This year International Education Week is going glam. On Monday, Nov. 11, the University of St. Thomas' Office of Study Abroad, International Student Services, International Education Center, ELS Language Services, Office of Service Learning and Student Engagement and the Office of Global Initiative will kick off IEW with their first-ever fashion show highlighting traditional clothing from around the globe, including Saudi Arabia, Togo, China, Liberia, South Africa, Norway, Nepal, Uganda, Spain and Cameroon. The show will take place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in Woulfe Alumni Hall, Anderson Student Center.
St. Thomas students have until Friday, Nov. 8, to enter the show. Contestants on the red-carpet runway will be judged on overall appearance, which includes outfit authenticity and charisma on the runway. Those brave enough to strut their stuff will be asked to describe what they are wearing and how it relates to fashion in their home country.
First, second and third-place winners will receive Visa gift cards for $75, $50 and $25, respectively.
The first 100 attendees will receive free IEW T-shirts; entry into the event is free.
More information about the fashion show and instructions for participating are available on the event's Facebook page.
African couture on the red carpet
Sophomore Natacha Eguida will model traditional dress from a few African cultures at the fashion show. Eguida was born in Togo, West Africa, and also has lived in other African countries, including Central African Republic, Rwanda and Tunisia.
She said, "Traditional clothes, especially African ones, emphasize very well the uniqueness of a culture; it's important that they don't fall into oblivion."
Traditional Togolese clothing is mostly colorful with various patterns and/or symbols printed on them. Eguida remarked that garments are often loose-fitting for adults and elders and tighter-fitting for teenagers and younger people.
Social class is often reflected in the traditional clothing of Togo. "Women wear a lot of jewelry, made of gold, silver or precious wood," Eguida said. "Head wraps are also very popular. The bigger (and shinier sometimes) they are, the higher social class you belong to." Traditional clothing is typically reserved for special occasions, such as big celebrations and holidays like Christmas, weddings and baptisms, she added, noting that "culturally your traditional clothes reflect what kind of family you are from. When you are from a wealthy family ... your traditional clothes are a big deal."
International Education Week
International Education Week is Nov. 11-15.
The annual event offers free food, free entertainment and prizes. Get caught wearing your IEW T-shirt, attend IEW events or fill out your IEW Passport at the International Fair to receive raffle tickets; the grand prize is a $250 plane ticket voucher.
T’s in Anderson Student Center once again will provide international food selections throughout the week for lunch.
Visit the International Student Services website for a complete IEW schedule of events, including the International Fair, Soccer Tournament and Culture Fest.