On Monday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m., fourteen beautiful Montclair State students strutted down the runway sporting Valley Girl attire to kick off Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) Week. Held in University Hall on the 7th floor, this event was the first ANAD Fashion Show held by the Montclair State chapter of the national sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon (DPhiE).
As one of three national philanthropies that DPhiE raises money for, the ANAD mission is “to alleviate suffering and provide support for those afflicted with eating disorders,” according to the organization’s website.
“As women, we all know what it is like to feel uncomfortable with our bodies, and our mission is to spread awareness about ANAD so that no one else, male or female, has to feel uncomfortable in their own skin,” said Alli Lamhing, a sister and the vice president of programming for DPhiE, as well as the coordinator of ANAD Week.
The sophomore English major added, “I personally feel that taking care of yourself, be it emotionally or physically, has many benefits. Whether it is going to the gym, using your favorite skin care product or wearing your favorite outfit when you find that one thing that makes you feel your best, I think it is important to take the time to make yourself feel good. Shopping and clothes are two things that almost every girl loves, so a fashion show only made sense.”
As a sorority that values “empowering women to be something,” it was only fitting that they host this fashion show for ANAD. Lamhing said, “Allowing women on campus to feel their best self by walking in the fashion show was our prime focus.”
Valley Girl, a local clothing store, provided the ensembles for the show, which were styled by the owner, Elaine G. Sinisi, and two employees of the unique boutique, to reflect the Valley Girl image and the spring season.
Sinisi decided to be a part of the ANAD Fashion Show because of how important body image is to Valley Girl.
“We believe that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes,” Sinisi said. “Eating disorders are so prevalent and I am happy to be able to help bring attention to such an important cause.”
She continued, “Fashion is what makes us individual. It sets us apart by bringing attention to what we love about ourselves. Self-love should be front and center when stepping out to face every new day, and how we style ourselves as women is how we project our love to the world.
The fashion show also had local Montclair vendors like Hand & Stone and Chelsea Square, which support healthy living.
“I loved every minute of it,” said audience member and sister of Sigma Delta Tau, Miranda Dambrot. “It was just so fantastic, I didn’t want it to end.”
Erin O’Connor, a junior English major whose sorority, Tri Sigma, co-sponsored the event said, “We’re all girls. We know what it’s like to be uncomfortable with your body so we really wanted to be here to support them because we totally agree.”
She added, “All of the girls are a good representation—nobody looks the same. There’s a good mix of different kinds of girls.”
“I think the fashion show went very well,” said sophomore marketing major and sister of DPhiE, Cristianna Barcz. “I think it’s great that these girls had the confidence to get up in front of everyone and really raise awareness for this cause: ANAD Week. I really hold this philanthropy close to my heart, and I’m so happy that we raised money for it.”
“I think fashion is sometimes misconstrued where it’s just like, you have to be a tall, skinny model,” said Gina Bonacarti, sophomore family and child studies major and philanthropy chair of DPhiE. “We wanted to show here that that’s not what it is. Wear whatever you want to; wear what you’re comfortable in.”
Alli Lamhing believes DPhiE’s motto, “Esse Quam Videri,” which translates to “To Be Rather Than To Seem To Be,” represents ANAD and what the week stands for perfectly.
“Our motto is so powerful and has gotten me through hardships because it constantly reminds me that who I am is who I am meant to be,” she said. “We believe as sisters of Delta Phi Epsilon that being your true self is what makes you, you.
Lamhing continued, “The work that ANAD does supports this idea as well by supporting those who battle body image insecurities to recognize how beautiful they are as they are.”