BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - To honor her late daughter's legacy, a Baton Rouge mother is hosting a fashion show and body positive movement, called Bigger Than Fashion.
Kaiya Smith died suddenly in the summer of 2016, but had already begun planning her 2017 show, Confident Curves. With this show, Smith intended to bring awareness to the importance of mentorship and the impact it has on self-esteem. Smith also wanted to honor her own mentors with the show.
One of those mentors, Anna West, says she was inspired by Smith's project. "Bigger Than Fashion is a celebration of our greatness, our thickness, our tallness, our loudness, our intellectual and spiritual wholeness, our wit and refusal of the ways we have been told to hold ourselves back to fit into someone else's notion of what it means to 'fit in,'" said West. "Kaiya actively strove to live in this big way, and she sought out teachers, mentors, and friends who could expand the world with her. When I felt uncertain about my own ability to carry my own greatness, Kaiya called it up in me."
The fashion show, which will be held Sunday, April 30 at the McKinley Alumni Center, located at 1520 Thomas H. Delpit Dr., will highlight works by Smith and her mother, Petrouchka Moïse, as well as work by designers from Dubai and other local designers. Carlotte Charles, of Jacmel, Haiti, will also display work to honor Moïse's family and their Haitian heritage. The show also supports a campaign called Cotton is Bigger Than Fashion, which raises money to send cotton underwear to Haitian girls in need.
"The greatest challenge that these women have is purchasing cotton undergarments because a pack of panties is worth a day's salary in Haiti. During my trip to Jacmel, I met a group of women artists who are utilizing their talent and time to mentor young women before they are entrapped in the world of prostitution and drugs. These women have pooled their limited resources together to mentor young women who come to the city looking for opportunities. Their focus on health, wellness, and independence embodies what Kaiya and BTF stands for," said Moïse.
This year's fashion show will also serve as a fundraiser for Forward Arts' Slam Camp, Transfhermation, and Miss Black Louisiana USA. Moïse says these organizations promote character development, leadership, wellness, and body positivity.
"We hope to build awareness so that we can reach more young girls and women. Kaiya was definitely a voice for her generation and an inspiration to us all - her dream was that we all would learn to dress from within. She was larger than life, and this movement represents how she will continue to encourage me and others through her legacy," said Moïse.
A reception for the show will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 30. The show will began at 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 each online ahead of time or $25 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online here.
For more information, visit biggerthanfashion.squarespace.com.