UNI helps bring Cedar Valley fashion and cultural event to Waterloo

UNI helps bring Cedar Valley fashion and cultural event to Waterloo

The Cedar Valley’s biggest event of the year promoting fashion and culture returns this weekend, thanks to a partnership between the University of Northern Iowa and local leaders.

The 7th annual Cedar Valley Fashion, Art and Culture Expo, hosted this year by Apryl Jones from the reality show “Love and Hip Hop: Hollywood,” will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at Lost Island Waterpark in Waterloo. The event, which will feature celebrity guests, music, vendors, designers and more, will bring together local artists and designers as well as UNI alums who have flourished in the fashion industry.

CVFAC Expo Tickets are now available online.

“The Cedar Valley Fashion, Art and Culture Expo ignites the spirit of Black culture in the heart of the Cedar Valley, one of the most culturally diverse communities in Iowa,” said Annette Lynch, UNI professor of textiles and apparel, a program that has partnered with the Expo since it started in 2014. “The Expo seeks to provide equitable access to arts, culture and career exploration, in an inclusive, vibrant and positive community environment.”

Founded as the Cedar Valley Fashion Week by Joy Briscoe, talent acquisition and outreach specialist for Waterloo Schools and Career Center, the expo started as a series of programming celebrating innovation in fashion, arts, music, hair and entertainment in collaboration with the University of Northern Iowa Black Student Union and TAPP. 

Saturday’s runway show will feature the work of UNI Textiles and Apparel Program (TAPP) alum Keyaira Miller, who will use the expo to launch her own line of children’s clothes under the label “HarlemsKlubHouse.” The former 20 Under 40 winner now works as a product developer for women’s fashions at Amazon, where she oversaw the launch of the new Gen Y fashion brand, Wild Meadow, and received an award for the success of the brand from Amazon.

Miller will also be a speaker at the SHIPHT Youth Opportunity Accelerator, which will feature a stellar cast of speakers to support equity in entrepreneurship and technology at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10  at the Waterloo Career Center.

The event will also feature UNI alum Pernell Cezar Jr., co-founder of BLK & Bold Specialty Beverages, which recently made headlines with a multi-year partnership with the National Basketball Association to support the company’s, “5% For Our Youth”, charitable initiative. The collaboration is the first-ever licensing agreement between the NBA and a black-owned food or beverage brand.

In 2019, CVFAC Expo created the SHIPHT Youth Opportunity Accelerator, which pairs area high school students with dozens of mentors and local entrepreneurs to activate the next generation of diverse leaders in technology, entrepreneurship and the public sector. The program launched virtually in 2020 due to COVID-19. SHIPHT’s mission is to advance career trajectory with an emphasis on diverse leaders, mentorship and innovative curriculum. 

For more information, visit www.shiphtyouth.com