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Washington University in St. Louis: Styleta Runway Show and Promotions Winter 2010

THE CHALLENGE

How can we help fashion non-profit Styleta introduce its new chapter to the WashU community?

WHAT I LEARNED

• Organizing people. • Working with a limited budget. • Promoting a new organization.


Styleta is a student-run, fashion non-profit which collects and sells donated designer clothing, with proceeds given to its charity partners. In fall 2010, it introduced a new chapter to Washington University in St. Louis. As Creative Director, I was in charge of overseeing all promotional efforts.

The University

Cultivate a subculture. GAIN SOME FOOTING.

The Executive Team

Get to know each other. ALIGNMENT WILL ATTRACT OTHERS.

Materials

Apparel and accessories, equipment and facilities. BE INVENTIVE.

People

Models, photographers, volunteers, stylists. LOOK OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL.

Photo Shoots

Endorse Styleta, advertise runway event. BUILD THE BRAND.

Runway Show

An entire evening affair. GO ALL OUT.

Going in with constraints... A campus community lacking any strong interest in fashion. Limited budget and resources. No group membership, a fresh executive board.


This was NOT about always being right.

It required recognizing when to step back and listen to, learn from, others. Know what you don’t know, appreciate what other’s do.


The two greatest challenges faced by myself and fellow members of The Executive Team were (1) The University’s lack of any official organization devoted to fashion, and (2) our own leadership inexperience. The first step, then, was to Foster: within the school, an interest in fashion; within our board, a strong sense of camaraderie and shared mission.

Chats with students and trend spotting around The University revealed that many of our peers had already fallen in love with fashion on a personal level - those who did channeled their obsession through extraordinary outfits that stood out from the rest of the sweats-wearing student populace. It was therefore an opportune time to introduce a legitimate student group that offered these fashionistas a way to use their style expertise for social good.


Campus Style

Realizing an unaddressed need: a student-run fashion group.

A Guerilla Fashion Show

Spreading awareness - models storm the school’s cafeteria.


Three Fellow Executives

Clockwise from top: Jentien Pan, Campus Director; Marissa Pomerance, Head of Styling; Aycan Nur Saǧir, Director of Finance.

What kind of leadership boards are people most drawn to? Ones with members who have both their personal and professional interests well aligned, who play off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The Executive Team thus made sure to dedicate time to getting to know each other.


Socializing

Bonding over good food and drinks, nice weather, and laughs.

Getting Down to Business

From pre-show planning to photoshoots and wardrobe selection... learning each other’s work ethics.


From Materials to People (and a heavy investment of our personal time), our promotional activities would require a significant amount of resources. To Source our goals required me to be relentlessly inventive and a persuasive spokesperson for our nascent organization.

Where we fell most resource deficient was in clothing and accessories - pieces for photo shoots and the runway show. Our solution: reaching out to local boutiques, explaining our mission, and asking to borrow merchandise. Their reaction: 100% openness, with many allowing us to freely browse their stores and take any items we wished.


Local St. Louis Boutiques

Special thanks to Pitaya and Ziezo for opening their doors to us.

Building Our “Closet”

Goodie-filled gift bags for show attendees, thanks to L’occitane, Lush, and Bare Essentials; great finds from Ziezo; fruits of Pitya’s generosity.


The Models

Just one important group of generous volunteers.

Models, stylists, photographers, DJs... we’d need a lot of help to turn our promotional vision into a reality! But to our happy surprise, whether when looking inside our school or to the wider St. Louis community for support, the People we came across were more than eager to lend their skills and time, without compensation. As a leader, I was extremely moved by what happens when passion meets purpose, by the natural sense of fellowship that blossoms when a diverse group of individuals are united under the same philanthropic mission.


The Stylists

Professional or student..? Bethany Laska works her magic, Ilana Moreno gives it a try.

Everyone Else

Clockwise from top: Sienna Malik gets a wardrobe fix from Jenny Saylak; Christopher Carter lets nothing stop him from getting the perfect shot; DJ Zac Blue preps for his set; volunteers organize looks as head stylist Marissa Pomerance looks on.


To truly unveil the Styleta brand with a bang, we decided to end the semester with a fullon fashion extravaganza - similar to NYC’s Fashion’s Night Out, an entire evening affair that’d include a Runway Show, refreshments, and a pop-up sale. To Promote the event, we first held a series of Photo Shoots, selecting the best images to use for show flyers

The two main things I learned while directing my first Photo Shoots: (1) communication is key, and (2) assert yourself, but listen. From wardrobe selection to model poses, I’d frequently butt heads with other executives and our professional photographer. When to step in versus when to give others “carte blanche”... a good leader needs to be able to discern between the two.


Striking a balance: what I envision,

The Process

input of others.

The Results

Some of my favorite shots.


Styleta Presents: Fashion’s Night Out

Final promotional flyer for the event.

From casting calls and line-up choreography, to theme development and individual look selection, the process of producing a cohesive Runway Show taught me how to think on my feet and juggle various responsibilities at once, a massive challenge given the sheer number of participants involved.


The Process

Keeping everyone aligned: A moodboard to inspire my team, a color-coded show line-up to guide and choreograqph models.

The Results

Fully pleased with the evening’s outcome: A jam-packed venue, attendees flocking to the pop-up shop, all models doing us proud.


Styleta - Fashion's Night Out  

"Fashion's Night Out." Date completed: Fall 2010 Semester. Brief: Styleta, Washington University in St. Louis - Runway Show & Promotions. St...

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