Carla Pangan / Courtesy Photo

Cal Poly’s MultiCultural Center (MCC) hosted its first fashion show “Dare to be Diverse” on Saturday to celebrate diversity on campus and educate students on the many cultures represented in the student body.

After a Bollywood dance performance by Cal Poly’s Bhangra Team, models dressed in traditional attire from a variety of cultures walked down the runway.

The scene was filled with vibrant music, bold clothing and tireless cheering from the audience. The models beamed with confidence as they marched, adorned in traditional pieces from their roots.

The show featured designs from Assyria, India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Africa, America, Japan, Mexico, China, Nigeria, Palestine and Iran.

For many of the models, including business administration sophomore Isha Kumar, wearing clothing that represented their heritage and culture brought a tremendous sense of pride.

For Kumar, the opportunity to show off her lengha, a traditional Indian garment, was the highlight of the night.

“I just love Indian clothing; all the colors and different designs,” Kumar said. “I love wearing it so others can appreciate it and our culture as well.”

The MCC serves as a platform of support for underrepresented students on campus. It is located in the Julian A. McPhee University Union.

Sociology senior Violet Nguyen created the event with a team after her empowering catwalk in the Indian Student Association’s (ISA) fashion show two years ago.

“I used to be really embarrassed of my heritage and culture, but as I got older I began to appreciate and find pride in my background,” Nguyen said. “After walking in the ISA show I was inspired to create a space for students of all different cultures to showcase their diversity and be proud of it.”

Instead of ignoring Cal Poly’s lack of diversity on campus, the MCC encourages the open and frequent discussion of the issue. Graphic communication freshman Carolyne Sysmans is especially appreciative of these efforts.

“I am very thankful that the MCC knows that Cal Poly isn’t the most diverse and wants to hold programs that showcase the percentage of diversity that lies within the campus,” Sysmans said. “They took something that everyone can relate to — fashion — and turned it into a learning opportunity for many. Fashion is all over the world, but each place has its own unique spin on it. It is one of the many reasons why the world is beautiful and every culture must be represented, respected and celebrated.”

To learn more about Cal Poly’s Multicultural Center, visit its website.

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