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CU Fashion Week 2019 an international love affair

Although it’s a few weeks early, spring is already in the air on the Cameron University campus.

That’s because CU Fashion Week 2019 is ready to present some great spring styles during the Fashion Show/Food Drive at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Cameron University Theatre, 2800 W. Gore. It’s free to attend; however, patrons are asked to bring at least two non-perishable food items for donation to the Lawton Food Bank, according to Merita Mitchell, director.

“We are looking to raise much needed food items for the community,” she said.

The year’s theme is “Once Upon the Continents.”

CU Fashion Week began in 2012 through the efforts of Mitchell. Before 2018, it was a book scholarship event for international students at the university. Last year was the first for it to be a food drive with Unity of Lawton and the Salvation Army as its beneficiaries.

Mitchell said the event is one where she can showcase her talent as well as give back to the Lawton/Fort Sill community. Pretty adept with her sewing and design skills, Mitchell will have her thimble-thumbed hand in the designs, as will other creative clothiers.

“I will be designing and making all of the clothing (over 25 pieces) that will be onstage the night of the show,” she said. “All of the clothing will be locally made.”

A native of St. Kitts, Mitchell loves being able to shine a light on the contributions and creativity of other international students. Now married to her husband Jason and a long-time Lawton resident, she feels it’s essential to allow the students and community opportunity to see the best in each other.

“I’m very passionate and am always looking for some way to give back to the community that has nurtured and welcomed me,” she said.

The now 7-year legacy of Fashion Week is a source of pride for Mitchell.

“Before 2018, up and coming designers, based in the Caribbean, Canada and the United States, were given the opportunity to showcase their designs,” she said. “Some of the designers that graced the stage of CU@Fashion Week, have gone on to make a huge impact on the fashion industry in their respective countries.”

Mithcell said that past designers have participated in African Fashion Week in Toronto, Canada, in 2017; unveiled their designs at a special reception at Buckingham Palace for London Fashion Week in 2018; and some have designed outfits for their home country’s Olympic Opening Ceremony participants.

Inspired by those talented designers, Mitchell took the leap last year to design her own collection. She said this year is no different.

Mitchell said she has always been passionate about designing and is self-taught. Self-motivated, she will be quick to tell you that she is not a professional and she has her own unique way of doing things. She said it begins with the fabric. Once she sees it, a design begins to envision its ultimate form.

Although the show is free, patrons may reserve tickets or purchase them the night of the event. The tickets are for giveaways from various businesses. To reserve a ticket, call 580-284-7083 or visit the event Facebook page:

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