There’s something profound about the way colors and textures mesh together, creating art through forms of fabric. Using a similar approach, the University of Toledo’s StyleList Fashion Organization merges
different races, cultures and backgrounds together, representing diversity in fashion.
“The purpose of StyleList is to allow students to show their creative side,” said Marche Alvis, a second-year criminal justice major. “We help build their confidence, and it also allows students to get more involved, get to know people, network and introduce them to their selves.”
The inspiration behind forming such an organization came to former UT student Amber Sanders after realizing the gap existed between students of different backgrounds at UT, according to second-year business major Diamond Hunt.
“StyleList is a fashion organization that surrounds beauty, music and fashion and kind of brings together diversity and cultures through those kind of arts,” Hunt said.
After volunteering at Toledo and Bowling Green’s Fashion Show last year and being elected as its secretary, Hunt now serves as the organization’s president. Hunt said she joined the group for its mission of bridging the distance between students of different backgrounds.
“Everyone has their own sense of style regardless of their race, sexuality, anything,” Hunt said. “So, we kind of wanted to merge the diversity and make us become one as a union.”
The group held its fashion show, “In Living Color,” Nov. 10 at the Ice Restaurant and Bar in Toledo. The event showcased different color schemes. The primary color scheme included blue, red and yellow, while other schemes incorporated nude, black and white, and neon.
Alvis said this fashion show was different than other events she’s been a part of as it allowed her to build her own confidence while helping models build their confidence.
“The models helped out a lot,” Alvis said. “I honestly have never seen or been in show where we all can say we contributed and worked very hard to have the show.”
Hunt said planning In Living Color was particularly difficult with getting sponsors and finding appropriate venues. After two months of planning, StyleList pulled off a fashion show sponsored by Windsor and African-American-owned businesses.
“We had to pull things from our homes,” Hunt said. “It actually revealed something in me, as a leader, to work hard and not take things negatively and focus.”
Her passion for uniting people regardless of their race, background and sexuality is what encouraged her to step up and become president, Hunt said. Seeing the founders go through similar struggles she is facing now pushed her to take initiative and lead a group.
“One thing I learned about this fashion show is that I put a lot of pressure on myself sometimes, and I need to just let it go and trust the process,” Hunt said.
StyleList has grown since the last two years, and March will mark its third year on campus. Hunt added that more people now know what StyleList is and want to be a part of it.
Not only has StyleList grown since being introduced on campus, but it has also helped members grow. Alvis shared the organization allowed her to grow as a person, businesswoman and student.
“All of these growths come from handling different situations, being out on the spotlight and being under pressure,” Alvis said.
Hunt added that the organization will be making stockings, hats and scarves to donate to the children’s hospital in Toledo for Christmas. She encourages students interested in joining to come to the events and support them.
“The need of the organization is just to bridge the gap,” Hunt said. “We notice going through a predominantly white institution, there are not a lot of things at the university that showcase people like us, and by us, I mean people of color, not just black.”