March 16, 2012
By Mary Holbrook
A year ago, Grace Davis, a senior chemistry major and psychology and fashion media minor at SMU, was looking at online photos of Fashion Week at the University of Pennsylvania, where her brother is a freshman. Penn's Wharton Retail Club has sponsored a fashion week for several years running, and the event looked fantastic. Why, she wondered, can't we do this at SMU?
One year and lots of hard work later, Davis has her answer: We can. This spring marks a new event being held on the SMU campus. In conjunction with the new fashion media minor, fashion-minded SMU students will celebrate style with a whole week dedicated to fashion and the fashion industry: SMU Fashion Week: March 26-30.
"I thought it could be an event that could be very successfully replicated on the SMU campus, especially with the induction of the fashion media minor program," says Davis, Fashion Week executive director.
In August 2011, Davis made a phone call to Camille Kraeplin, director of the fashion media program, who liked the idea and agreed to act as faculty adviser for the student-led project. Kraeplin says she is amazed at what Davis and her team have accomplished.
"I could not be more excited," says Kraeplin.
Team Fashion Week
Davis and her executive board have been hard at work organizing all the events, making phone calls and galvanizing student support for the week-long event, which promises plentiful opportunities to learn about the fashion industry as well as lots of fun.
After that phone call to Professor Kraeplin, one of Davis's first steps was to recruit an executive board to help execute and publicize the event. That team includes SMU Retail Club President Rebecca Marin and Event Coordinator Megan Jones, who will oversee the Retail Club Fashion Show that caps off the week Friday night.
"As the coordinator for SMU Fashion Week I have assisted Grace in planning events, scheduling guest speakers, setting up the vendor fair and planning the Fashion Show," says Jones, a journalism major and fashion media minor.
Other executive team members include design and website directors Julia Eggleston and Laura Rogala; sponsorship directors Lauren Adams and Alexandra Harvel; public relations directors Kelsey Reynolds and Bree Unger; and social media coordinator Paige Parker.
Davis herself has focused on both the "big picture" and the small details, as well as steering her board in the right direction.
"I have overseen all of the planning of the events, as well as securing sponsors and speakers," she says. "I have also led weekly meetings with all the executive board members."
What, When and Where
Fashion Week will be Monday through Friday, March 26-30. Most of the events will be on the SMU campus, with the exception of the Monday launch party, which will be held at Tootsies, a fashionista-favorite retailer at 8300 Preston Road.
Different events will take place each day of the week. An SMU junior and communication studies and creative advertising major, Marin says she and Davis have been working closely together to plan the week's activities.
"All of the panels and events are set to start around 6 p.m. and are free and open to both students and the public," she says. "There will also be events on campus throughout school hours that week that students can participate in."
From Tuesday through Thursday, panels will focus on different professions and opportunities within the fashion world. The panel format was chosen over single speakers to provide a livelier, richer exchange.
"The event will bring great speakers to campus, speakers who will expose students to all aspects of the fashion industry," Kraeplin says.
The opening party at Tootsies will include beauty demos, clothing previews and goody bags filled with essentials for any fashionista.
The Tuesday evening panel will feature fashion journalists and bloggers, including SMU alum Amber Venz, former F/D Luxe editor and current creative director of the Neiman Marcus book Tracy Achor Hayes, Texas Monthly's Kristie Ramirez and Dallas style blogger Tina Craig.
Wednesday evening is the business and fashion panel with guest speakers John Piermarimi from Piermarimi Boutique, Joanna Lewis, director of Stanley Korshak online, and jewelry designer Amanda Sterett.
Fashion Week is being made possible through the efforts of (L-R) Meg Jones, Julia Eggleston, Alexandria Harvel, Rebecca Marin, Grace Davis, Kelsey Reynolds, Shelby Foster, and Lizzie Ranshaw.
Thursday's panel is dedicated to styling and designing. Tammy Theis, stylist and owner of Wallflower Management, Tamar Minassia, Tootsies' in-house stylist, and Nikki Trizza, assistant stylist at Neiman Marcus, will share their tips about how to create the perfect look for any occasion. Dallas designer Elizabeth Aynaa and SMU sophomore Kira Plastinina will expound on their experience as fashion designers.
On Friday, the annual Retail Club Fashion Show's models will stroll down the runway outside of the Meadows School of the Arts wearing looks tailored to common SMU themes, says Marin.
"Boulevarding, formals, going to class and going out. I'm excited to see the end result," she says. "Our team has been working so hard, and I'm so proud of all of them. More details are still being processed right now, but the venue, models and DJ information is well on its way."
Also during the week there will be on-campus trunk shows and an appearance by the Vintage Mobile to pique students' interest between classes.
A Little Help from Friends
Several local organizations have stepped up to act as Fashion Week sponsors, contributing funds, goods and services to ensure the event's success. High-end retailer Stanley Korshak and its sister store, The Shak, are providing all the clothes for the fashion show. D Style Sheet shot photos for the ad campaign — where the models wore clothes from Luxe Boutique. In addition, local retailers have agreed to participate in a "10 for 10" card promotion to help fund Fashion Week.
"The card will be $10 and will let you get 10 percent off at all participating stores. We are still in the midst of getting participants," Davis says. The cards will go on sale the week prior to fashion week.
Between the support from sponsors and the efforts of Davis, Marin and the rest of the Fashion Week crew, Kraeplin expects the event to bring attention not only to the fashion talent here at SMU and in the larger Dallas community but also to Meadows' year-old fashion media minor.
"The whole week promises to bring a level of excitement and energy to campus, with all the events and activities Grace and the rest of her team have worked so hard to organize. I also hope Fashion Week shines a spotlight on our new fashion media program and the level of dedication and initiative our students are capable of," says Kraeplin.
For More Information
For more information on this upcoming week of fashion and fun, visit the Fashion Week website, the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/smufashionweek, or follow them on Twitter @SMUFashionWeek.