Fashion at Howard University consists of a rare culmination of designers, models, photographers, and creative directors that work together to create content that could only be forged by this distinctive environment. Located in Washington, D.C., when it comes to campus fashion at Howard University on the daily HBCU (historically black college and university) students never fall short; therefore, students belonging to ‘Models of the Mecca’ certainly thrive. The organization is composed of driven Howard University students who work hard year round to produce photoshoots, concept ideas, and apparel.
The history of Howard University and the role of Homecoming
Howard University was originally established in 1867 by a group of missionaries looking to create a space to train future black preachers. The university was named after General Oliver Howard, a union general in the Civil War and commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau, he went on to be president of the institution for three years. Howard has awarded more than 100,000 degrees and continues to provide high level education to future black professionals in various studies. As a historically black university, Howard puts an emphasis on the success of its students in order to propel change for persons of the African diaspora everywhere. Due to Howard University’s one of a kind domain, many notable creators and thinkers are born out of this sacred space.
Howard University’s Homecoming is the quasi supreme platform for talented Howard students to show off hard work. In 2018, Teen Vogue referred to Howard Homecoming as “a week-long series of events that’s nothing short of a cultural force.” The 2018 Howard Homecoming also marked the first year a major brand partnered with students to reveal fashion collections. Brands including Coach, Project 96, and HBIC were featured. Models of the Mecca students participate in the show annually, quite literally representing a unique sect of fashion at Howard University that the world cannot duplicate anywhere else.
The Impact of the Nation’s Capital on Fashion at Howard University
According to The Atlantic, “the schizophrenic work environment of the nation’s capital” proves difficult for fashion to thrive, thus the location allows for these students to stand out and create styles outside of the realms of what is currently trending. There are many stereotypes that surround conversations in fashion when referring to the capital oftentimes words like boring, office appropriate, or stuffy could be overheard. So we asked Howard student and President of Models of the Mecca, Stanton Hare for fashion tips when it comes to remaining creative:
- Often times, people think that buying the most expensive garments from the hottest designers Is the key to having a good outfit. Wrong! You can find some of the most eclectic and original pieces at your local thrift store and save tons of cash in the process. Even for online shoppers, try paying more attention to small boutiques who provide affordable alternatives to some of your favorite styles
Embrace sustainable fashion
- Producing new clothes does not come cheap. Textile companies have caused a lot of damage to nature by using a great number of natural resources to mass produce new garments. So, the next time you go shopping, try looking for clothing brands that use materials that can last a long time or can later be upcycled. Even clothing swaps with your friends or other local fashionistas can lower the high demand for making new items and help you save more money, time, and the environment .
Shop in your own closet
- Don’t be one of those people that “never wear the same thing twice”. Before you grab your credit card, think of some of your favorite pieces that’s already in your wardrobe. You’ll be surprised to see what goes together. Also, don’t be afraid to be bold. Instead of rocking the same solid colors, try spicing things up with a variety of patterns and textures to give your outfits more personality.
The Huffington Post ranked fashion at Howard University the country’s second most fashionable college campus, only runner up to New York University accordingly the campus is home to young Black innovators who are often at the forefront of much of pop culture. Models of the Mecca is a distinct fashion program not only to Howard University’s campus or the nation’s capital but to the students who bring life to it.
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