By: Chloe Kekedjian
Photos by: Regina Xu
As we prepare to start a new semester, it’s important to reflect on some of our favorite moments from the last one. For us here at Thirty Seventh, it doesn’t get much better than Diamante, a full fashion show on Georgetown’s campus featuring twelve designers. This was the second year of Diamante, directed by Kevin Martinez (COL ‘20) and hosted by the Georgetown Aspiring Minority Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs (G.A.M.B.L.E.). The theme of the night was “Reclaim Your Crown” and aimed to celebrate “the top of glamor, the top of diversity and the top of yourself.”
The show began with a video directed by Kevin Martinez (COL ‘20), featuring modern news clips with historical events and proclaiming the affirming and empowering purpose of the show. Diamante is not just about fashion and art, but also about how those mediums can be and ought to be used to celebrate and express underrepresented voices. Two other videos, entitled “Suffocation of Words,” assisted by Akil Andrews (Catholic University ‘20), and “This is America,” co-directed with Martinez by Charline Castillo (COL ‘21), exhibited the show’s message in a style reminiscent of the Lemonade Visual Album.
The opening dance number, which captivated the audience from the get-go, was choreographed by Francis Shadd (COL ‘21). Throughout the show, other student performances, such as those by Joe Sonza (COL 19’), Nourjannah Hendi (COL ‘20), and Ritmo y Sabor, complemented the fashion designs through showcasing their artistic talents of a different kind.
Now for the fashion piece. The designers featured in the show, some of whom showed last year (626, Kourageaux, and Hoodlvm), represented a variety of styles, from avant-garde yellow neoprene looks (HBIC) to a sexy twist on the infamous 2000s sweatsuit (Ciarrah Mariah). El Non Pareil’s collection featured lots of bright furs and sequins, as if inspired by a fashionable fever dream inside a costume supply closet. Other looks included streetwear by Cide USA, and a showcase by sponsor Rent the Runway.
Particularly notable was Kinetic Styles, whose collection was split into three parts. The first was a series of light pink latex looks featuring high necks and cutouts; next were colorblocked shirts made of dark pink velvet and sheer black fabric; and finally, colorful patterned pieces from their swimsuit collection.
The show as a whole featured a variety of student designers, including Phoenix Supply – a line produced by Jess Frankovich (COL ‘20) made entirely of reworked materials. She ended the collection with a red dress proclaiming “MY BODY IS MINE,” which was inspired by the barriers put on the bodily autonomy of women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and the differently-abled. Another student line, 1st Book, is a collection of “deconstructed high fashion” designed by Genesis (Howard U ‘19). Her line included red dresses fastened with suspender clips, patchwork denim, and corduroy skirt and jacket sets. Yet a third student collection, HBIC – an avant-garde line created by two Howard students, Micah and Mariah (Howard U ‘19) – deftly demonstrated the versatility of neon-yellow neoprene.
For the grand finale, Haus of Falenci’ago’s sheer and sparkling evening collection was perfectly paired with a performance of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” by Chamille Boyd (Howard U ‘19). Each jumpsuit and gown was elegant and dazzling, a perfect way to end Diamante.
In the context of a fashion industry notorious for co-opting and appropriating black culture, while also underrepresenting minority designers, Diamante brings a different vision. Promoting a better version of the industry – one that seeks to elevate instead of exclude – Diamante just may be the fashion-forward future we have been waiting to see.
CHLOE KEKEDJIAN is a freshman in the College studying Biochemistry. When she’s not stuck in Reiss all day, you can find her reapplying her lipstick after rapidly devouring carbs from Whisk or trying to use face masks to fix all of her problems.