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Ohio State sisters spread magic through fashion

Nkem (left) and Alexandra (right) Osudoh represent Nigeria at OSU’s annual African Night Celebration. Credit: Courtesy of Nkem Osudoh

Alexandra and Nkem Osudoh co-founded Melanic, a brand comprised of photographers, designers, models, writers and more, dedicated to increasing black representation in the beauty industry and the world.

The original concept for the brand was Melanic Magazine, a publication started by Alexandra that was fueled by her passion for writing.

“As a black creative myself, it’s important to find the people who match that creativity and want to work towards their passions,” said Alexandra Osudoh, a fourth-year in marketing with a minor in fashion and retail studies. “Last year I had tried to be a part of a magazine on campus, but I found it to be very white-washed, so I decided to do my own thing.”

Initially, the idea was to find models and create a catalog of pictures and writing pieces.

With Alexandra as editor-in-chief to handle the writing elements and Nkem handling the administrative aspects, the concept quickly developed past the idea of a simple publication.

Soon after Nkem created Melanic Models, which provides models with an outlet where they can feel comfortable expressing themselves.

“We’re not going to discriminate against you, we’re going to let you have pretty much creative freedom over your entire wardrobe,” said Nkem Osudoh, a third-year in marketing. “You can even use the pictures that we take of you to get professional [modeling] jobs.”

The Osudohs quickly merged the two ideas, Alexandra created a logo and the Melanic brand was born. Now, two photoshoots later, Melanic is preparing to host its first fashion show this weekend.

“We’re not an official organization [at OSU] but we don’t want to be because we don’t want to be stuck at Ohio State,” Alexandra Osudoh said. “We’re hoping to grow and expand this brand with us.”

However, there are restrictions on booking spaces on campus for groups who are not affiliated with Ohio State, so different arrangements were made. Nkem serves as the marketing director of The Natural and Prosperous Society (NAPS). In collaboration with NAPS, Melanic will present the “Blackness Through the Decades” fashion show in the Ohio Union on Saturday.

“That’s their role pretty much  — our sponsors and patrons,” Nkem Osudoh said about NAPS. “We’re also able to fundraise that way, which is great.”

Melanic is also completely volunteer-based — from the models, to the photographers, to the DJ. For the fashion show, Nkem Osudoh has assigned models to different time periods and done extensive research to compile a list of clothing items to represent each decade.

“Even though we didn’t have to go out and buy anything, we have pieces that can come together and make a certain style, even if the clothes aren’t vintage,” Nkem Osudoh said.

The Osudohs also hope to provide an educational experience during the fashion show.

“It’s not just about the clothes — you can see the evolution of how black culture has developed throughout the years,” Alexandra Osudoh said.

Rather than having a formal atmosphere, Nkem and Alexandra want the audience to feel as comfortable as their models.

“Just come and embrace blackness and all the beauty that it holds,” Nkem said.

“Blackness Through the Decades” will take place in the Great Hall of the Ohio Union on Dec. 1. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the show will begin at 5:30 p.m. Refreshments will be provided and admission is free.

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