Last Thursday, Great Hall transformed into a scene resembling 6th and 40th street in early February, where New York City’s Bryant Park is transformed into New York Fashion Week.
The UMW catwalk extended through the hall. A taping of the official Gucci Spring/Summer fashion show played on the big screen prior to the fashion show as spectators sampled fruit and chocolate hors d’oeuvres and flutes of fruit juice.
This urbane event was the product of Fashion International, an University club founded by senior Megan McDonough and junior Maliha Adams.
“Starting a club on campus is actually much harder than either of us anticipated,” McDonough said.
Despite the setback, McDonough and Adams were found many fashion loving students whom they found had nowhere to put their interest to use.
“Because the club is so young and our following is very limited, Megan and I carried out most of the planning and preparation ourselves,” Adams said.
Juniors Emilie Begin and Hassan Abdelhalim emceed Fashion International’s runway show.
“You can tell [America’s] fashions are influenced by other cultures’ fashions,” Begin said.
Begin and Abdelhalim hosted three categories, traditional Asian, Middle Eastern, African, and Australian fashions, student-designed fashion, and contemporary European attire.
The International Fashion Show itself was also a hosting ground for other clubs around campus. The One Note Stand performed during the intermission between the first and second portions of the show.
The second part of the show began, introducing a student designer, senior Emily Curtis and her designs, as well as male evening wear.
Reminiscent of 50s designs, Curtis showed three dresses and even modeled one of them. All three were dresses in a variety of styles consisting of strapless, one-shouldered, and sleeveless dresses.
Starting as a hobby a few years ago, Curtis’ interest in fashion expanded after taking courses while studying abroad in Florence.
The second and last interlude between portions of the event showcased UMW’s African Hand Percussion Club. They did two songs, reminiscent of tribal beats, each with a sound that reverberated well in the spacious Great Hall.
The third piece of the runway show was showcasing contemporary and European outfits. Katie White, voice of The Ting-Tings, rang out as student models such as Greg Pesce, Colby Proffitt, and even founders McDonough and Adams walked onto the platform.
“We held this spring fashion not only to exhibit interesting clothing but to make it apparent that the industry is historical and global, that clothing from the past has unearthed itself in the present and that trends from half-way around the world can be translated in American everyday wear,” Adams said.
Many of the clothes shown in the affair, other than Emily Curtis’ collection, are that of the students who modeled in the show, and McDonough and Adams themselves supplied much of the clothing. Many students brought their own traditional clothing from different countries; and the outfits were styled mostly by the students themselves.
A representative of Simpatica had a table set up at the entrance of the Great Hall to promote the store in downtown Fredericksburg on Caroline Street. Last semester, Fashion International actually had the owner of Simpatica come and talk to the group about strategic fashion marketing.
McDonough is a double major in Psychology and English. She spent last spring studying in London and working for the Anne O’Dowd Agency, an international fashion agency representing brands from all over the world within the UK and Irish markets. She has worked for both the London and Dublin Fashion weeks.
It was there that she found her calling.
“I had the privilege of working directly with designers and their staff and realized I could really see myself working in this industry,” she said.
Upon returning to the US, she worked as an occasional publicist for MELM Public relations and TDG Fashion Productions, and worked the Washington, DC Fashion Week. She handled the press, negotiated and worked with buyers, was responsible for VIP guests and Ambassadors for the two international runway shows DC hosted.
“I did some backstage help as well, getting the models dressed and on the runway,” McDonough said.
After graduating, McDonough plans to go to New York City and spend the summer working for Krupp Group PR. The company is a SoHo-based high-end fashion public relations firm, specializing in luxury brands. She has high aspirations but is determined to reach them.
“Eventually I hope to move back to London and work in international fashion, doing PR and Marketing,” McDonough said. “With my dual citizenship, U.S. and Irish, I think it’s possible.”
Adams is double majoring in Business Administration and International Affairs. She also has previous experience in fashion; she has modeled for Zara, H&M, and the DC Fashion Week. She is a “State Department kid” and has traveled all over the world, living in countries like Italy, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Tunisia.
McDonough and Adams spent months working on the fashion show, the minute details such as lighting and music was with the help of a light and sound crew. Fashion International plan on doing the fashion shows once a semester to promote awareness of their club and to let students know there is an outlet for their creativity and interest in fashion.