You Are What You Wear: The Fashion Show

By Lisset Sanchez-Apolaya, Staff Writer

Basil Mustafa (10) strides down the auditorium stage, fully clad in a beige tunic with brown and gold pullover representing his Sudanese culture. Selena Banthavong (10) wears a long red skirt, a white top, and a red and gold scarf representing her Laotian culture. This is no professional runway performance. They are participating in the annual Falls Church Heritage Night Fashion Show.

The Fashion Show displays over 20 countries ranging from England to Vietnam. It gives students the opportunity to represent their cultures through their traditional clothing.

This can be in the form of garments, jewelry, and accessories worn by an identifiable group of people. These outfits included the Indonesian Batik, the Eritrean Zuria, and the Vietnamese Ao Dai.

The Batik is a traditional Indonesian dress worn to formal events. “The Batik speaks out the strong values and understanding of my culture,” says Jannah Yusuf (12). “It gives out that powerful energy through my whole aura or spirit.”

The Zuria is an Eritrean dress that goes down to the ankles, with a gauze hood around the head and shoulders. It is worn on holidays, birthdays, weddings, baptisms. “The Zuria makes me feel like I’m on top of the world,” says Mikal Yemane (12).

The Vietnamese Ao Dai is a tight-fitting silk tunic worn over trousers to weddings and on Chinese New Year.  “Wearing an Ao Dai makes me feel like I’m part of my family’s heritage,” says Betty Tram (9).

Many students find the fashion show useful to learn about the heritage of their teachers and classmates. “It was great to see people from many different ethnic backgrounds representing their cultures with pride,” says Basil.

“It gives us an understanding of our history and identity,” says Jannah. “It helps us to love and accept who we truly are.”