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N Crowd intersects student designs and social justice in third annual spring fashion show

April 8, 2024
<p>A model poses at N-Crowd magazine’s spring fashion show at Dem Hall on April 6, 2024.&nbsp;</p>

A model poses at N-Crowd magazine’s spring fashion show at Dem Hall on April 6, 2024. 

Michigan State University's student-run fashion magazine, N Crowd, hosted its third annual spring fashion show at Demonstration Hall Saturday night. This year's theme of the fashion show was "School Kids Aesthetic," featuring street-styled clothing from at least 15 students and local designers. 

Information science senior and N Crowd co-founder Brandon Williams gave a warm welcome to family and friends as they filled the ballroom. Williams thanked the audience for supporting the fashion show, as tickets had officially sold out within a day.  

Apparel and textile junior Brendan Sims opened the show by performing his song "Fiendz." Audience members cheered Sims on as he danced around the audience. 

Sims' brand, Seis Pandemonium, was among the featured designs in the first category of the show. Sims modeled his own designs, as well as the works of other designers, throughout the show.

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Despite being in the early stages of the brand, Sims said, creating clothes from donated mixed fabrics brings him joy. The stitching of his signature patchwork is made carefully, and the material is strong, he said.

"I have never been more happy to create in a manner that I can make (clothes for) everyone, no matter their financial situation," Sims said.

He noted that many college students struggle with unstable finances, making it difficult to afford their favorite clothing brands. Sims takes their "plain denim looks" and makes them feel like they're designer. 

The models walked down the runway with Sims' grunge, street look. Four more hip-hop performances by four other artists, including experience architecture junior Kennedy Campbell, filled the event. Students danced and sang along with Campbell, whose artist name is Kenny Moss, to her song, "On My Body!"  as she rode around on a decorated hoverboard. 

Fifteen street-style clothing brands were also featured in this show, including Seihport, created by engineering senior Semaj Willis, Hoodies by Hoodies, 3Thryl, Made to Make, Counterfeit Smiles, or CTFSMILES, and more.

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Some designers decided to spread messages about social issues with their work, such as Detroit designer Youana Azer. 

Azer's line, "Cairo's Creative," showcased a seamless patchwork with the message "Free Free P" stitched in patterns of the Palestinian keffiyeh scarf on the back of a dark gray crewneck sweatshirt. Human biology junior Yazan Zalmout wore the sweatshirt as he walked down the runway.

Zalmount stopped on the runway, took a knee, pumped his fist in the air and quickly turned around to point at the message. 

He said he spent a lot of time thinking about how to present the outfit with the message. The designer was cooperative, Zalmount said, and they were able to curate different ideas with each other.

"The shirt she made was something both of us were extremely proud of," Zalmount said.

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The brand is all about showcasing the designer's personal work and creating awareness for social movements like "Free Palestine" and the Black Panther movement in her patchwork.

"I am eternally grateful to her for having the dedication and courage to stand up and design a piece in support of Palenstine," Zalmount said. "Being Palestinian feels like I'm constantly misunderstood." 

For many students like Zalmount and zoology junior Zaria Johnson, walking down the runway marked the second time they have modeled for N Crowd. Johnson said N Crowd provides a supportive space for students, regardless of experience, to feel confident as a model.

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"My experience with N Crowd fashion shows has always been fun because we get a chance as models to really practice together, which allows us to feel more comfortable once the show happens,” Johnson said. “I have really enjoyed watching others grow through modeling and learning how to be themselves on the runway."

Johnson modeled for the brand Vincitcia, one of the many crochet clothing couture showcased throughout the night. Other crochet brands, such as Tse Crochet by psychology junior Thalia Epps, whose designer name is Thalia Simone, were on display at the show.

N Crowd President and apparel and textile design senior Damond Hardwick said collaboration plays a significant role in bringing a creative vision to reality. Having diverse perspectives can broaden their understanding of the creative process, Hardwick said.

"Personally, I find being a part of a creative community like N Crowd enriching, as it exposes me to a variety of creative minds and viewpoints," Hardwick said.

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Hardwick added that using the Demonstration Hall Ballroom as the venue was intentional because it aligned with the show's theme. 

"Our team remained steadfast, persevering until solutions were achieved for every obstacle encountered," Hardwick said.  "The extensive efforts we have invested to bring this event to fruition have been significant."

With N Crowd being a diverse student fashion organization, Hardwick said, it's important for the organization to emphasize the significance of highlighting Black designers. Hardwick's very own brand, Coutur3culture, was featured in this year's show.

"This show marked the debut of several of these designers," he said. "I'm hopeful that it signifies the beginning of a series of success for them."

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