Durant High School Journalism

African Fashion Comes to Tampa Bay

This is a couple’s outfit. Both incorporating floral patterns, his near his collar and hers around her hips.

Angelique Robinson

This is a couple’s outfit. Both incorporating floral patterns, his near his collar and hers around her hips.

Tampa, Fla.–On Saturday, Sept. 22, at the AC Marriott Hotel, an African Fashions pop-up show was held. There were also clothes, jewelry and handbags for sale before and after the fashion show.

There were eight models in total, seven women and one man. The women varied in height, shades and sizes. Each had multiple outfits all suited to their body shapes and skin tones.

The best piece in the line was one of the early pieces in the show. This was a one shoulder top made of carnation pink chiffon fabric. The bottom was a long, vibrant, yellow skirt that flowed instead of being skin tight. On the skirt were large pink and orange carnations. The way all the warm colors work together to make the eyes wander the outfit is what makes the outfit so brilliant.

While this piece was more sophisticated, another great piece was designed for a much more casual outing. The eye-catching part of the outfit was the cloak-like jacket, similar to what little red riding hood wore. The hooded cloak had wavy stripes in various shades of blue and aqua, orange and white. Underneath was a black hater top and a pair of black leggings, to make the cloak the center of the show.

There were some pieces that were not as strong. One of them was a knee length dress that had dark and light blue stripes contrasting each other with a shape resembling an over easy egg in two shades of pink scattered across the dress. The shades did not complement each other, and the pattern shape did not make the dress easy to look at.

I thought that the complete line looked beautiful. African fashions utilize colors and patterns which gives variety to an otherwise bland fashion world. The African fashion designers do things that many European and American designers are too afraid to; they use at least three different colors in every piece.

About the Contributor
Photo of Angelique Robinson
Angelique Robinson, Web Editor

Angelique Robinson is a senior at Durant and is Web Editor for the PawPrint newspaper. She loves writing creative pieces, as well as more serious articles...

Should students celebrate Black History Month by dressing in a dashiki?

An opinion article about the ways in which Black History Month is celebrated in high school.

According to many students, this year’s Black History Month celebration at Durant High School was the first year in recent years that the school has celebrated the experience in a big way. Starting February 1, students and faculty alike have been celebrating by representing black culture. Last Friday, administration sent out an email to teachers asking them to share with students an incentive encouraging students to dress in a dashiki one day and in traditional African clothes the next.

To some this recognition of African culture through clothing choice may seem harmless; however, after analyzing the opportunity deeper, I realized that this may encourage cultural appropriation among students.

The majority of students at Durant are Caucasian. Additionally, not every black person at Durant is of African descent.

I felt that this seemingly harmless way to recognize Black History Month could be a repeat of Durant’s pre-homecoming week earlier in the school year, during which students were asked to dress in “Caribbean style.” Many students, not being adequately educated on Caribbean culture, came dressed as hurtful stereotypes.

This lack of education regarding cultural appropriation and the differences between culture and race is a direct result of our southern history–a history tainted with discrimination and stereotypes towards people of color. I do not believe that Durant encourages racism; however, there are individual students at the school that create an uncomfortable and unwelcoming environment for people of color. These students may take an opportunity to “dress in traditional African clothing” and use it to put down their minority classmates.

Not only is the student body generally uneducated on racial history, culture, and appropriation, but some students also speak in racist ways. I spoke to many black students who shared their experiences of feeling “less than” in the community, speaking in particular about the common use of the “n-word” by non-black students. Some said that it should not be used at all, and some students explained how they forgive those who use it, believing the word is used for joking purposes. No matter in what context the “n-word” is used, it has the great potential to devastate those who hear it and I beg all to omit it from their vocabulary.

Many of the black students I spoke with at Durant told me that they built a “thick skin” to deal with constant insensitivity. This may explain why many were just excited to be acknowledged through the opportunity to dress in a dahiki. Many agreed that they would not mind if people of non-African descent wore dashikis.

Durant has many other events planned to honor Black History Month: namely, several performances by the school’s Step Team, music by black singers sung in the halls between classes, and a performance by the school’s gospel choir.

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