UNITY combines fashion and culture for charity
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    The third annual Unity Charity Fashion show combined fashion and philanthropy to raise a record $2,000 Saturday night in the Norris Student Center.

    24 Northwestern student models strutted their stuff down the catwalk.  Featured fashions came from various cultures as well as popular brands like Urban outfitters, Click, Akira and the Northface. Student designers Nicole Sobaski, Michelle Brown and Nadina Gerlach also made a showing. The proceeds went to two select philanthropy organizations: The Generation Project and Variety Children’s Charity. Three-hundred-fifty students were in attendance.

    “We chose fashion because UNITY is a [product of] co-sponsorship of different cultural groups on campus,”  said co-president and Weinberg sophomore Leo Zhu. “This year we had 11 co-sponsors. The founders chose fashion because fashion is a uniting aspect of every culture.”

    Chicagoan artist Jabari Rayford kicked off the show with his entertaining renditions of pop and R&B songs.

    Singer/Songwriter Marie Digby, who has gained fame through her Youtube covers of popular songs, performed in the second half. Guitar in hand, she performed ‘Say it Again’, an original piece, an acoustic cover of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams.” Members of the audience sang along.

    Michelle Baert, President of Variety of Illinois, spoke about the roots of Variety Children’s Charity. She explained that the philanthropy started when an infant was left abandoned on the steps of a movie theater and movie theater employees took the baby in. Since then, Variety of Illinois has provided programs and services for children with disabilities and disadvantaged youth.

    The Generation Project was the other recipient of UNITY’s donations. Jessica Rauch, founder of the Generation Project, spoke to the audience about her philanthropy’s goal, which is to allow donors to become “actively involved in their giving.”

    Lydia Hsu, UNITY model and Weinberg junior, called the show a success.

    “I’d have to say that the best part about this year’s show was precisely its strong emphasis on UNITY – the selection of models this year was a lot more diverse, as were our co-sponsors and designers,” Hsu said. “It was wonderful to have such a strong and varied group of people from different majors and locations all over campus and clothing that spanned from widely recognized brand names”

    Audience members agreed.

    “The clothing was so diverse and the models were all really funny,” said Weinberg senior Maryam Majekodunmi. “I feel like fashion and charity have always gone hand in hand.”

    “I was really impressed at the overall turnout of the event,” said Weinberg freshmen Yasha Saxena. “I expected something really simple, with models walking in a small, dimly lit room. But this even turned out to have real legitimate clothing lines sponsoring the fashion show, with a real runway, spotlights and the works. I felt like I was really in a New York fashion show in Bryant Park during Fashion week,”

    UNITY Co-president Leo Zhu summed it up nicely. “The number in attendance was phenomenal and seeing just how much we could donate to charity really paid off.”


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