• Mercé Lanise Culp

(Y)OUR Night. Teen Fashion at Toledo Museum of Art

Updated: Jan 4

This is not your average Friday.

The night was lit with inspiration, community love, and an abundance of safe space for artistic self-expression.

Wow! Where do I start? I first have to say what an honor it was to be included in this year's lineup for Toledo Museum’s Teen Night: Fashion Edition. The TMA teens were great to work with and really know how to throw a party. Never in a million years would I have thought that Toledo’s teens could help produce such a cool experience. I loved the synergy between the TMA teens and their helpful teen volunteers from the YMCA.

Their energy, excitement, and leadership shined bright that night. When the doors opened I couldn’t help but notice the super-cool Kool-Aid Bar. What a genius idea... Kool-Aid on tap! From start to finish the setup of 100+ rolls of duck tape, t-shirts, paper rolls, scissors etc., creativity ensued in a pretty epic way.

On bistro tabletops, were Fashion Designer templates for teens to create their own outfit! As the crowd grew, one teen handed me a sketch of her fashion template. I smiled and before I knew it I said the magic phrase, “let me get my design team”. With wide eyes and a ton of energy. Teen Club members rushed the tables and were ready to create. With a little assistance, the teens started wrapping another teenager in duct tape in angles that represented the fashion template we received. Soon, our first masterpiece was done. Several O-M-Gs later, we had ourselves a line and a crowd of teen volunteers to follow. This was a hit!

After a sequence of recurring fast-fashion moments, the teens put on an unforgettable showcase of competitive runway struts for best outfit and most original to name a few. The night was lit with inspiration, community love, and an abundance of safe space for artistic self-expression. Toledo ripped the runway completely! The engagement from start to finish was refreshing! The green-glowing instant photo booth, social media snaps, and the cheering crowd of teens evoked a sense of ownership all for the fun of it! By ownership, I mean there was the feeling that the teens created a domain for them and by them where they were the hosts of what they made “(Y)our Night” to look and feel like. It was almost a bespoke event fashionably customized to their general wants and inspirations. They ran the show with confidence because the Toledo Museum of Art said they could. Permission to have fun in a cool, high-brow space with a ton of friends was a rare opportunity that only comes once in a while. The Glass Pavilion venue was especially conducive for a club-type atmosphere with cool lighting and a pretty dope DJ Money Knox. This is one of the most memorable weekends of the year so far. This one’s for the books.

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