As Yale College celebrates the 50th anniversary of coeducation this year, the Women in Management (WIM) club at the School of Management organized an opening community event screening Rihanna’s lingerie fashion show, Savage X Fenty, to discuss issues of image and femininity.

Women in Management is a support network for all women at the SOM in all facets — professionally, personally and socially. The fashion show featured a racially diverse group of women with different body types and celebrated women’s empowerment. The screening was organized as a “fun event” accompanied with food where members were welcome to watch it together over dinner, according to club Co-President Christine Liaw SOM ’20.

“We aimed to create a relaxed environment where members of the SOM community could get to know one another outside of the classroom and have a break from academics over dinner,” wrote Charlotte Suelau SOM ’20 and Christina Cabiati SOM ’20 — the chief organizers of the screening — in a joint statement to the News. “Having the event centered on the fashion show was a breath of fresh air from the traditional meeting environment and broke down perceived barriers between leaders and members.”

According to Liaw, approximately 30 to 40 students attended the event. She described an atmosphere where “people could just come in and out, and have dinner as fits their schedule.”

The fashion show — Savage X Fenty — was screened to inspire members of WIM to realize how beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and how every person can strive to attain his or her maximum potential.

“Screening Savage X Fenty was a great welcome event for the women in the community and … set the tone for the year — which is to create a space for people of all genders and backgrounds to succeed and thrive at SOM,” said Temi Ashiru SOM ’20. “Rihanna is a woman of color who has accomplished a lot … over her career. She is inspirational and pushes a message of inclusivity. I would like to contribute to building the confidence and competence of every woman at SOM to thrive in whatever path they choose after Yale SOM.”

WIM has focused its programming on inclusivity and intersectionality this year, Suelau and Cabiati said. They added that the fashion show fit perfectly into this lens as a monumental event for gender equity. Historically, the fashion and lingerie industries have been based upon an “unrealistic idea of how a female should look, isolating those who do not fit within this mold,” according to Suelau and Cabiati. By including women of all shapes, sizes and identities in her show, they said, Rihanna sought to radically disrupt the industry.

Liaw concurred that the fashion industry has historically tailored its designs for certain types of people.

“For instance, nude underwear is only nude if you’re [a white woman], because it’s only in one shade,” she said. “Rihanna created underwear with shades from white to dark that fit real women in all shapes and sizes.”

Approximately 90 percent of women enrolled in SOM are part of WIM, according to Liaw.

Luna Li |