Lumina was started by one of our Clementines, Emily Kingdom ‘09. She was a designer and producer of her own clothes, and felt that the School could be showcasing our girls’ talents in this area through a fashion show. The show is truly a student-led initiative, from design, production, modeling, choreography, lighting and tech to fundraising for a student-identified charity. The girls’ designs are auctioned off after the show, and these funds combine with ticket sales to provide a significant donation for a local organization.
While this event is beloved by our students, there are sometimes tensions surrounding it because of the notion of a fashion show objectifying women, the concern about healthy body image, and the pressure it can cause on those involved-students and staff alike.
Whether students, staff or parents, these are important issues for us to keep in mind at all times; however, as with so many other things, discussions with our students about concerns, and how they can work amongst peers to change approaches, appear to have been making an impact, and this was evident at this year’s event.
I was thrilled with the show on Friday night: the diversity of designs and models, the additional levity in the segments and the fabulous creativity all contributed to an outstanding production. For me, however, it was the thoughtful and confident messages our girls relayed in their segment introductions that made the greatest impact. Our girls expressed their thoughts on feminism, highlighted the importance of wading into the unknown and celebrating curiosity, challenged the norm, and modeled creativity and courage at every turn. The arts have always provided an outlet for our girls at St. Clement’s, and we are proud of the opportunities they have. It was evident to me that Lumina was an outlet for our girls’ voices as well as their designs.