March 20, 2017
By Dave Pemberton

University of Detroit Mercy students Olivia Koh and Asia Rawls met in a routine residence advisor meeting. The meeting would lead to a friendship fueled by their passion for fashion and charity.

Students who will participate in the fashion showThe duo decided to combine their passions into a charity fashion show, which was a rousing success last year.

Now, Koh and Rawls are hoping to top the success of their first show when they host the 2nd Annual Charity Fashion Show dubbed CCC (Culture, Couture, Charity) The Movement on Thursday, March 23 at the Detroit Mercy Student Center Ballroom on the McNichols Campus. There will be art, live music and dancing starting at 5 p.m.; the fashion show starts at 6 p.m.

“Admission is free, but we are asking people to donate either non-perishable food, clothing or monetary donations,” Koh said. “The food and clothing are all going to a youth homeless shelter (Matrix Off The Streets) that we donated to last year. All of our models have been volunteering and working with the kids there. The money will go to fund activities at both the homeless shelter and an orphanage (Christ Child House) that we’re all volunteering at.”

Rawls and Koh started the fashion show because they wanted to give back and that’s what keeps them motivated to put in the long hours required to not only put on the event, but to find sponsors and donations for the show.

“I’m all for helping other people because I was once helped,” said Rawls, who is in the Detroit Mercy MBA program and an assistant coach for the Titans’ track and field teams. “We’re both trying to give back because we were once in need. I feel like if you have the resources to do something, take advantage of it. We have a school, we have the area, we’re in Detroit. If you have a vision just go for it.”

Last year’s fashion show raised money, but also had long-term benefits for Koh’s group Boys 2 Men. Ford Motor Company decided to provide her group with funding after hearing of the success of the fashion show and the hard work Boys 2 Men was doing.

Boys 2 Men runs a 12-week course which helps boys transition into becoming adults. The program teaches children about professional appearance, personal hygiene, manners and even includes a career fair, which this year included more than 20 organizations.

“I started Boys 2 Men two years ago,” said Koh, a Biochemistry major. “I had been going to the orphanage, bringing as many people as I could. Bringing whatever I had in mind, educational components to teach the boys. Then I started the fashion show because I didn’t have the money. After the fashion show, Ford found me and they were like, ‘We want to pay for it, we’ll pretty much give you the money to bring all these things.’ So the fashion show brought along many blessings.”

Building on the momentum of last year, Koh and Rawls hope to draw an even bigger crowd this year and had a huge turnout for model tryouts.

“This year, same concept, but twice as hard,” Rawls said. “More people wanted to try out because it was such a great event. We’re really just trying to make sure students have something fun to go to and they’re excited about life and the charity aspect, giving back. We just want to give back to Detroit and the kids. My organization Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) gives back to underrepresented minorities for scholarships, they will be there, there’s going to be a lot of people.”

“A lot of the professors after (last year’s event) told me they had never seen something like this,” Koh said. “A lot of people commented on the diversity. We don’t just have typical models, we had all different types of cultures, body shapes and sizes. We don’t care about how you look, we just want you to be you. That’s pretty much our theme all throughout.”

Click here to see a video preview of CCC The Movement.