In professor Annie Warshaw’s gender justice class, the students complete a service learning project throughout the semester. This project is started in August and completed in December and can be anything from a podcast to a supply drive to an event.
Warshaw said that this is an important part of the curriculum because it puts theory into action. “We will not make systemic change if we do not engage the community through action,” Warshaw said.
One group in particular decided to put on a women’s empowerment fashion show for its project.
Denee Hill, freshman media studies major, said, “We feel that fashion plays a big role in the self-esteem that women have. So, we want to show that you can wear anything and be confident.”
The show requires a $2 entry fee and all proceeds go to Step Up Chicago, a non-profit organization that works to empower young girls in under-resourced areas and help them into their adult lives. There will also be a representative from Step Up Chicago at the show available to talk about opportunities at the organization. Vendors from Etsy will be there selling clothes and cruelty-free makeup and the main show features a runway where anyone is welcome to walk during the show.
“We wanted to show that there isn’t just one type of beauty, there’s an unlimited amount of ways that beauty can be shown,” Destiny Adamski, a sophomore and a social justice major said, “fashion helps people bring out their inner beauty and show it as their outer beauty.”
Jenna Sassenrath is another member of the fashion show team, a freshman and an English major, she looks forward to seeing the effect the show has on others, “it’s going to be great to see young women expressing themselves in the way that they want to,” Sassenrath said.
Young women get a lot of messages from the media everyday about how they should look and dress and these girls are trying to change that through these types of shows, “the way that we should be changing fashion is that we should be more centered on the person and how they want to express themselves,” Adamski said.
All of the group members are confident that their project will be beneficial for all who attend. “Whether you’re a woman or a man, you should feel empowered with what you wear; create your own definition of confidence,” Hill says.
“Whatever you feel comfortable wearing is empowering at the end of the day,” Sassenrath said.
If you have an interest in walking down the runway as a model during the show, please email Destiny at firstname.lastname@example.org.