Empowering professionals with style

The UH Association for Women in Communications held its first public fashion show on Friday. The event was held to raise money for the organization and its scholarships and to empower its members to look and feel confident as they begin their professional careers.


“It’s important that when you walk in that door that everything you want that person to think of you is exactly what they see before you open your mouth. That is an image, a professional image,” said local stylist Thomasina Burns at a fashion show hosted by the Association for Women in Communications on Friday.  |  Courtesy of Katie Bennett

The AWC invited local stylist Thomasina Burns to help style the members and create professional looks out of their current wardrobes. Burns stressed the importance of creating a strong visual identity when interviewing for a job.

“Think about this. When you first walk in the room, before you can share your degree, your accomplishments, accolades or any of your credentials, they are going to make a decision about you before you even open your mouth,” Burns said. “When you go to an interview or before you go and talk to your boss or you supervisor, you want them to look at you and think, ‘Okay, they’re serious, but for fashion-forward people, you can still look good and be serious.”

The AWC has held previous fundraisers for its members that follow more traditional routes, such as hosting bake sales, but when brainstorming for a bigger fundraising event, the members grew excited for the idea of incorporating all of their skills to create a fashion show.

“It kind of just came out of nowhere,” media production junior Ana Garza said. “We were just all brainstorming, and it kind of just came out. We all got very excited.”

Organizers of the event used their networking skills to gather sponsors and vendors for the event. They reached out to students skilled in media production, photography, lighting and sound. They added layers of entertainment to the event by bringing in musicians, dancers and a spoken-word poet.

The audience clapped, snapped, hooted and hollered during the show. Each of the students modeling received applause while walking down the catwalk.

At the end of the show, Burns informed the audience that the fashion show consisted of clothing that the students had already owned.

“What was so awesome about this was that those ladies were styled from stuff they already had in their closet,” Burns said. “We took the clothes that they had, which were very fashionable and trendy, and turned them into something professional. You can see their personality come out in it as well. Anybody can look cute, but you really can’t rock your look unless it’s you.”

Closing out the event, speech communication graduate student Asha Winfield thanked the audience for attending and supporting the AWC with ticket sales and donations.

“This was a dream come true,” Winfield said. “Seriously, I dreamed about it. You can be beautiful and powerful in the workplace. Beauty and brains — they go well together.”

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