2016 SMU Fashion Week, April 20-22

Free events feature talks by WhoWhatWear co-founder and former Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief plus a fashion show.

SMU Fashion Week

By Emily Hooper
SMU News

SMU Fashion WeekDALLAS (SMU) – SMU fashion media students don’t stop following their passion for fashion and journalism at graduation. In a highly competitive industry, graduates of the fashion media program have found successful careers in the fashion media world.

Graduates and students of the program are finding jobs and internships at major fashion, retail and journalism companies such as Neiman Marcus, Marie Claire, Vogue and The New York Times.

Free events feature talks by
fashion industry icons

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU arts and business students will present the fifth annual SMU Fashion Week, April 20-22. The event will feature lectures by prominent fashion journalists/authors Hillary Kerr and Kate Betts along with the annual spring fashion show, which this year will include clothing and accessories from luxury retailer Stanley Korshak and upscale consignment store Luxury Garage Sale.

Begun in 2012 and produced primarily by students interested in careers within the trillion-dollar international fashion industry, SMU Fashion Week has grown along with the nearly five-year-old fashion media program, part of the Division of Journalism at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

Fashion Week events, all of which are free and open to the public, are as follows:

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20:  A talk with Hillary Kerr, co-founder of WhoWhatWear

Hillary KerrKerr, co-author of the new book The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career, will discuss ways college graduates can find careers in the fashion industry. Kerr and Katherine Power are the co-founders of Clique Media, which includes WhoWhatWear.com (celebrity style and runway trends), MyDomaine.com (home décor) and Byrdie.com (makeup and beauty). Prior to the launch of WhoWhatWear.com, Kerr was a Los Angeles-based writer for publications such as ELLE, Teen Vogue and Nylon; Power was the West Coast editor for ELLE and ELLEgirl. Kerr and Power are also the co-authors of two other books: Who What Wear: Celebrity and Runway Style For Real Life (Abrams, September 2009) and What To Wear, Where (Abrams, March 2011).

Details: 11:00 a.m. in room B600 in the basement of the Owen Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus (Dallas 75205)

THURSDAY, APRIL 21: Fashion Week keynote address by Kate Betts, former editor of Harper’s Bazaar

Kate BettsBetts will talk about her career path as well as her recent book, My Paris Dream, a memoir about coming of age as a fashion journalist in Paris in the 1980s. She is an award-winning magazine editor and author who has held top positions at two of the world’s most successful fashion magazines, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. Betts was named editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar in June 1999. She moved to Bazaar from Vogue, where she was the fashion news director from 1991 to 1999. Betts began her career as a reporter for and later the associate bureau chief of the Paris office of Fairchild Publications. Fluent in French and Spanish, Betts was recently named one of the top 10 fashion editors by Forbes magazine. She was the 2011 recipient of the Mary Lou Luther Award for excellence in fashion journalism. She has written for over 20 publications including The New York Times, Glamour, NewYork, Elle and Travel+Leisure.

Details: Keynote address at 7 p.m. in room 241 of the Umphrey Lee Center, 3300 Dyer St. on the SMU campus. Reception with Kate Betts precedes the lecture at 6:30 p.m. in the Division of Journalism complex near room 280 in the Umphrey Lee Center.

FRIDAY, APRIL 22: Spring Fashion Show

The Retail Club at Cox School of Business will present their annual spring fashion show. This year’s show will feature looks from Stanley Korshak and Luxury Garage Sale.

Details: 2 p.m. outdoors near the steps of Dallas Hall, 3225 University Blvd. on the SMU campus. The show will be on the lawn of the main quad outside Dallas Hall.

Public parking is available at the Binkley Parking Garage at the corner of Binkley Avenue and Airline Road on the SMU campus. For parking details, please visit: https://www.smu.edu/AboutSMU/Maps/Parking.

For more information, contact Chelsea Bell, director of the Fashion Media Program in the Meadows School Division of Journalism, at 214-768-4913 or crbell@smu.edu.

“The majority of our graduates are receiving jobs immediately after graduation – some specifically in social media,” said Camille Kraeplin, associate professor of fashion journalism at SMU and creator of the fashion media program. “While the path to success involves a combination of hard work, passion and determination, the fashion media program teaches students the technical and conceptual skills that have become increasingly important in all industries, but especially in the fashion media world.”

The fashion world has embraced social media, creating jobs for young media students with this skill set, while the rapid growth of fashion blogging has added another dimension to traditional fashion media formats, Kraeplin says.

SMU’s fashion media program offers classes in journalism and photography, plus options from art, anthropology, theater and public relations. The program equips graduates for careers as writers, public relations practitioners, stylists and sales managers at some of the most competitive companies in the industry.

Some graduates have created their own companies – becoming entrepreneurs in fashion design, technology and media.

