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Howard’s 2023 “Straight Outta the Mecca” Fashion Show Celebrates Hip-Hop Culture

The highly anticipated annual student fashion show featured streetwear-inspired designs from renowned fashion brands and designers from Howard.

Howard student models dressed in “Fresh as Febreze designs created by Howard Alumna Rachel Motley. (Nolan Baynes III/The Hilltop)

As part of this week’s homecoming celebrations, the 2023 Student Fashion Show, hosted under the theme “Straight Outta the Mecca” (SOTM), presented student-designed fashion lines with baggy silhouettes and colorful patterns reminiscent of the 1990s. 

The show featured mixes curated by DJ Drama and DJ Clue, as well as performances by artists Elon Suave and Lady London. “Fresh AF (as Febreze)” streetwear designed by Howard alumna and multidisciplinary artist Rachel Motley, in collaboration with the American brand Febreze, was modeled by performers of a hip-hop dance troop. The dancers’ performances were an ode to Hip-Hop’s 50th Anniversary. 

Motley graduated from Howard University in 2022 with a degree in marketing, which she stated helped prepare her for the logistics of the fashion industry and helped her advocate for herself in those spaces. She further emphasized how studying marketing helped her to manage herself as a multidisciplinary artist. 

“I really wanted it to feel fresh. I have a clean iconography, so I paired these little shiny glistening marks with colors that I thought really represented Febreeze like blue and some white in there just to play on that freshness and cloud-like feeling,” Motley said.

The stage design set the tone for the evening with displays bearing distinctive scatterings of graffiti words and phrases, playful multicolored illustrations and aged clay-brick patterns. 

Attendees lined up hours prior to the doors opening in anticipation of the show. Chadwick Clark, a Florida Agricultural Mechanical University (FAMU) graduate and attendee, was amongst the crowd waiting to go to the fashion show. 

“I am looking forward to seeing how the models tell their story through how they walk and show off their clothing…it’s all very inspiring,” Clark said.

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Students, alumni and other visitors of Howard’s Homecoming line up at Cramton Auditorium for the 2023 Fashion Show. (Nolan Baynes III // The Hilltop)

 Pieces by designers Karl Kani, Michelle  Taylor, High Roller Club, Von Dutch, Nyasia Ashford, and Tracey Pendleton, were all modeled at this year’s student fashion show. Model Kennedy impressed the audience when she appeared clad in a baby pink ensemble designed by Karl Kani with a stunning chain-linked hairstyle.

David Brown’s denim-on-denim outfit captivated the audience as it featured a train-length denim durag, a jean jacket, and baggy pants. Varsity jackets were seen throughout the show, all sporting vivid colors, oversized fits, varied patches and eye-catching graphics. 

Howard student model wearing fashions from Karl Kani, the “Godfather of Urban Streetwear.” (Nolan Baynes III // The Hilltop)

Kinshasa Giani, a freshman international business major from Los Angeles shared her experience at this year’s student fashion show. 

“I loved it so much. All of the models and their styling were so cool, as well as the incorporation of the dancers and the models into the whole performance. It was my first time attending the student fashion show, so I was really impressed,” Giani said. 

The night ended with a showcase of Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts student designs for NBA player Allan Houston’s sportswear brand FISLL, based on five values: faith, integrity, sacrifice, leadership and legacy. The pieces modeled feature co-branded Howard University designs now available for purchase in the university’s bookstore.

Copy edited by Diamond Hamm


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