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Junior, Hannah Zicardi gives an update on the MU Fashion London trip.

05. ‘90s REVIVAL

Sophomore, Sarah Altilio dishes on her ‘90s style and why mom jeans are back.


The Olympic Games were not just about sports. Read about the fashion within the summer games.


Find out about a recent trip to the corporate headquarters of Rue21.


What is life like in the Big Apple for a FIT visiting student from MU?


Prepare your wardrobe for colder days with these tips. .

14. FRESHMAN PERSPECTIVE Starting college can be rough. Find out how one freshman got acquainted to life at Mercyhurst.

15. ALUMNI 1

Catch up with a Hurst alum who's starting her own line of leather goods.





Editors’ LETTERS

you told me two years ago I would be editor of Statement, I probably would have thought you were joking. Why would anyone let me have that much responsibility? Well fast-forward two years and here I am working on my third issue with this being my first as Editor.


Yes, there are undoubtedly times of stress and panic but seeing everything come together is why we do what we do. Statement has grown immensely in the time that I have been here and I know that progress will continue in the years to come. I hope everyone reading this issue will see the time and dedication put into Statement by each one of the contributors as well as our wonderful Co-Editor, Rachel, and myself. Enjoy each page and always make a STATEMENT.


have always had a love for layouts. From a young age I enjoyed making mock “magazine spreads” and fashion collages on websites like Polyvore and adjusting all of the images to fit just right. Flash forward 10 years, and I’m so grateful to have been given the amazing opportunity to be the Co-Editor of Statement to pursue just that. I’m eager to share with you the project that Olivia and I have been working on since last spring, and hope that this issue inspires you to take part in the production of next season’s issue as an article contributor. This newsletter is a testimonial to just how strong the Fashion Merchandising Department at Mercyhurst is, and it’s a great outlet for our creative individuals to make a STATEMENT. -RACHEL LYNCH



CHEERS FROM LONDON After waiting nearly a year, it was finally time for the Mercyhurst Fashion Department to leave on our six-day trip across the pond this past May. It was about a seven-hour flight from JFK to Heathrow in London, which allowed the anticipation to build up even more. We arrived in the early morning so we were lucky enough to have the rest of the day to sight see.

The following morning, we took the tube to Portobello Market. If you’re into cool little shops with unique items, this is definitely a place you should visit sometime. After leaving the market, we headed to our fashion visit. We were lucky enough to have an appointment with Jacques Azagury who

We headed to the Covent Garden area first. It was not at all what I expected, but in a good way. There were so many stores in such a quaint, picturesque area. Seriously any store you could think of. After meandering around the Covent Garden area, the group headed to dinner together. We feasted on traditional fish and chips. The second day was one to remember for sure. In the morning we all headed to Windsor Castle. This beloved place is where the Queen of England spends some of her time. It is known as her “weekend home.” The group was able to tour the different rooms within, but unfortunately, we couldn’t take pictures. After Windsor, we were able to take a short bus tour seeing several of the typical tourist sites such as Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and the Houses of Parliament. After this, the group had the evening free and was able to adventure some.


The fourth day the group had an early morning. We all went together to tour the Tower of London. There is SO much history behind this place it is incredible. The Crown Jewels are held here as well. With more free time following the Tower of London, students were either found at the Tower Bridge or the Victoria and Albert museum. The rest of the night was spent at a super awesome show called "In the Heights". I definitely recommend it to anyone who has the chance to see it. The very last day we were able to do whatever we wanted. Some students took this opportunity to take a bus to the Warner Brothers studio where they toured the Harry Potter sets. Other students went to a morning tea while others went shopping.

is known for designing several of Princess Diana’s gowns. He definitely gave us great advice when it comes to the fashion industry. After our meeting, we had the rest of the evening free to explore. Some students took this time to visit various landmarks such as the London Eye or Big Ben.

Unfortunately, after many longing months, the trip came to a quick close. Having the opportunity to travel to London with the fashion department is something that will stick with me forever. If you ever have the chance to go, take in every single moment of it because it is one amazing city.





