By Rosa Del Carmen Gomez – 1851 Staff
On Wednesday, April 24, Lasell will commemorate Denim Day, the nationally regarded campaign promoting sexual assault awareness on college campuses. This year, Lasell worked with sophomore fashion design and production major Khalid Lai-Walters (‘21) on a project inspired by Denim Day.
Peace Over Violence runs the Denim Day campaign in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The campaign began after the Italian Supreme Court overturned a ruling of an assault case involving a woman wearing tight jeans. It was implied that she had given consent due to the way she was dressed, leading to her assault.
According to Denim Day’s website, the purpose of wearing denim on April 24 is in protest against “erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual harassment, abuse, assault and rape.” Community members are asked to make a social statement with their fashion in visible protest.
Lasell’s version of Denim Day started through the efforts of Abigail Tague (‘18) and Mickayla Cobb (‘18). The students worked with Professor Karin Raye to implement Denim Day annually in support of assault survivors. It is currently organized by senior psychology major Taylor Walby.
Lai-Walters’s garment will walk in Runway 2019; it’s expected to leave a lasting impression on the audience. His mission is to spread awareness through storytelling across campus. According to Raye, Lai-Walters decided to use his Fashion Design Concepts course as a platform for this project. Working with non-textile materials is required for this course, so he is using stickers with a denim pattern.
He’s been working for the voices of the victims rather than the grade of the project. “That kind of trauma, to tell your story and let it be open to other people and see it all together holding itself, especially for the dress,” he said. “Every single swatch that I’ve put on I’ve made sure I read.”
Lai-Walters understands the responsibility of having these stories and is determined to see this dress become perfection. “I need to make sure that it is something great… I’m a person of empathy… I at least need to make sure that even though I haven’t been through [assault], I can feel that type of story regardless.”