By Staff Writer Maddie Kenn.
On Friday March 1, a fashion show was brought to the UMass Dartmouth campus on behalf of the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement. At approximately 6:30 PM, the Charlton College of Business building doors opened, welcoming guests into the main lobby for the cocktail reception. At about 7:15 PM, the fashion show began, “kicking off international Women’s Day featuring styles from around the world pulled into one unique show” as the flyer put it.
Throughout the night, there was food being served, a cash bar, as well as a DJ playing music and taking requests, and even a photo booth and prizes were available! All of this entertainment was benefiting the Panzi Foundation and was sponsored by the UMass Dartmouth Share Esperanza, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Charlton Graduate Student Association and Equal Exchange, and more.
The Torch staff spoke with Michaella Lesieur, a former staff writer herself, who planned and ran the event.
“Our first annual Fashion for a cause Show was a huge success that far exceeded every expectation that I had,” Lesieur said. She explained that the show was both rewarding and exciting, and there were nearly thirty models that walked the carpet, consisting of community members, UMass Dartmouth faculty, students, and Westport Junior Senior High School students.
“The best part,” Lesieur said, “was seeing everyone come together from the community and university to show their support to celebrate International Women’s Day and raise awareness for the Panzi Foundation.”
Lesieur explained her role in planning and organizing the event as well as throughout the night:
“I was the producer and host for the event, leading me to plan, volunteer recruitment, and manage the modeling, and had the honor to test out the runway myself!”
The reasoning for holding the event was brought up by first year student, Narcisse Kunda, who was very passionate about The Panzi Foundation.
“Seeing his passion reminded me of my mom, who suffers from a rare disease, known as Hypereosinophilic Syndrome,” Lesieur mentioned. “Kunda’s passion reminded me of the passion I have, trying to find a cure and work with The American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders, so I knew we needed to help in any way we could.”
She explained how she felt honored to work with Kunda, spending hours planning and paying attention to every little detail.
A lot of individuals attended, resulting in a huge turnout of about 100-150 guests and participants. Families, friends, faculty, teachers, models, volunteers and media outlets such as The Standard Times, Dartmouth Community television, University marketing, and photographers gathered around the lobby to support this cause.
Even Arnie made an appearance, strutting down the walkway and taking pictures with everyone.
Thank you everyone for supporting and joining the creation of the Fashion for a cause!