People have always told Patricia Berrouet ’24 that she should model, and she finally got her chance at the second annual POCA Fashion Show, hosted by Conn’s People of Color Alliance student group in the College Center at Crozier-Williams in April.
“I wanted to try something new and get out of my comfort zone,” said Berrouet, a psychology major from Cambridge, Massachusetts, who took to the runway in a grunge-and-schoolwear-inspired ensemble designed by Linet Mercedes ’24.
Themed “The Blueprint,” this year’s show featured more than three dozen models wearing outfits of their own choice or designed by student stylists.
Leron Dugan ’24, a film studies and self-designed media, culture and social difference double major from Dobbs Ferry, New York, said he enjoyed the opportunity to create styles for fellow students at the intersection of formalwear and streetwear.
“I got to experiment in a way I hadn’t before as a creative student,” he said.
During the event, Thoa Nguyen ’25 modeled a floor-length traditional Vietnamese dress that belonged to her mother and was altered for her by her father. Claudia Marmelo ’23 found pieces on Amazon to recreate a white-and-red Cuban outfit based on a photo from a family member who used to lead tours to Cuba, and Iman Shaikh ’26 wore a shalwar kameez, a combination dress worn in regions of south and central Asia.
POCA Founder, Vice President and fashion show co-director Lyndon Inglis ’24 said the event is designed to give students the opportunity to show the Conn community where they are from and who they are.
“It was such a beautiful sight to see the models walk out to a crowd of cheering people. It gave me a lot of hope for the future of our community,” he said. “I feel so ecstatic that everything fell into place and so many people were able to see the hard work that myself and the entire fashion show team put into creating the show.”
Inglis, a government major and African studies minor from Brooklyn, New York, said he hopes the audience was awed by the beauty and culture of BIPOC communities.
“We hold so much power, influence, richness and beauty in all that we are, and I hope that everyone was left with an understanding of just how beautiful that influence is.”