BACK TO THE '90s Let's be honest, the average college student was only a toddler during the last half of the '90s (myself included). We most likely had all our outfits picked out by our moms and that usually consisted of a pair of OshKosh B'gosh denim overalls and light up sneakers. We played with Furbies, watched Hey Arnold! and snacked on those God awful cracker dippers with the nearly plastic cheese. But with all of this being said, there is just something about the '90s we can't seem to get enough of.

we left Justin Timberlake's bleached Ramen noodle inspired hair back in 1998 and reclaimed the better parts of '90s fashion trends. Chokers, mom jeans, chunky heeled boots and the mini skirt have all had a major resurgence into modern closets.

to stand out from the crowd while still having a ‘90s vibe.

Sarah pulls major inspiration from '90s pop culture, even saying, “I absolutely adore Kelly from Saved by the Bell! She is the reason why I wear mom jeans; she’s my fashion idol.” Mom jeans aren’t the A updated take on the '90s only trend inspired by the look is perfectly executed 90’s that Altilio wears. Pulling from the school girl/business woman look made popular by the movie Clueless, Sarah cannot get enough of plaid. Her take on the plaid ‘90s staple has a modern twist to it that is gives an updated, cool feel to the look.


The '90s are by far one of the most beloved eras of fashion and for good reason. Kate Moss. Rachel Green. Liv Tyler. Kelly Kapowski. All these ladies, real or fictional, were the epitome of '90s style. Everyone was just so effortlessly cool in their own way. Makeup was understated, clothing was minimalistic and hair was often parted down the middle. Nineties fashion and style icons still manage to be a major influence in today's trends. The revival of '90s fashion sums up cyclical fashion pretty easily; what goes around comes around, fashion being no exception. Luckily

by sophomore fashion major (and our cover girl), Sarah Altilio. Sarah is greatly influenced by the '90s and has always been a bit more unique and daring with her fashion sense. Incorporating a bold statement piece, like the striped socks or fur coat (pictured on the left) are ways Altilio adds a bit of ‘90s edge to her wardrobe. You might think that Sarah would scour vintage shops for hidden gems but instead explains her style as being more garment based rather than store based. She looks everywhere for those statement pieces that allow her

The '90s have been able to leave ther mark on fashion years after the fads of scrunchies and crimped hair. Something about the '90s truly speaks to everyone whether it be for the nostalgia or simply the love of minimalist fashion. Although many of us weren't old enough or even alive to take part in the trends the first time around, the '90s fashion revival gives us a chance to partake in a truly iconic look. Long live the '90s. -OLIVIA WAGNER



shown through this jacket which explores the intersection of fashion and technology. Phelps really lit the way for team U.S.A.

If you’re anything like me, on August 5th you snuggled up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn to watch the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics, including the Parade of Nations, a culmination of fashions that reflect their culture of origin and athletes exuberant to represent their homeland.

Team USA paraded out in none other than Ralph Lauren, a designer that is no stranger to patriotism in his design, often incorporating hues of red, white and navy. Whether you’re familiar with the designer through your study of fashion or through Rachel Green’s work-related endeavors on the hit sitcom Friends, you’ll know that Lauren is a prevalent American designer. The blazers he created, embossed with both the Polo pony and Olympic crest, were manufactured in Rochester, NY. It was important to Lauren to manufacture everything on U.S. soil in a time when large manufacturing orders are typically outsourced. To produce regionally sourced uniforms for over 1,100 athletes was no easy feat, but this didn’t deter Lauren. The red, white and blue boat shoes were made in Maine, the shirts were produced in Massachusetts and the wristbands in New York. Additionally, U.S. flagbearer Michael Phelps was provided a special-made jacket in which the “U.S.A.” label on the back of the jacket was electroluminescent. Lauren’s desire for innovation is


He didn’t, however, shine as much as the Final Five, the U.S.A. gymnastics team, did in their Swarovski crystal-adorned, flag-inspired leotards. The leotards that the team wore during qualifying rounds were decorated with nearly 5,000 of the crystals. Just one competition leotard can cost anywhere from $700 to $1,200 which is a higher monetary value than the gold medals they won. The final total? Each member’s Olympic wardrobe equates to roughly $12,000 of highly embellished garments (um, goals?!) These garments aren’t just haphazardly thrown together, though. Designing the leotards can take up to two years, says creator Kelly McKeown of GK Elite based in Reading, Pennsylvania. They have to perform at an exceptionally high level and be tailored to each gymnast due to their extreme body shapes. For gymnast Simone Biles who is short in stature with broad shoulders and narrow hips, every aspect of her leotards must be custom made. No expense was spared on leotards this year in honor of the retiring gymnastics coach, Martha Karolyi. The uniforms all around were phenomenal. While the United States racked up a total of 46 golds, 37 silvers and 38 bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, nothing shines brighter than the patriotic fashions that were paraded throughout the duration of the events. -RACHEL LYNCH

