Project (Persian) Runway


There are so many student clubs at New York University that it takes a lot for one of them to get noticed. So the Iranian Jewish Club, which was launched five years ago but has kept a low profile, tried something guaranteed to make a splash: a little glamour.
It worked.
More than 300 people packed into the Rosenthal Pavilion in the Kimmel Center at NYU recently to get a glimpse of sparkly gowns, flashy cocktail dresses, hip-hop outfits and graceful wedding gowns parading down the runway.

Eight months in the making, the IJC’s Fashion Show 2008 was a coming-out party of sorts for the club.

“We look forward to making this an annual event,” said Alex Babazadeh, a junior at NYU and co-president of the IJC, along with Sharon Hakakian and Michelle Nabatian. “We’ve been planning this since May, and it took a lot of coordination and organization.”

The night wasn’t all sparkle, though. The IJC raised nearly $4,000 for Friends of the IDF, an organization that supports social, cultural, educational and recreational programs for young men and women of the Israel Defense Force, and also assists the widows and orphans of fallen IDF soldiers.
But good causes aside, the focus of the Nov. 15 event was the clothes, which came from the sewing machines of 10 different fashion designers. They included the creations of Persian designers such as Janique by Kourosh, Heavenly Sins by Leon Hedvat and clothes from the Denim and Knits Boutique. The night was co-sponsored by JetBlue, which provided a round-trip ticket raffle prize, and MASA Israel Journey. NYU campus sponsors included the Jewish fraternity, AEPi and The Bronfman Center Hillel at NYU.

The evening was overwhelmingly student-run, from the organizing to the models, who were student volunteers. Help also came from the NYU Modeling Club, which provided some of the models and contacts for hair and makeup.

“The Modeling Club came in to teach us how to walk and pose,” said Ariel Siegel, a sophomore at NYU who modeled three outfits that night.

Babazadeh hopes to recreate the IJC’s success next year, and benefit the Friends of the IDF again, since they “appeal to a wide audience.” All proceeds from the evening’s ticket sales went toward the charity, as did money that came from auctioning off many of the clothes shown on the runway.

“This is the biggest event we’ve ever had,” said Babazadeh. “While we sought to bring the Jewish and NYU community together as a whole,” Babazadeh continued, “we also wanted to show that we are not just Persian, not just Jewish, but that we are Persian Jews.”

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