Amber VenzAmber Venz, who graduated from the fashion media program in 2008, is an alumna who pioneered her own way in the fashion media world. Venz is the creator and president of rewardStyle, a global monetization solution that is built for digital style publishers.

In 2015, rewardStyle publishers drove approximately $500 million in retail sales. Venz has created a company that has redirected the style publishing industry and contributed to the professionalization and financial independence of thousands of publishers worldwide, enabling them to earn meaningful revenue on their digital content, ultimately empowering them to create and grow small businesses into international brands.

(Read more on Amber Venz in Forbes, Success and Women’s Wear Daily)

Elif KavakciElif Kavakci, a graduate of SMU’s master of liberal studies program and a designer by profession, is the founder of Kavakci Couture, a design label of modest couture clothing.

Through her designs, Kavakci has become a pioneer for hijab fashion and an inspiration to Muslim women around the world. Her designs have been worn by the first lady of Turkey, women in parliament and women in the public eye.

“After moving to the United States when I was 12, I appreciated the religious freedoms the country offered, but realized that finding clothes that were conservative yet fashionable was nearly impossible,” said Kavakci. “I wanted to create clothing that looked chic, but still abided by religious dress codes.”

This fall, Kavacki will return to SMU, adding “SMU fashion media adjunct professor” to her long list of fashion achievements.

“I think many people look at fashion only on the surface,” said Kavakci. “The fashion media program helps students realize the depth and theoretical background of fashion – fashion is about so much more than trends.”

(Read more on Elif Kavakci at SMU Fashion Media)

Fashion media students leave the program passionate and determined to start their own businesses, write for magazines, manage social media and even develop clothing lines. Their experiences at SMU give them the edge to do this, said Prof. Kraeplin.

Grave Davis DamrillGrace Davis Damrill, a 2012 fashion media graduate, has been active in the fashion industry since her freshman year at SMU. Damrill was an intern at Stanley Korshak, Lucky Magazine and FD LUXE, and was the founder and executive director of SMU fashion week.  Today, Damrill works as the assistant sales manager of fine apparel for Neiman Marcus.

Sarah BraySarah Bray, who graduated from the fashion media program in 2011, has worked for Vogue, The New York Times, PaperCity Magazine and Neiman Marcus. Bray currently lives in New York and works as the style writer for Town & Country Magazine.

Shelby FosterShelby Foster, a 2013 fashion media graduate, has worked as both the public relations coordinator and currently as the assistant public relations manager for NorthPark Center – one of the largest shopping centers in the nation.

Dallas’ profile as a fashion center offers a rich laboratory for fashion media students to sharpen their skills through internships.

Emily WardEmily Ward, who will graduate in May 2016 with a double major in Journalism and fashion media (and as the department’s  “outstanding fashion media student”), interned at D Magazine while pursuing her degree.

“The fashion media major has been the perfect fit for me,” said Ward. “It has given me the technical skills, such as audio and video editing, as well as social media skills, to be successful, while also providing me with a creative outlet.”

Ward is currently the editor of the student run smufashionmedia.com site and is the fashion editor at the SMU Daily Campus newspaper.

India PougherIndia Pougher, a junior fashion media major student, will intern with Marie Claire in New York this summer as a beauty intern.

“Everyone in the fashion media program was incredibly supportive during the process of looking for an internship,” Pougher said. “The fashion media program has helped me hone my skills and the professors have encouraged me to follow my passions.”

Pougher has also interned at PaperCity Magazine and Dallas Market Center. She is currently the Fashion Week fashion show producer for SMU retail club and contributing writer for the SMU Daily Campus newspaper.

"The fashion media program at SMU is perfectly tailored to those who want a career in fashion journalism,” said Kristie Ramirez, editor-in-chief at Modern Luxury Dallas & Dallas Brides. “Through research and reporting techniques, and guidance on how to write for your audience, Professor Kraeplin prepares her students for a real-world work environment.”

To see fashion media student work visit: http://www.smufashionmedia.com/


The fashion media program is housed in SMU’s Division of Journalism. Students can earn either a major, with 37 hours of coursework, or a minor, with 19 hours. The majority of fashion media courses are taught in Meadows divisions including journalism, corporate communication and public affairs, advertising, film & media arts, art (photography), and art history.

One-credit-hour professional internships are available to all fashion media students as part of their coursework. Up to three hours of internship credit may be counted toward degree requirements for the major, however. Students must declare as a fashion media major before they will be allowed to complete an internship for credit. All internships are taken on a pass/fail basis only.

To enter the fashion media program, students must first gain admission to the University. Additional requirements for the major include successful completion of an essay, grammar, spelling and punctuation test and a combined minimum G.P.A. of 3.0 (B or higher) in ENGL 1301 and 1302.