One of UC Santa Cruz’s premier events has returned for another year. The Queer Fashion Show will be presenting “The Media in Rainbow Vision” at Porter College this Friday and Saturday. Not only does the event promise to be some of the most ambitious student theater on campus, but the sexy charity show will also donate all proceeds to the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center, Planned Parenthood and the Diversity Center.
Fourth-years Zackary Forcum of Oakes College and Jasmine Fernandez of Porter College will be directing this year’s Queer Fashion Show. The two former dancers have each been involved in the show’s last three performances, and share a passion for the causes advanced by the queer community.
“I love that there’s a night to celebrate queerness in performance,” Forcum said. “[During] my freshman year I saw the show, and it looked like so much fun. I immediately wanted to get involved.”
Queer Fashion Show has long been a part of UCSC culture. Forcum discussed some of the history behind the event.
“No one knows for sure when it began,” Forcum said. “The Queer Fashion Show started with queer individuals emptying out their closets and parading around the Porter quad.”
The UCSC university library documentary project “Out in the Redwoods” puts the origin of the show in the late 1980s, when it was known as the Alternative Fashion Show.
Since then, the show has become a mainstay at UCSC, and is emblematic of the school’s identity as a queer-friendly campus.
“We’ve come a long way in the last few years for queer representation,” Forcum said. “UCSC is one of the most openly queer schools in the U.S.”
The show has since grown from its humble beginnings. This year, in addition to the usual festivities, there will be a gallery showing before the performance. The show’s directors provided a few other glimpses of what to expect.
“You’re going to see four different fashion lines, each student-designed and all of them very different,” Forcum said. “We will be having spoken word, dance and comedic skits, all performed by a cast of more than 60 people, and it will be very, very sexy at times.”
The show’s reputation for being provocative is aided by the work of its designers. College Ten fourth-year and student designer Juliana Findlay discussed the inspiration for her fashion collection.
“My line focuses on a stripped-down version of the tuxedo,” Findlay said. “I took it apart, made it sexier, and did it in the vein of Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’ music videos.”
The entire production is student-run, from the creation of advertising campaigns to the choreographing of dance routines, and students participate on a volunteer basis.
“Our actors don’t get material things or any sort of monetary value from the Queer Fashion Show,” Forcum said. “They only get a great experience. When you think about how busy life has gotten, it’s really beautiful that people commit so much time to put on a show for charity. The students get involved in this event because they care and because they love it.”
But supporting charity isn’t the only goal the Queer Fashion Show plans to accomplish. The directors also hope to help advance the queer community.
“The show is ‘Media in Rainbow Vision,’ and we’re basing it on the media’s portrayal of the queer community,” Fernandez said. “We want to break their perceptions. Instead of putting people in little boxes, we want to celebrate queerness and diversity. This is an opportunity to learn more about the queer community here at Santa Cruz and the student body as a whole. Hopefully we’ll open some minds.”