“We encourage students from different ethnic backgrounds to showcase their culture,” said Staffen Liu-Calver, a student advisor with TRU World.
Staffen was talking about the annual fashion show that is part of the International Days showcase, where 109 students from around the world represented their cultures through dress on Friday, March 13. Chinese, Indian, Nigerian, and Colombian cultures, among others, were exhibited in the 45-minute show.
The international showcase started 21 years ago, with the fashion show being added in the early years. It started off as a small initiative from TRU World to bring cultures together, and “grew up” into a big event with a live stream. Students either get authentic, homemade costumes from their families or purchase them on their own. They also have the option to apply for financial aid from TRUSU, and if granted, receive financial aid from TRU World as well.
“The outfits are custom made for special activities and interests relating to the wearer’s culture,” Liu-Calver said.
Fashion show host Blessing Chiduuro, who was wearing a traditional Saudi outfit that he had bought off of one of his friends, expressed his excitement for the fashion show.
“I love travelling and learning about different cultures, so the fashion show was a perfect way to gain knowledge and get entertainment at the same time,” he said.
Events like the fashion show give international students a chance to involve themselves with school events and learn more about each other. The IDays showcase and fashion show are opportunities to network, find support and add to the diversity of Canadian culture.
Some of the students who participated in the fashion show described what their attire looked like and where it was from.
“I brought my dress over from India because I knew about International Days,” said Gunveet Narang. “It’s traditional royal North Indian menswear – the royal kings of India used to wear this maroon achkan centuries ago, so we wear it on special occasions to honour them.”
A Japanese student named Cherry, adorned in a kimono, talked about her outfit, too.
“It’s a Japanese traditional costume, usually made of cotton and silk. This one is pink and made of silk, and someone made it for me.”
The models mesmerized the audience with their good looks and refreshing outfits from around the world. The fashion show ended on a comforting note, when international student Polina Slepukhina sang “Hallejujah” and all the models gathered around her, while the spectators waved whatever light they had to add the serene atmosphere.
With all the hard work put into the fashion show, it paid off by providing a beautiful and breathtaking experience.