Walk It Out, a multicultural organization based at the University of Iowa, will hold a live fashion show again this year.
The Walk It Out multicultural organization returns with an in-person fashion show on April 9 at the Iowa Memorial Union, after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.
The University of Iowa’s multicultural fashion show, Walk It Out, shares culture with students and community members in the Iowa City area through song, music, and fashion. The show will take place on April 9 in the Iowa Memorial Union’s Main Lounge.
The organization was founded in 2009, and this year marks its 13th anniversary. This will be the organization’s first in-person show since 2019, due to COVID-19-related restrictions.
The student populations decide which groups are represented in the show each year based on which cultures have students willing to lead each section. The groups change year to year, according to Amna Haider, president of Walk It Out.
Walk it Out: Multicultural Fashion Show represents over 20 multicultural student organizations at UI including the African Student Association, Arabic Student Association, participants in Greek life, the Korean Student Alliance, OASIS and many others.@uiowa #Fashion #Africa pic.twitter.com/h86zQOgou9
— Nairobi fashion hub (@FashionNairobi) April 9, 2022
Walk It Out will feature seven different cultures this year, including Native American, East Asian, Latin American, African, and South Asian, as well as LGBTQ+ and Hip Hop.
“We haven’t had a Native American group since, I believe, the 2018 show,” Haider explained. “They’re welcome to be a part of the show as long as we have the people power to represent these groups.”
Since the beginning of 2018, Haider has been a part of Walk It Out. Haider was able to model with the organization before the organization had to halt in-person shows in 2020.
Haider has taken on more group responsibilities now that he is a senior. She has been able to build strong relationships across campus as a result of her increased involvement over time. Through Walk It Out, which Haider describes as an important part of the group, he and others in the organization have been able to form meaningful connections.
“We made a lot of friends from all over campus, including people from every cultural group,” Haider said. “I believe that this fashion show is extremely important in terms of uniting underrepresented students on campus and creating community.”
The runway show is intended to inform the University of Iowa student body about the various cultures represented on campus. Mastura Ibnat, Walk It Out’s vice president, believes that having multicultural events at the UI is critical because it is a predominantly white institution.
“How you present culture to people at a PWI is extremely important,” Ibnat said. “We’re doing it in a very fun, palatable way where people can experience things that are very unifying like dance, fashion, and music.”
Walk It Out is supported by a number of local businesses in a variety of ways. Two Iowa City businesses, Vice and COPE Apparel, are supporting the Hip Hop group by donating clothing for the models to wear.
Nana’s African Boutique is also donating and selling clothing to the African group in Walk It Out. Naa Adjeiwa Tackie, the owner of the Iowa City company, is a UI Tippie College of Business graduate.
In 2012, 2018, and 2019, Tackie volunteered for the organization. She claims that the durability of clothing is what first drew her to clothing and fashion as a cultural marker.
Tackie has witnessed representation evolve and grow over the years at the university.
“There were very few Africans and very few People of Color when I started school at the University of Iowa in 2005,” she says.
Tackie remarked. “Seeing as there are enough of them now that we can showcase culture if there’s anything I can do to promote that, why not?”
Tackie’s business was on the verge of closing due to eviction charges nearly a year ago. Tackie’s business was able to stay open and serve the Iowa City community thanks to community support and her own perseverance.
Tackie felt it was important to repay those who had helped her through those difficult times. Tackie said she wants to uplift the diverse communities in Iowa City and inspire others as a symbol of strength for other business owners.
“Not only have I recovered, but I’m back up to speed and contributing to my university,” Tackie said. “I’m giving back to both my school and my community in some way.”
The show’s main focus is supposed to be a celebration. The ultimate goal of Walk It Out, according to organizers Haider and Ibnat, is to present culture as something fun for everyone to appreciate.
“Those are aspects of culture that are pretty universally loved and appreciated,” Ibnat said. “It’s critical that we do something like a runway show because, at the end of the day, culture is a lot of fun, and we should show that to people.”
Content courtesy of The Daily Iowan & NFH