New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

NYU student uses fashion and femininity to raise money for victims in Sudan

For her senior thesis showcase titled “The Garment of Ghorba,” Rund Mohammed used fashion to commemorate traditional Sudanese culture and style.
Lianna O’Grady
(Lianna O’Grady for WSN)

This past Sunday at the Kimmel Center for University Life, GLS senior Rund Mohammed presented her senior thesis showcase and fashion show, titled “Garment of Ghorba.” The curated collection expressed Sudanese culture through clothing, aiming to raise awareness about the current civil war in Sudan. All ticket proceeds also went to the Sudanese American Physicians Association, an organization distributing resources on the ground to victims in the country.

Mohammed used the Sudanese toub garment as a vessel for hope and connection as her people traverse “ghorba,” an Arabic word for the homesickness that comes with diaspora.

“A lot of [Sudanese people] will be experiencing the feelings of ghorba,” Mohammed told WSN. “But the toub helps them connect back to their roots and stay connected to home, even if it’s through a garment.”

Though the show was scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., Mohammed quipped that she was running on Sudanese time when she introduced her collection half an hour late. The sun set as the models walked through Kimmel’s Rosenthal Pavilion, casting an orange hue over the city skyline and Mohammed’s designs.

A woman poses in an orange modest dress with metallic orange stripes.
(Lianna O’Grady for WSN)

The show ran in four segments, and lively Arabic music accompanied the models as they walked down the runway. Each segment coincided with a theme that came up in Mohammed’s interviews with displaced Sudanese women on a trip to Egypt: coming of age, diaspora and belonging, nostalgia and femininity.

“All of those came up a lot in these interviews and I was like, ‘Why don’t I make toubs out of these four themes?’” Mohammed said.

The designer’s collection embodied Sudanese femininity through a series of colorful fabrics that flowed elegantly as models walked. Some were simple and monochromatic, while others followed the trendy, ultra feminine coquette aesthetic defined by bows and baby pink. There were also feathers and bold florals, but none of these design elements undermined the elegance of the Sudanese garments.

The wedding toub was particularly stunning, featuring a gold veil decorated with matching circular accessories. As the model reached the end of the runway, she slowly removed her veil to uncover an intricate gold headpiece.

“Art is such a good way to get people interested in topics without pushing it in their faces, especially political things,” said Steinhardt senior Marwa Ibrahim who attended out of support for her friend. “Using a fashion show to promote that with donations through the tickets is such a good way of bringing awareness in a subtle way.”

A woman walks down a catwalk in a white modest dress accented by large gold jewelry and a white headwrap.
(Lianna O’Grady for WSN)

Mohammed encapsulated bold femininity with each of her designs, honoring traditional aspects of Sudanese culture while also appealing to an often-eccentric generation of fashionistas. Far from the typical stoicism of a New York Fashion Week show, Mohammed’s audience clapped, and her mom and aunties in particular used the Sudanese “zaghrouta,” or tongue trill, to cheer her on. The room was filled with love, as spectators appreciated the art while supporting a meaningful cause.

“We’ve never had a war like this,” Mohammed said. “People’s homes have gotten destroyed, people are killed, and they can’t even bury their loved ones. This is just a way for the audience to know that something is happening and they need to talk about it. They can talk about it through supporting Sudanese artists and amplifying their voices.”


Contact Zara Yasmine Rawoof at [email protected].

Leave a comment

Comments (0)

Comments that are deemed spam or hate speech by the moderators will be deleted.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *