By SAMANTHA SMYLIE
Kenwood Academy’s Vanity Modeling Club had its first annual charity fashion show Saturday, Dec. 22. Current students and alumni from the class of 2018 walked the runway at Dearborn Denim and Apparel, 1504 E. 53rd St., to raise scholarship money for models graduating in the class of 2019.
During the fashion show, DJ Mile High from WGCI played music while men and women from Kenwood modeled clothes. In between segments, audience members were able to participate in multiple raffles to win prizes from local businesses in Chicago. Kenwood students were given prizes for their participation in student organizations throughout the year.
The night was celebration for current students and a way for alumni to give back to the Kenwood Academy community.
The Vanity Modeling Club has been a place for students to learn how to walk and pose like runway models. Not only has the club been a place for students to learn how to be runway models, but it has also been a place for students to build self-confidence, gain leadership skills and work as a team. Vanity models use their platform to discuss political and social issues.
Stanly Coleman, a member of the Kenwood Academy Alumni Association who helped to organize the fashion show, said the club members “utilize their platfrom to fight and advocate for the voiceless and underserved.
“They are strong advocates of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement,” Coleman said; the social movements were themes of the alumni charity fashion show on Saturday night.
The club has been participating in events throughout the city to promote who they are and show what they do. In April, Kenwood and South Shore High School had their first annual runway battle at The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave W. Vanity models nalso participated in the fashion show at the Black Women’s Expo. In the past, the club has worked with YK Management Model and Talent Agency.
The visibility the club has received from participating in events throughout Chicago has paid off, as more students have shown an interest in the joining the club. According to Jada Davis, current director of Vanity and Kenwood senior, “This year we had a lot of people come out to tryouts. We only picked 40 out of [about] 200.”
As new members are join the club, current and former Vanity models are excited to implement new training to enrich the program for the future.
“This year, we’re going to implement headshots in the club to teach [students] about building a resume.” said Ciara J. Evans, who was one of three captains for the club last year and is currently a student at Morgan State University in Baltimore. In addition to helping models build a portfolio, she hopes to see a design element added to the program in the future.
“If students design clothes, we usuallly implement that inside the show. For example, there was a young lady that went to our school who made sweatshirts. We implemented those sweatshirts inside of the show. We had a scene with her sweatshirts, shirts and even her hats,” said Evans. “But there is not a person in our group that designs our clothes – yet.”
After graduating from Kenwood, some students pursue ccareers in modeling while others model as an extracurricular activity in college. Evans participates in Fashion at Morgan (FAM), which implements design, walking, photography and nutrition into their curriculum. Davis hopes to pursue business administration as a major once she starts college.
Coleman said, “Some [students] get into fashion from a fashion merchandising standpoint. Other go on to become studying doctors, scientists, mathematicians. Students who participated in the Vanity modeling program has gone on to bright careers. Their foundation started with Vanity.”