African Student Union will provide Met Gala experience in 2021 fashion show

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Aidaruus Shirwa, the African Student Union’s programming chair, is excited for his organization to host the annual “Rip the Runway” fashion show in person this year. ASU hosted last year’s installment of the show on Zoom due to the pandemic.

“The diversity we have with performers, models and designers is going to make the show really entertaining,” Shirwa said.

Models, designers and performers will be at ASU’s “Rip the Runway” fashion show this Sunday. This year’s theme is “The Met” and ASU will be providing “the ultimate Met Gala experience” in Goldstein Auditorium at 6:30 p.m., according to an ASU Instagram post. Tickets are available for $5 on Syracuse University’s online box office or through the link on ASU’s Instagram page.

Whitney Sossou, the president of ASU and a senior at SU, said the organization’s members like to pay attention to trends in pop culture, which is how they were inspired to do a Met Gala theme.

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“The Met Gala has been a theme that ASU has wanted to do in the past, but we didn’t have the funding to create it,” Sossou said. “Thankfully, this year we were able to have the funding to create the experience.”

The Met Gala is an annual fundraising gala for The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City, and it is considered one of the most exclusive and sought-after events to attend.

Shirwa likes that this year’s theme will allow for designers and models to showcase elements of various cultures from around the world.

This year’s fashion show boasts diversity in terms of fashion, models and performances.
Wendy Wang | Asst. Photo Editor

“The best part of the Met Gala is that dressing nice can mean different things to different cultures. We want people to dress how they see fit,” he said.

Attendees are encouraged to dress to fit “The Met” inspired theme, which Shirwa described as “dressing to impress the most important person — which is yourself, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

On Instagram, ASU teased four of the seven designers showing garments that will be in the show. In the post, designers described their work as “fresh” and “crafted to make you feel confident.”

“Students should expect a lot of diversity at ‘Rip the Runway,’ especially in terms of the garment they’ll be seeing and the music that’ll be playing,” Sossou said. “We were also diverse in the selection of our models. In years past, most of our models have been older, but this year we have a better representation of all classes.”

In preparation for this year’s return to the live show, the e-board selected models, designers and performers that they thought would make for an exciting evening, said Nana Ofori, a senior and ASU’s fiscal agent.

DJ Buka will be providing a playlist custom-made for the occasion. He considers himself “the product of music and traditional African culture fused together,” according to his website. Buka, an Afrobeats DJ, has worked with the likes of Burna Boy and Fetty Wap.

“There’s a lot more anticipation and excitement this year, but we’ve been planning this event for a while, so we know we’ll surpass students’ expectations,” Ofori said.

Dylan Antigua, a senior, said that being a model in “The Met” has been a “fulfilling” experience because he gets to be involved on campus while doing something that sparks his interests.

“ASU’s fashion show has always been great during my time here at SU, and I thought senior year would be the perfect time to audition and try to walk in it,” Antigua said.

Ofori said he’s excited the event is just around the corner. The event allows attendees to engage with African culture and with other students.

“This is an event you don’t want to miss,” Ofori said. “It’s not just displaying African culture. It’s an event for all students to come together and engage in a culture fashion show. If celebrities can engage in these events, why can’t students?”

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African Student Union will provide Met Gala experience in 2021 fashion show