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BWC Fashion Show (with PHOTOS)

Models displaying modern-day fashions. (Photo by Chardonnay Hightower-Collins)
Models displaying modern-day fashions. (Photo by Chardonnay Hightower-Collins)

Models scurried around backstage to get ready to strut down the catwalk. Their garments, exhibiting beautiful hues in a vast array of colors, beamed down the runway. The feeling of authentic black culture permeated throughout the room, giving Mills a true dose of African culture and fashion.

On Feb. 25, in honor of Black History Month, the Black Women’s Collective (BWC) put on their first-ever fashion show showcasing fashions provided by the Mills and Oakland communities to represent the diverse black heritage of Mills students.

The show commenced with fashions from African countries such as Ghana and Sierra Leone, which wowed the audience.

(Photo by Chardonnay Hightower-Collins)
(Photo by Chardonnay Hightower-Collins)

After a brief intermission which included trivia pertaining to African-American culture, the models walked out displaying modern-day fashions.

More contemporary pieces from Taylrz Joynt, a local boutique located in Oakland’s Laurel District, were shown.

The process of creating this production was not an easy task and took quite a bit of preparation.

Mills sophomore and Coordinator of the BWC fashion show, Arianna Cruz-Sellu, spoke on the many obstacles she faced while producing this fashion show and how difficult it was to coordinate with others because of their differences in schedules.  

“The hardest thing to handle was working with all the people, just because everybody has a different amount of business and amount of stuff that they are going through right now, all while trying to work your way around it and still trying to get the product that you need out of it,” Cruz-Sellu said.

(Photo by Chardonnay Hightower-Collins)
(Photo by Chardonnay Hightower-Collins)

BWC typically starts planning for Black History Month in the fall semester in order to ensure a smooth and cohesive production.  

Implementation of the Black History Month activities take place in mid-November. At this time, committees are formed and financial arrangements are put in place.

The Emcee for the night, first-year student Micha Borneo, was enthusiastic about being the moderator for the show, as this is not her first time taking on an emcee role.

“I actually emceed a fashion show for a friend who is a designer from Baltimore. She’s been a designer for five years and I ended up doing a whole piece on her,” Borneo said. 

Not only did she take a step forward in responsibility by being the emcee, but Borneo also felt a personal connection to the production and enjoyed the learning experience that came with being an emcee. 

(Photo by Chardonnay Hightower-Collins)
(Photo by Chardonnay Hightower-Collins)

“It’s really fun for me to participate in other people’s cultures and their form of expression because I think it’s really important to a community to debut their talent and take pride in their work,” Borneo said.

Senior Christina Williams, who was also a model in the show, was happy to see the amount of involvement that the first-years exemplified in the show.

“It’s extremely exciting to see the first-years really step up into leadership and being extremely happy that they are continuing this tradition of showcasing the different aspects of being black and the complexities that come with being black,” Williams said.

A commonality that stuck out from William’s, Cruz-Sellu’s and Borneo’s responses of what they hoped the Mills community would take out of this show was a shared learning experience of African and African-American culture and the understanding that, according to Williams, “there are multiple faces to being black.”

For more information on the Black Women’s Collective and how to get involved, visit their website at

For more photos of the fashion show, check out our Flickr album below: