Epiphany Modeling Troupe to stage Culture Club show with Cotton Club theme
WHAT: "Fashion at the Culture Club," a theatrical modeling show by IU's Epiphany Modeling Troupe
WHERE: Willkie Auditorium, Indiana University Bloomington
WHEN: 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 12
Indiana University students will put their best faces -- and fashions -- forward Dec. 12 at Willkie Auditorium when IU's Epiphany Modeling Troupe presents its first major fashion show, "Fashion at the Culture Club."
The event is the culmination of efforts by the new group's co-founder and president, Ebony C. Brown, who will graduate from IU this month with degrees in marketing and apparel merchandising. The show's theme is a nod to the "Cotton Club," a famous New York City club that featured some of the greatest African American performers in the 1920s and '30s.
"Our membership is very diverse, so we're calling it 'The Culture Club,' instead of 'The Cotton Club,'" Brown said. Willkie Auditorium will be transformed into a nightclub for the event, with a piano and coat rack on stage to set the scene, a red carpet for dramatic entrances and "mocktails" and appetizers by Ambrosia catering.
"Epiphany isn't so much about modeling -- it's more about coming together and collaborating with each other through fashion," said Brown. "IU is a very diverse campus, and everyone has their own style. This is a way to showcase the different things students do."
Brown says that while the underlying purpose of the group is to help participants build confidence, part of the mission is to have just fun displaying individuality through fashion. Brown said participants' styles range from a Muslim member who makes a statement with her various head wraps to label-obsessed students decked out in Burberrys and miniskirts to hip-hop fans in skinny jeans and baggy sweatshirts.
Brown began organizing Epiphany in 2007 with pal LaTroy Hampton, a fashion design certificate student and the vice president of the group. Brown and Hampton graduated from West Side High School in Gary, Ind., where both had leadership roles in their school's modeling troupe, Faces. After securing a graduate advisor, writing bylaws and a constitution and forming an executive board for Epiphany, they held their first auditions this fall in September.
"We took everyone who came to audition," said Brown. "We felt like, if you can get up there and show your personality and style, that's enough. That's one of the many things that make our group unique. We have all different kinds of backgrounds, all different kind of figures, all different cultures."
At their weekly practices, Brown and Hampton teach the approximately 30 group members modeling techniques including how to walk on a runway, how to pose and pivot, and how to model accessories on the runway. At the group's "Top Model" event on Nov. 15 at Willkie, five male and five female participants took part in "pose off" challenges, T-shirt design contests, a "What's Your Style" challenge and a final "walk-off" competition designed after the hit TV show "America's Next Top Model."
Epiphany also staged a "dos and don'ts" of professional dress show for the sorority Delta Sigma Theta. Other events included an art gallery social at Tutto Bene, tailgates, an appearance at Customs and Spirit night (an event with the IU residence halls) and a small-scale modeling show for the sorority Gamma Phi Omega.
Last summer, Brown -- who describes her own style as simple, influenced by Audrey Hepburn -- studied fashion styling and trend forecasting at American Intercontinental University in Paris for six weeks. A few months after her December graduation, she will start a position as an executive in training with Macy's in Chicago. Epiphany will continue.
"LaTroy will become president, and those members who have been dedicated and come to practice and all our social events will have the chance to become more involved."
After The Culture Club fashion show, Brown will leave IU in body but not in spirit. She says she'll continue to rock the Epiphany slogan that the group recently printed on sweatshirts for members: "Epiphany: A sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, and realizing that fashion is not a game, it's a movement! Live . . . Love . . . Fashion."
Tickets for the Fashion at the Culture Club event are $5 for the general public and $10 for VIP tickets, which include VIP badges, preferred seating, mocktails and appetizers. For more information, contact Ebony Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or 219-201-5673.