Nova Scotia

MSVU celebrates Halifax fashion to support black students

Models with gold glittering faces darted around Mount Saint Vincent University Saturday afternoon, ahead of the evening's fundraiser for scholarships for black students.

'What you wear speaks to who you are,' says organizer Randy Headley

Models with gold glittering faces darted around Mount Saint Vincent University Saturday afternoon, ahead of the evening's fundraiser for scholarships for black students.

More than 30 dressed in a host of Halifax-designed ensembles with fabrics of monochromatic dark colours to vibrant, block patterns.

Hana Teklehainanot, 18, says her white suit with an orange-patterned gold cape — "African dress in a modern way" — made her feel "fabulous."

"This one describes me when I wear it: outgoing and fun to be around," she said.

Hana Teklehainanot models an outfit by Halifax designer Nicole Johnson. (Rachel Ward/CBC)

Bold and bright

The fashion show, called "The Fabric of our DNA," celebrated local designers and raised money for black university students.

Community volunteer DeRico Symonds of Future Roots hosted the show.

Designer Nicole Johnson, originally of East Preston, says she's getting ready for LA Fashion Week, but that "the message of this one hits home."

Her latest line is launching this month to coincide with Black History Month, she said. 

"The Bloodline is really to reflect the generation to generation," Johnson said.

"It really pays homage to our culture in some of the patterns that I choose because it's bold. It's bright. It brings you up."

'Speaks to who you are'

Show organizer Randy Headley said he likes having clothes that reflect his own African heritage.

"It makes me feel comfortable," he said. "What you wear speaks to who you are."

Headley helped start an Africentric support group for university students in 2013, and since then, he's found students badly need funding.

"It was much harder for a black student to get into a scholarship," he said.

Randy Headley is studying how black students learn in his master's of education degree. (Rachel Ward/CBC)

The group hopes this event will help that goal.

"There's nothing better than seeing our own designers being promoted — and we're building our community that way," Headley said. 

Along with Johnson, other Halifax-based designers in the show include Duane Jones of Be Glitterati, Sarom Curtis of Curtis Couture and Toria Aidoo of Kwestomar Kreations.


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