Organization for Black Unity fashion show makes comeback to in-person: "Find your people"

A model of OBU’s 2020 Vision fashion show twirls onstage Saturday, Feb. 29, in Plachta Auditorium.

The Organization for Black Unity (OBU) will be showcasing its 22nd annual fashion show at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 in the Plachta Auditorium.

The OBU Fashion Show is an event that showcases black culture and pride through fashion.

Junior, OBU president, Ahlexis Cole and senior, co-director Makayla Smith started organizing the show in October 2021. Cole said organizing the show is a continuous learning process.

“You learn something new that you didn't know even when the show was like two days away,” she said. “It's a lot of trying to organize things, but also kind of going with the flow.”

The theme for the fashion show is “In This Category Is" - the themes of designs remain unknown until they are announced on the night of the event. Smith said the organization chose this theme to showcase a range of different styles.

“We know everybody has their own kind of twist and look to certain things,” she said. “It’s a mystery. You won’t know until you’re there.”

The OBU Fashion Show will showcase designs made by Central Michigan University students and Black-owned business vendors.

Lansing junior and fashion design major Gabriela Salais has two designs in the show. It is the first show her garments will be showcased. She said she is excited for people to see what she created.

“It's a very proud moment for myself,” Salais said. “I put so much hard work into this and it wasn’t easy.”

Last year, the OBU Fashion Show was virtual. Cole said everyone did what they could during COVID-19 to make the best show possible via video.

Now, with the fashion show show back in person, Smith said everyone involved with it - from directors to models - has worked persistently to make it an exciting and fresh experience for the audience.

“You just get a different connection when you're actually there versus a through video,” Smith said.

For OBU, the event is more than a fashion show. It’s a way to build connections and expand networks. Cole said OBU provides people confidence and growth.

“We don’t only want to be known as a fashion show,” Cole said. “We want to be an organization that provides a chance to find your people.”