Fashion show focuses on traditional and contemporary African styles

Modeling Nigerian dresses for the Inside Africa Fashion Show are first-year students (from left) Folarera Fasawe, Michelle Pham and fashion show host Nicole Kanu.

Traditional and contemporary fashions from Africa are the focus of Bates’ premiere Inside Africa Fashion Show, starting at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St.

Sponsored by the Africana Club, a student organization, the event is open to the public at no cost. For more information, please contact

In addition to students modeling apparel from 10 African nations, the program includes a dance from the Congo, a performance of Ghana’s popular Azonto mime dancing and a rendition of the South African national anthem by the Gospelaires, a choir composed of singers from Bates and Lewiston-Auburn.

“I thought it would be interesting to invite Bates and the community to see Africa,” explains Nicole Kanu, who conceived of the show and will host it. A first-year student from Little Rock, Ark., she is the daughter of a Nigerian couple. “Many look at Africa as one country and fail to realize that it is a continent that contains many countries.

“The Inside Africa Fashion Show will take the audience into Africa and focus on some of the smallest differences between countries — in their attire. This show is about Africa today.”

The show will follow a plot depicting a student who is backpacking through Africa. “Each stop she makes shows her a different aspect,” Kanu says. At the end of the fashion show, the backpacking student will bring Africa back to America as models demonstrate how to mix and match American and African apparel.