Religio Fashion Show: Where Heaven Meets Hell

Madisen Oshiro, Author

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The Fashion Club’s annual, end-of-the-year fashion show, Religio, featured looks heavily based off the themes of spirituality and divinity. Religio is the root word of religion and the concept was inspired by Italian poet and philosopher Dante, and his poem titled the “Divine Comedy.” The allegory represents man’s quest to find his spirituality while traveling through the three subsections of the Christian afterlife—Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. The Fashion Club utilized elements and aspects from each subsection to create sustainable looks that transcend our lifetime and follow us into the next.

“I think as humans, we have an innate feeling of looking for spirituality and so Dante’s Divine Comedy is an allegory of man reaching God,” Fashion Club President Jordan Chan said. “I understand that a lot of people in Seattle have different forms of spirituality, and so I think it’s important to put on a show that represents that yearning for spiritual divine spirit or divine being.”


MICHAEL OLLEE • THE SPECTATOR
MICHAEL OLLEE • THE SPECTATOR

The Seattle U fashion club put on their annual show, this year named Religio, based on Dante’s Inferno; models wearing outfits representing hell make a final pass through the Quad.


Not only did the fashion show speak to the spirituality of the people in Seattle, but it also promoted sustainable fashion. Affiliates of the Beach Food Forest were also present at the fashion show because a portion of the show’s proceeds went towards their project. The Beacon Food Forest fosters community through the care and management of an edible food forest and the overall restoration of the local ecosystem. Since one of the core values of the Fashion Club is sustainability–with all the pieces from this year’s show thrifted from Goodwill bins–the philosophy of the Beacon Food Forest corresponds with the Fashion Club’s mission.

In the Quad, the audience surrounded both sides of the fountain facing two white curtains. The show began as red lights lit up the stage and cacophonous, remixed music boomed through the speakers. One by one, models entered from each side of the Quad, walking around the fountain as the audience members cheered them on.

The first act, Inferno, embodied intensity and anguish. The models sauntered onto the Quad in looks inspired by the seven deadly sins: lust, envy, wrath, gluttony, greed, pride, and sloth. The color palette of the first act consisted of dark, contrasting hues of green, red, and black. Models carried accessories like whips and chains and wore hair and makeup inspired by the circus.

“I just really wanted it to be pretty crazy, I just wanted people to feel the vibe of the show and enhance the outfits through the hair and makeup,” Carmen McCoy, head of hair and makeup, said.

As the music mellowed out, the second act, Purgatorio, began. The tones from this act took a drastic turn as the hair and makeup displayed sedated tones of beige, white, and light blues and greens. Abandoning the whips and chains, the looks in this act were subdued to show the contrast between the looks inspired by the mania of Hell and the monotony of waiting in Purgatory.

The finale began with a short but energetic choir performance lip dubbed by the models who were a part of the third act, Paradiso. The models exuded cheerfulness as they danced around the fountain and the audience in flowing gold and metallic garments. The looks in Paradiso represented the merriment of finally being able to reach Heaven through joyous performances and angelic pieces.

After the show concluded, the audience made their way to the Casey atrium to view and buy student artwork that was being displayed and to congratulate those who made the fashion show such a success.

“It was incredible. I’m roommates with a lot of the people that made it. I saw it from the beginning and how it ended up is so incredible,” Junior Cassandra Schiller said. “The way they have it in Purgatory and Hell all together with the music, with the design, with all of it, it was really incredible how they were able to fit it all together and make it work. I loved it.”

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