COLUMBIA — Wearing shocking pink dresses with black velvet vests and sneakers, Jingqian Xu and Wendi Wong twisted, turned, waved and smiled. The room, adorned with international flags and red silk lanterns, pulsated with traditional Chinese music blasting from a boom box in the corner.
Xu and Wong were practicing for Saturday’s International Fashion show, a night of fashion, song and dance from different cultures. Sponsored by the Missouri Students Association/Graduate Professional Council International Programming Committee, the event will feature performances by student associations representing various countries and regions. Students from countries including China, Japan, India, Thailand, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia will perform.
Nan Anantravanich, senior chair of the programming committee, said the event is more than a fashion show.
“The purpose of the show is so that international students and domestic students can experience different cultural outfits and dancing all in one show,” she said. “And it’s a really exciting show.”
Hours of preparation go into coordinating the occasion, including many quests to local stores for outfits and props.
“Pretty much we have to go shopping with every single group, and it’s just interesting seeing what they’re buying,” Anantravanich said. “They can’t get authentic stuff from here. ... They’re just trying to get something similar to what they would use in their country.
However, the lack of original materials doesn’t slow the students down.
“Some of them are buying (wooden) rods, and they’re somehow making them into weapons (for performances),” Anantravanich said. “So they’re turning it into something else.”
Sheng Lu, a doctoral student in textile and apparel management, had several reasons for participating in the show.
“Partly because of my major, I cannot miss it,” he said. “This semester I even take a course focusing on fashion forecasting.”
Lu is going to perform with Xu and Wong, despite the fact that he has never before publicly danced.
“The Chinese students are a team,” he said. “You should contribute as much as you can. ... Also, I think this is a very good opportunity to meet people from other countries,” noting that everyday life did not present that chance often.