ACV Brings African and Caribbean Fashion to Villanova

Devin Toolen, Staff Writer

On Saturday, April 10, the African Caribbean Villanovans (ACV) hosted its annual Fashion Show titled “Umphathi” on Mendel Field. The ACV is a student-run organization that creates a link between the diverse cultures of both African and Caribbean countries and the Villanova community. The organization strives to promote African and Caribbean cultures while also educating members of the Villanova community about negative images or stereotypes surrounding these cultures. Throughout the year, the ACV hosts various galas, events, dinners and fashion shows to give the University a look into the unique African and Caribbean cultures. 

The first designer to kick off the fashion show was Rosetta Bernasko and her collection at PSR Galleria. This lineup featured both men’s and women’s designs ranging from dresses to tops, backpacks and more. Some of the best pieces from this collection included matching red and orange tea length mermaid hem dresses with a pattern contrast on the ruffled hemlines. These dresses hugged the body perfectly in order to accentuate its natural curvature. Another design that stood out was the printed belt bags and backpacks modeled by some of the male students. This collection was a beautiful representation of African fashion with its bright color combinations and patterns.

Following the PSR Galleria lineup was a collection from By Attaa, created by Attaa Du, a Ghanaian designer with a love for African fabrics and prints. This clothing line consisted of luxurious African print gowns worn by the female student models. These beautifully printed gowns grasped the crowd’s attention from the first piece to the last. From strapless mermaid gowns to full-skirt gowns and even short mini dresses, By Attaa gave the audience an elegant and graceful representation of African fashion. 

The third designer featured in the show was Kwabs Couture by Kwabs. The styles from this brand feature high-quality unique and contemporary African-inspired clothes and accessories. This brand is for men, women and children. Kwabs Couture strives to break down the myths, stereotypes and misrepresentations that have distorted Western perceptions of Africa through fashion by creating wild designs that are both unique and classy. This collection featured all different types of clothing, from men’s zip-up hoodies, to shorts and cropped top sets and long dresses. One of the best pieces from this collection was a two-piece set which featured a long sleeve, off-the-shoulder top and flare pants that incorporated ties at the knees. The beautiful bold colors including red, yellow and blue combined with geometric patterns captivated the audience and made the clothes stand out.  

The final designer at the ACV Fashion Show was Chimzi. Chimzi Fashion is a diverse and Black-owned fashion house that strives to bring out the feeling of royalty within each individual. The brand is originally from Nigeria but is now based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Diversity is a main goal of this brand, as it is committed to making fashion for all body types and all occasions. The beautiful bold prints and patterns from this brand made a statement on the runway. While all of the pieces were amazing, the highlight of this collection was definitely when two models walked out wearing oversized hats that matched with the prints of their garments. One model wore a yellow spaghetti strapped jumpsuit with wide leg pants that flowed as she walked, while the other model wore a pink fitted dress with under bust cutouts. Both of these patterned pieces matched perfectly with the oversized hats, adding just the right amount of drama to the runway. 

Along with the presentation of the four designers’ clothes, the Umphathi Fashion Show also presented a skit which told the story of a family divided after the death of its powerful father. As the audience learned at the end of the skit, the man’s daughter was able to rightfully claim her spot as his successor, tying into the name of the show, “Umphathi,” which means boss. 

The show also featured two performances. The first was a beautiful song sung by a student member of the ACV. The second performance was a dance by the African Dance Company. The inclusion of these two performances engaged and excited the audience.

The show as a whole was incredibly impressive, and the models seemed to really excite the crowd. Many of the models had friends and classmates in attendance, so as each of them struck a pose at the end of the runway, the passionate cheers could be heard across campus. All of the models walked with confidence, power and elegance and had fun with their poses. The models were able to present the designs to the audience in a professional and high-fashion manner while still expressing their personalities and keeping everyone engaged. 

The African Caribbean Villanovans gave the Villanova community a glimpse into its cultures through a fun evening of captivating performances and unique fashion styles. Be sure to follow @African.Caribbean.Villanovans on Instagram.