The lobby of the Rhodes Junior High School auditorium was a teen fashionista’s dream — but the clothing hanging on the bulging racks wasn’t Armani or Gucci.
Instead, the colorful fabric was part of a collection that represented countries from all over the world: a baby blue satin Korean dress, the silver and red silk of an Indian sari and the bright white of a head scarf from the African country of Eritrea.
On the auditorium’s stage, a girl practiced an Egyptian dance move.
“See her kaftan dress, note the silver and gold embroidery on the neck and sleeves,” announced a voice over the auditorium’s sound system, as the girl turned and walked off stage. “Masalaama, see you later!”
Members of the school’s Social Studies Club stayed after school Monday afternoon to practice for their annual multicultural fashion show, which will be held on Thursday.
“It’s not a catwalk glamour show, rather a tour of our planet’s cultural diversity via ethnic dress and traditions,” said world geography teacher Jeannine Kuropatkin.
She owns an extensive collection of ethnic clothing that many of the students wear, though some choose to bring their own clothing to represent their ethnic backgrounds.
Besides being fun, the program helps students learn about world geography.
Eighth-grader Katrina Warsaw, 14, said she was going home to research her country — the Philippines — in order to find an authentic way to style her hair for Thursday’s performance.
“I like this,” said Lindsay Dietz, 14, as she looked down at the green sari blouse.
“It’s a shorter shirt than what I’m used to,” she added, looking a little shy.
“We even get to wear the thing on the forehead, the bindi!” said her friend, Kendy Dederer, 13.
Club members voted to donate half of the event’s proceeds to the “Ambuya Project,” part of the Tucson-based Zambian Children’s Fund.
The Ambuya Project helps grandmothers in Zambia, where one-third of all children are orphaned by AIDS and other diseases. Grandmothers often have to take care of dozens of children, and the fund helps the women with food, employment and school fees.
What: 7th annual Multicultural Fashion Show
When: 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Rhodes Junior High School auditorium, 1860 S. Longmore, Mesa
Tickets: $5 adults, $2.50 children age 5 and under
Benefits: The Zambian Children’s Fund, www.zambianchildrensfund.org