked the runway with her shoulders back, her head held high and a little bit of sass.
Urrutia particularly enjoyed modeling the “who inspires you” category because she was able to pay homage to her mother who has always encouraged her to love herself.
“My inspo look is based off of my mom — and my mom is someone who I am truly inspired by everyday. I am even modeling a necklace with her birthstone,” Urrutia said.
The show allowed for the modeling standard to be broken. It made the statement that beauty is not specific to one size or one race, which is why Asian American freshman Kayla Lockwood chose to participate.
“I find being in the show to be very empowering for women of color and also women of different sizes and those who have different backgrounds,” Lockwood said.
The show had short intermissions that allowed guests to mingle, eat pizza and dance to the up-beat music that played. The last intermission featured a surprise dance performance from the Duck Street Dance team. After the show, guests were encouraged by the WOCC to get up and walk the runway themselves.
Darilyn Distant is a sophomore who attended the show and took the opportunity at the end to walk the runway herself. She chose to support her fellow students because she understands that young people often struggle with self confidence.
“Especially in college, people are self conscious about how they look, but the show encourages people to embrace how they feel and to be confident in whatever shape and size they are,” Distant said.
The models said they left the room feeling empowered. The WOCC plans on partnering with All Sizes Fit next year and hosting the fashion show again. They feel it is important to continue spreading a message of love and acceptance.
Natalie Perez, the public relations specialist for the WOCC said, “The WOCC is very focused on sharing different people of walks of life coming together and creating community.”