Gearfest to return for spring entertainment

Celebrating a blend of music and fashion with a youthful touch, Gearfest: 1000 Phases of Venus will grace McCarthy Quad tonight at 7 p.m. Celebrities Teyana Taylor and Taj Stransberry will host the show, which is presented by the Black Student Association and features student and professional artists and designers showcasing their artistic talents.

“The BSA created this show to showcase beauty on the USC campus while promoting up-and-coming designers in the Los Angeles area,” said Alanah Joseph, the head of Gearfest fashion production and a junior majoring in communication. “We aimed to produce a highly innovative show this year to test our own boundaries, and those of our audiences.”

Highlights of the show include performances from Casey Veggies and Jhene Aiko, and opening acts flaunt a diverse mix of genres from USC student artists, such as the R&B/rap sounds of Jay Sneed, Rhyon Brown and Big Rik Locc to the Jazz Ensemble of 1923.

Both professional and student models will walk the runway for the fashion show with collections from student and local designers, including Macnificent Collection, Simply Sporty, DOH Quest and Culterati Clothing.

Magnificent Collection co-founder and USC student Raymond Courtney is proud to contribute the new styles of his label on the runway. It’s a step that celebrates his hometown of Los Angeles while leading him one step closer to becoming a known designer.

“Magnificent is a multicultural brand that is the incorporation of my own styles along with the design techniques I have been learning in school, said Courtney, a junior majoring in fine art. “I’m excited to show everybody my vision and continue to build my brand as a young entrepreneur.”

Designer-merchandise tents, a VIP section and a red carpet leading down from the Von Kleinsmid Center to McCarthy Quad, Gearfest is sure to showcase a night of entertainment and show appreciation for a diverse group of attendees.

“We’ve worked really hard this year to select unique talent, sponsors and designers whose brands all communicate the same message of positivity and young entrepreneurship,” said Courtney Manning, the head of public relations for Gearfest and a junior majoring in public relations.

Students said they are excited to see how Gearfest, which took a hiatus last year, will come back new and improved.

“I’m hoping to see some fresh new styles for the spring and also see some of the new local artists like Casey veggies,” said Brittnie Marcell, a junior majoring in communication. “I’m excited to see the new changes that have been made since last year and [to see] how they have incorporated ‘1000 Shades of Venus.’”

The “1000 Phases of Venus” theme symbolizes the legacy of Sarah Saartje Baartman, known under her stage name of “Venus,” who was on display as one of the most famous freak show attractions in 19th-century Europe. Gearfest hopes to transform the theme by dedicating it to celebrating African-American beauty.

Joseph said she is proud of the dedication of the committee this year, and is excited to help increase the presence of cultural art and expression through the work of some of USC’s, and Los Angeles’, finest young minds.

“I hope that the Trojan Family will enjoy the fruits of our committee’s hard work and walk away with a greater appreciation for African-American music and fashion,” Joseph said.