TWESE showcases African fashion with energetic show
On March 5, the College Avenue Student Center was transformed into a high-fashion event as the Organization for African Students & Friends of Africa (TWESE) held their 25th annual fashion show. The TWESE Fashion Show is an event where fashion statements from Africa are showcased for students to demonstrate their African pride and heritage.
The official site for TWESE provides a mission statement about the organization stating, “TWESE ... has been a cultural group at Rutgers University since 1991, formed to provide a haven for students with African interests, and as an avenue to better educate the entire Rutgers community on African issues."
The word "TWESE" means "unity" in Kinya-Rwanda. The night was truly one for fashion lovers of all types. The performances set in the show, in particular the opening act that demonstrated women power, were extremely entertaining. The show was professionally skilled in portraying the couture that represents Africa.
The air was electric with friendly interactions, with people meeting new friends for the first time — it truly represented the unity many students spoke of when thinking about TWESE.
Taylor Ebron-McQueen, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, believes TWESE brings the Rutgers black community together.
“I’m a junior now, so I’ve been going to the event since freshman year," Ebron-McQueen said. "It has a great sense of community and brings together what we call black Rutgers, plus we get the chance to look good and just have that general sense of community all around.”
When I got the chance to speak to the president of TWESE, Kafilatu Tiamiwu, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said she spoke about the unity that TWESE truly represents to her and to Rutgers as a whole.
"It's really a way to unify everyone through African culture — through the music, the performances, the dances and the clothes in a way," Tiamiwu said. "Everything here is inspired by Africa — and what it means to us and Africa is so integral to our organization and Africa itself is a big continent, so we can't fully represent everyone and everything, but we try our best to.”
Unity truly was a strong theme throughout the night’s events. Everyone had a blast being there, and the passion everyone had towards their culture was palpable and infectious as the show went off. As soon as I walked through the doors, I was welcomed with smiles and laughter as everyone truly had a blast.
Along with the fashion choices of the event, which were astonishing to say the least, the music choices for the show also helped maintain the upbeat theme of the fashion show. Loads of people were dancing to the beat of the event, singing along to songs, and just overall having an amazing time and truly being comfortable within a place, and a club, they could call home.
The vice president of TWESE, Olufunke J. Ayetigbo, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, also felt this feeling of comfortableness when she first joined the club.
“TWESE is just extremely welcoming — I was very comfortable and they made it feel like home right away, and it led me to becoming so passionate about it," Ayetigbo said. "I truly enjoy my culture and I want the entire world and Rutgers University to see it — it is so empowering to be in a position of power in the club where I could help make all of this happen.”