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Celebrating Global Cultures

My Culture is not a Costume

Key Points:

  • IC International Club hosted Interfashional Night: My Culture Is Not A Costume on Friday March 23rd
  • The fashion show celebrated Ithaca College students’ diverse cultures and their fashions that are represented on campus
  • The theme strived to combat cultural appropriation

4 years ago Veer Badani left India to study at Ithaca College. He had never seen a college campus before and he had never been to New York.  At one of the first college parties he attended, he observed Indian culture appropriation.

“I’ve been to a party in Ithaca actually, where a guy dressed up as a Punjabi man in a turban, but that was my first time, at least in Ithaca, seeing someone wearing something specifically from where I’m from,” said Badani.

Badani is a senior now. He had the ability to change people’s perception of other cultures as co-president of International Club at Ithaca College.

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Veer Badani on the promotional flyer for Interfashional Night

Fashionably Woke

Once a semester, Ithaca College students hailing from all around the globe gather to celebrate their culture and clothing as part of Interfashional Night.

According to co-president Badani,  “Interfashional night was created to showcase the cultural differences that IC campus has. It’s an opportunity for us to showcase who we are and more importantly, where we come from.”

Students can represent their country in a number of ways. Many model fashions from their home countries, sing songs in their native tongue, dance, and perform.

Ithaca College student modeling fashion from India

My Culture is Not a Costume


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This flyer and many others were posted on walls at the event

My Culture is Not a Costume was the theme of this year’s Interfashional Night. Badani is one of many international students who have witnessed their culture being worn as a costume.

The club’s other Co-President, Aria Collins reinforced why this theme is important.

“Often times we see our traditional wear being worn at times during Halloween or being worn as something that’s flamboyant or something that people think they can just wear and not understand the meaning behind it,” she said.  

“We wanted to make it fun but something educational so that the Ithaca College community understand the meaning behind some pieces that they would see us wearing.”

Students didn’t just walk the runway wearing their traditional garments.  The MCs interviewed them on stage directly after the walks. The models answered questions about the cultural importance and context of the clothing. Both co-presidents hoped that audience members could take away what traditional garments mean and why they wear them.

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Aria Collins (right) is an MC for Interfashional Night with Leila Do (left)

Confident Catwalk

For many students, the event provides their first opportunity to walk on a runway. International Club assistant treasurer Oscar Areces Garcia said modeling in front of a large crowd can be nerve-wracking, so it’s important to have fun.

“Confidence is the first thing, it’s the only thing,” said Areces Garcia, “You definitely need confidence to walk, but if you do this without confidence you definitely leave with a lot of it.”

Even though student models are only on the runway for a brief time Collins mentioned how empowering it can be, “We’re able to express our culture even though we’re walking for like 20 or 30 seconds. That 30 seconds is very powerful and we get to say a lot and express who we are.”

Aria Collins kicking of the show by modeling Carnival wear from Grenada

Grateful Graduates

Executive board of International Club

Veer Badani and Aria Collins are both seniors, who are graduating in a few short weeks. Interfashional Night was the last event they will be involved in as a part of International Club.

Badani reminisced about the club’s influence on his collegiate experience.

“In International Club, I met people from my country, from countries just like mine, and people going to school far away from their home,” he said. “So it was a real way for me to know that I had a place here and that I could fit in.”

Collins had a unique position during her final event.

“I’m definitely happy, it’s been a great four years,” she said. “I got to MC so it felt as though I really got to hold the energy of the audience and it’s going to be a memory that’s going to last forever.”

International Club Executive board on the stage at the end of Interfashional Night
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