The Daily Gamecock

AAAS to host annual show, cultural awareness week

‘Fashion.Defined’ focuses on search for love in modern society


Students with powdered faces, glittering bodies and determined expressions will take to the Russell House runway this Friday in the hopes of bettering USC.

The Association of African American Students will host its elaborate annual fashion show this year in celebration of AAAS Cultural Awareness Week. 

This year “Fashion.Defined: The Lust for Love” will use various forms of artwork like dance, music and poetry to focus on the constant search for love in today’s society under the direction of A.Bevy.Productions creator Bryant White, who has been directing the show for three years. 

“I believe that love is perceived differently than in the past and — though I can’t say myself what love truly is — I can influence others to question within themselves what ‘true love’ truly is,” White explained.  

Alongside love, White also decided to highlight domestic violence because it is a widespread issue that affects more families than most people realize and can be a product when someone “loves for the wrong reasons,” he said. October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

The AAAS fashion show began more than 20 years ago to give students the opportunity to express themselves and to educate and involve the USC community, according to White. He began the Fashioned.Defined trilogy in 2010 to bring more purpose to the show. 

“The majority of the show is done and put together by students and with that comes experience, camaraderie, networking and the start of new and true friendships amongst the USC community,” White said. “The show’s total experience is an opportunity for students to come out of their shell, met new people, have a great time and take full advantage of the college experience.” 

Shantes Baxter, a fourth-year biology student, has been doing all those things since she began modeling in AAAS shows in 2008, and she guarantees that this show will be one to remember.

“The Lust for Love has been my favorite theme,” she said. “This one will definitely be one for the books. I find it to be a topic in which we all can relate. No one wants to be misunderstood, unwanted or isolated. We all want love.”

More than 70 participants were given six weeks to nail down every aspect of the show, including makeup and hair, performing, costuming and ruling the runway — which is harder than it may seem, Baxter said.

“My job requires more than the ability to flaunt outfits up and down the runway,” she said. “As a model, I must be able to captivate the audience by getting into character and displaying the scene’s purpose, all while remaining fierce, confident and owning the stage.”

Baxter said that she has continued to model with AAAS because of the purposeful nature of the shows. She feels that she is helping the USC community by bringing important issues into the spotlight in a creative way. 

“This fashion show is different from others because every scene, every video and every song serves a purpose,” Baxter said. “Ultimately, we strive to touch lives. We want the audience to leave the show having learned something new; to reflect on themselves and to leave saying ‘Wow, that was deep!’”


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