UNCHAINED Fashion Show Raises Awareness of Human Trafficking
Fashion shows usually mean glamour, beauty and elegance. For nearly 400 Kent State University at Stark students, faculty, staff and Canton community members, this concept now carries a greater meaning.
In early September, an on-campus casting call for female models attracted 21 Kent State Stark students. Before the ladies were fitted with exotic dresses designed by Korto Momulu, a Project Runway season five competitor, the coordinators of the UNCHAINED Fashion Team discussed the importance of the show for which they had volunteered.
The Columbus, Ohio-based company brings awareness to human trafficking, one of the world’s fastest-growing illegal enterprises. Annually, an estimated 1,100 Ohio children become victims and 3,000 more are at-risk. This tragic reality prompted Kent State Stark to partner with UNCHAINED to present a fashion show that told the story through the eyes and stages of a victim: from innocence to violation to restoration.
"By using fashion, UNCHAINED tells the untold story of a survivor's journey that changes the lives of those in attendance, helps prevent future trafficking and ignites abolitionists to stand up against modern-day slavery,” says Administrative Director Felicia Kalan.
The narrated show, combined with the dramatic transformation of the models, through hair, make-up and clothing, impacted the attentive audience members. This unique method of using the beauty of fashion to uncover an ugly truth taking place in our communities has been very effective for UNCHAINED’s mission.
"Fashion is the bridge that helps us engage in such a heavy topic as human trafficking. As a nation, we are still thinking this happens across the world, but not here in our own neighborhoods. The purpose is to bring beauty from ashes and empower audiences to do all they are able to end the crime in our lifetime," says Stephanie Catani, UNCHAINED’s creative director and co-producer.
The team is currently organizing UNCHAINED fashion shows in larger Ohio cities, as well as other states. With the ongoing support of Momulu, a new collaboration to create an additional show began recently.
"It's never been in any of our dreams that we would need to have missions like UNCHAINED, but I am thankful that they exist in an era where human trafficking is growing daily. It's my honor to be able to lend my artistic gifts to create awareness. We MUST protect our women and children. We MUST unchain them!" says Momulu.
To learn more about the UNCHAINED Fashion Team, visit http://unchainedfashionshow.com.