Kaela Belingon / Photo Editor

A model twirls to show off a design in Sahara Gar’s collection, “Avant-Garde,” at the 26th Annual Fashion Expose in the Talley Ballroom on April 8, 2024. The Expose was hosted by the African American Textile Society.


On Monday, April 8, 2024.The African American Textile Society (AATS) held its 26th annual Fashion Exposé as part of Pan-Af Week at NC State. The event helped to commemorate 125 years of textile education at the university.

Before it began, State Ballroom was alive with chatter as people mingled and held bouquets. Little kids ran around as their families waited, eagerly for the start of the show.

The peaceful music that played in the background of conversations abruptly ended as the lights dimmed. From the silence came a surprising and familiar sound. “Crank That,” a 2000s hit, by Soulja Boy began playing, which sent host and faculty advisor, Jaquan Scott, dancing out to center-stage, setting the mood for what would be a joyous and energetic night to behold.

The event featured a Novice category, with six up-and-coming student designers and an Intermediate & Beyond category with five more experienced creators.

Many in attendance were there to support friends and family. Though some, like Brianna Green and University of South Carolina student Adam Stone, came mostly out of curiosity after seeing friends promote the show to their Instagram stories.

Shalena Harvin was in the audience to see her daughter, Makayla Richardson, model for designer Lainey Volz’ collection, which took inspiration from Disney princesses. She said the highlight of the show was “seeing my daughter come out and represent the only Black Disney princess” and “seeing the diversity of the fashion designers as well as the different concepts that they came with.” She said it was exciting “to see all the work of these up-and-coming fashion icons.”

Host Scott pointed out throughout the show the immense talent these young designers already possessed.

The sense of community present at the show was palpable, with attendees buzzing with praise and excitement for those they had come to see.

Lindsey Yang, a fourth-year in Fashion and textile management (FTM), modeled in the show for a good friend of hers and said. “Being in this industry and taking these courses, requires a lot of support, and that’s all you can ever ask for is for your friends and family to support you through the whole process.” said Yang.

Similarly, Emily Allen, a third-year Communication major, who modeled for friend, Anaya Harnett, said, “She put so much work into all of it, being able to support her and see everything she did, it was really important to be a part of that.”

The sentiment of being eager to uplift and celebrate their friends and fellow students was present throughout the show.

Natalie Ainbinder, third-year in FTM, brand management, modeled for Julia Handley, a roommate and friend as well. “I met her freshman year, and it’s great to see her succeed. She at first didn’t get into FTD and she tried again her sophomore year and got in so just seeing her succeed and follow her dreams, it’s really fulfilling,” said Ainbinder.

Following an intermission presented by Black and Belonging, host Scott came back on stage to announce the winners.


Kaela Belingon / Photo Editor

A model wearing a design by Julia Handley’s “When it Rains” collection poses at the 26th Annual Fashion Expose in the Talley Ballroom on April 8, 2024. The event was hosted by the African American Textile Society to kick off the first night of Pan-African Week.


Kaela Belingon / Photo Editor

A model walks down the runway wearing a design from Lainey Volz’ collection, “Once Upon a Dream,” at the 26th Annual Fashion Expose in the Talley Ballroom on Monday, April 8, 2024. Volz won first place in the intermediate and beyond category.


Julia Handley won first place in the Novice category and Lainey Volz took first place for Intermediate & Beyond.

Second-year FTM major, Kaylee Jacobs, was in attendance to cover the show for her internship with Wilson College of Textiles. She said, “My favorite part was definitely the energy this year,”…“I feel like fashion shows can get a bad rep for being kind of uptight and very strict, but I like the freedom that the AATS gives their models and their designers to be completely creative and be themselves. I love the energy that that brings to the show.”

This freedom was apparent from the widely varying inspirations behind the different collections. Themes ranged everywhere from different countries in Africa to biblical inspiration, sustainability practices, love, Cruella de Vil, rain and more.

The array of different visions and themes for the collections helped make every presentation feel like its own brand-new show, making it even more captivating and further adding to the excitement that swirled around the night.

Brianna Green talked about the vast inspirations for the collections as a highlight for her, saying “I’m really glad I came because it’s really cool seeing everyone’s different style and what they brought to the show.” She continued, “I think how everyone interpreted different things inspired me. I feel like everyone took it in different ways: that’s what stood out to me the most– everyone’s own individuality.”

Grace Avery, a second-year majoring in FTD also appreciated the creativity and vast differences between each collection, saying, “It was so cool seeing how everyone brought their own personality to it. It was very beautiful how they brought themselves into their collection.” Avery pointed out how many designers “took inspiration from their families and their upbringing and made it extra personal to them,” which she said made the collections all the more inspiring.

Ethan Pardieu, a third-year Electrical engineering major, was in attendance to support his friend, designer Anaya Harnett, who, like all the designers, worked hard on her collection and kept it “hush hush.”

Harnett’s collection focused on ways we can reuse materials and Pardieu said, “I think Anaya’s line really inspired me to be more renewable and think about how I can be more creative with the things that I’d otherwise throw away.”

There was a deep appreciation throughout for the hard work, dedication and artistry that every student put into making the show come together.

Her third time modeling, Zee Bishop-Bridges, a third-year Communication major, said that besides putting herself out there the show was important because of the diverse perspectives displayed and how it showed that, “Fashion is more than just being cool, it’s a piece of art and it’s a representation of people’s inner thoughts of what they can put into clothing.”

The event brought creatives, models, friends and family alike to celebrate all that we can do through art and creativity. The AATS highlighted the talent of student designers at NC State and showcased their work to a diverse audience that left many inspired.