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SKIN models Asian-American designs

By Damiana Andonova
On March 19, 2012

  • Olivia Lu '14, voted one of the best-dressed audience members, posed onstage.

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the Brandeis Asian American Student Association organized the SKIN fashion show titled "Starry Night" in Levin Ballroom last Friday, March 17.
BAASA started the SKIN Fashion Show in 2006 to celebrate Asian-American culture, creativity, style and the advancement of Asian fashion designers.
SKIN 2012 celebrated not only Asian American culture but also BAASA's 40th anniversary. It was a sexy, fun and most of all well-organized "Starry Night" SKIN 2012 was comprised of a red-carpet photo shoot, in which guests competed for "Best Dressed;" well-synchronized and dynamic dance performances; speeches from Brandeisians about their involvement in the fashion industry; and a cocktail party after the show.
The models strutted down the catwalk to a full audience thanks to a fantastic public relations campaign.
Jae Jung '15, who is on the executive board of BAASA and was the assistant event coordinator, told justArts, "The promotion team this year [was] very good. ... This year, they used a lot of social media and really worked on getting the message out." SKIN 2012 sold out its 250 tickets at 2:50 p.m. on the day of the show.
Vicky Lee '13, co-president of BAASA, added, "This year, we quadrupled our attendance. It really was because of the public relations. Facebook was used extensively, and so was 'word of mouth.' We had a week to promote the event, even though we [have] had the models since last October [or] November and have been planning for the show ever since. We wanted to make sure everything went well, but unfortunately, there were some technical difficulties."
These technical difficulties were completely overlooked by the responsive and enthusiastic audience. It also helped to have a well-prepared emcee, Dan Ding '12, who chose to sing Disney tunes while a video presentation by Andy Tsang, founder of ASN Clothing, was being fixed.
Beyond the logistics and organization of the event itself, the models and presenters clearly had a passion for fashion. The event committee did a fantastic job procuring and coordinating outfits for ladies and gentleman alike in the categories of high fashion, casual, smart casual and couples' clothing, all of which were courtesy of ASN clothing, Rent the Runway, Anna Sui and Vera Wang.
I think the models were gorgeous, elegant, classy and funky-chic, and the audience seemed to agree. Attendee Shaefali Shandilya '13 said, "It was such a great show. The clothes are awesome and the struts were entertaining." Jennifer Sikov '15 noted that "It really seemed like it was enjoyable for both models and the audience."
At least one performer agreed with the audience members' observations. Model Chaimae Mechtaly '15, explained her reason for signing up for SKIN in an interview with justArts: "I wanted to interact with Asians and learn about their culture."
Her experienced fulfilled her hopes: "I know more now, and I've made friendships with a lot of people. Doing the catwalk was fun, and the rehearsals were worth it."
The fashion itself was very interesting. Words like elegant, strong, crisp, graceful and flowing come to mind. The men's fashion was classy and put-together, but it contrasted with the choice of shoes, which ranged from construction boots to Converse.
When asked what Asian fashion meant to her, Vicky Lee said, "It's about being who you are. It's your identity." Co-president Stephanie Lee '13 agreed with her twin sister and added, "It reveals not only who you are, but it is a developing, always evolving way to express yourself and your identity."
Ji Yun Lee '11 spoke about her experience in the fashion industry. Lee has made great strides since her time at Brandeis, where she received a fashion scholarship. She interned with international fashion magazines and is currently working with Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Her inspirational story urged fellow Brandeisians to seek out creative ways to explore their interests in fashion even though Brandeis doesn't offer fashion and design classes. She explained how she incorporated her interests in various classes and internships she procured.
Proceeds from SKIN 2012 went to a new charity founded by Paul Sukijthamapan '13, called Project Plus One, which received official not-for-profit status last month. "Each project we fund," he said, "enables communities of poverty to help themselves. These projects take place in Asian communities like East Timor, which is why we are collecting donations here tonight."
BAASA's SKIN fashion show not only celebrated Asian fashion and culture, but also demonstrated the power of a strong public relations campaign and great event planning skills. The co-presidents truly have much to be proud of-a successful, exciting and most of all, well-executed event. 


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