Promoting sisterhood through high fashion

Friday, November 19, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:47 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

With Beyonce blaring in the background singing “Crazy In Love” and girls shouting “all right now” and “I like that,” 70 Hickman High School No-Limit Ladies experienced the thrill and entertainment of being runway models.

Junior Ashley Hill, 17, is part of the all-girls club and encouraged her fellow “sisters” as they strutted their stuff upon the faux runway. The club hosted the fashion extravaganza in honor of Laura Wilson, an alumna of Hickman, clothing designer and the owner of the Blackberry Exchange.

“It was beautiful,” Ashley said. “I love the clothes, and I will be shopping there.”

Wilson designed all the models’ clothing. She was unable to attend because of last minute store concerns, but she wanted to take part in the fashion show because she supports the group’s mission.

“I love the idea of young women being taught that there are no limits in life,” Wilson said. “Anything you want to do is possible. The only limits we have are self-imposed.”

Symone Langston-Thomas, the group’s founder, acted as emcee and encouraged her student models “to work it.”

“We’re about lifting up one another,” Langston-Thomas said.

Special education teacher Ashley Malorin said she liked being a part of a group that promotes sisterhood. She even found the time to act as a model at one point, displaying the club’s shirt, emblazoned with the slogan: “… if I can conceive it and believe it, I can achieve it.”

Langston-Thomas said the shirt serves as a special tool among its members.

“It’s a representation of the entire organization,” Langston-Thomas said.

Sophomore Vanessa Guetersloh, 15, was one of the models to glide down the paper catwalk. She sported retro black boots with a blue denim jacket. It is Vanessa’s first year in Columbia, and she credits the group for helping her fit in.

“I felt good being a model because I’m used to people criticizing me, but here people praise me,” she said. “The No-Limit Ladies bring a feeling of friendship.”

At the end of the event, Langston-Thomas focused on the life of Wilson and how she was able to accomplish so much. She described Wilson as a role model.

“Her life really shows that there’s no limits to what any of you can do,” she said. “If you put your minds to it, you can accomplish anything. And that’s what No-Limit Ladies is all about.”

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