From creating do-it-yourself mood boards with scraps of recycled magazines to holding professional events, Binghamton University’s Fashion Runway club is making its mark on campus.
Jessie Kwan, a junior majoring in business administration, started the fashion interest club last semester in the hopes of creating a community for students to express their individual styles and creativity.
“I just really wanted to gather a group of people that really know each other and what ties them together is their common passion and their interest in the fashion industry,” Kwan said.
Kwan was initially inspired to create the club after a summer internship at a fashion company, which she said opened her eyes to the lack of resources at BU for students interested in fashion.
“I decided to create this club because I wanted to provide resources on campus for the fashion industry,” Kwan said. “There were no other organizations on campus that … [were] tailored to fashion and even if there were, they were disbanded a few years ago, before I came into college.”
Although Fashion Runway is new to campus and in the process of becoming Student Association-chartered, the organization still holds weekly general body meetings on Thursdays and interactive events, ranging from DIY accessory making to discussing fashion-related topics. Currently, the club is collecting signatures to obtain its official charter and expand not only its events, but its overall membership.
“We sometimes recap on different fashion events or are focused on international fashion too, but we also just have sit-down events where we get to know each other,” said Jason Kim, secretary of the club and a junior double-majoring in business administration and economics.
Another goal of the organization is to open up career opportunities for those interested in the industry, especially since there is no fashion-related major at BU. Last fall semester, they hosted their first professional event, which featured Macy’s recruiter Vincent Bond as a guest speaker.
“I actually spoke with Bond, just because of the career fair, and then I talked to him about how I was trying to start a club,” Kwan said. “I asked him if he had any advice and he contacted me, but we want to open up that resource to other students as well.”
In the future, Kwan said she hopes to bring more professionals to campus to speak about their experiences. Kwan hopes to contact more notable workers in the industry to speak about their experiences for future events as the club continues to grow. One individual the group would like to eventually network with is Maureen Kelly, president of Tarte Cosmetics, who graduated from Binghamton in 1992 with an English degree.
Regardless of whether they dream of working in the industry or just see it as a casual hobby, the members are bound together by their shared interest in the art.
“Fashion is just your own way of expressing yourself, and I know it’s cliche, but it’s very true,” said Taylor Mileski, marketing director of the club and a sophomore double-majoring in sociology and graphic design. “I consider my wardrobe as I’m curating it, like a museum. To me, it’s my own personal thing that I built over the years, and then I can say that I have this collection that I can express myself through.”
With the busy lifestyle of a college student, being dressed to the nines may be the last thing on a person’s mind. However, Kwan explained how even something simple and casual can be considered fashionable, as long as the person feels confident.
“One of the reasons why I called this club Fashion Runway is because I want students to feel like every day is a runway,” Kwan said. “They should feel confident in what they wear, even if that’s sweats and leggings. That’s something we want to emphasize in our discussions: thinking about how fashion can make you more confident.”