As fashion week hit New York City, history was made by the Muslim designer Anniesa Hasibun. Along with being the first Indonesian designer to show off her collection at an official NYFW venue, she also was the first designer to accessorize her entire collection with hijabs. In her home city of Jakarta, it is normal to wear hijabs, or head scarves, with trousers, suits, tunics and gowns. Being a Muslim woman, she is aware of the stigmas pushed on her culture and how the world views her and her people. Despite other opinions, the fashion world was inspired by Anniesa’s message, and courage of showing her work in the spotlight. The show demonstrated world beauty with models of all different ethnicities and races, as well as allowing women who choose to be modest, to also feel beautiful. This monumental moment in fashion history helps the fight to end discrimination as well as increase appreciation for other cultures. -BELLA STEPHEN

I was absolutely turned off by Christopher Kane’s Crocs at London Fashion Week this year. They’ve rendered me truly speechless because I was not expecting them at all. As far as the highlights, I was super into the street style this year. Whether it was mini skirts, denim on denim, or lace and silk combos, I was all over it. -FRANCESCA ALOE

FASHION WEEK RUNDOWN From luxurious velvet, to the forbidden yellow, the trends from this year’s New York Fashion Week are a force to reckon with. Every year our favorite designers put on stunning shows that set the new trends for the upcoming season, and the bar was most definitely set this year. Velvet will for sure be one of the most popular textiles this season. As shown by Giorgio Armani, H&M, and others, velvet is going to be the chic material this year that will have people begging for more. The comfy material will have you looking like a million bucks while allowing you to have the comfort of your favorite pajamas. An odder trend that has been prevalent in the shows is the color yellow. For most, it’s safe to say that yellow is a hit-or-miss. But designers are surprising us all with the amount of yellow being shown this season, usually being paired with pink. You can find some of these color combinations from

Sies Marjan, and Alexander Wang. Everyone can appreciate a nice coat and so can some of our favorite designers such as Prada, Tommy Hilfiger, and John Galliano. Ankle length coats, mostly in navy, are clearly going to be a trend that everyone will be rocking this fall. The coat is chic, versatile, and practical, making it perfect for everyone. Not to mention the coat pairs nicely with a heel allowing you to look sophisticated and keep warm during the cold weather. Although these are only some of the major trends from fashion week, these are definitely the big ones that will be seen soon. Everyone will be wanting these staple pieces for the upcoming seasons and are something that everyone should look for. -NATALIE THOMPSON



Last week our visual merchandising class took a little trip to Cranberry, PA to visit the corporate headquarters of Rue 21. It was great to get off campus to see the fascinating inner-workings of a store we shop at and who knows, maybe will one day even work for. If you haven’t heard about the blast we had in Cranberry, here is a little snippet of our day.

Just before heading back to Erie, Rue 21 gave us a tour of their corporate office which gave us an inside look at all the work in action. Maybe it was just me and where I’m from, but I never really realized how big of a fashion retailer Rue21 was until I saw it for myself on this trip. Just when I thought the tour was coming to an end, we were taken upstairs where there was an entire floor filled with cubicles, offices, and conference rooms packed with busy bodies doing their jobs. For not really thinking it was big, it was huge! Let me just say that I seriously underestimated these guys. Rue 21 is only going to continue growing and producing trends and styles for years to come!

Our visit first began with a trip into their staged store where they do all the visual merchandising. I’m sure a lot of us find the idea of making visual displays fun but I never realized the amount of physical labor that goes into it. If you ever consider going into visual merchandising, be sure to get in shape before you actually start because you’ll be creating and tearing down displays ALL THE TIME. It was pretty neat to see the entire process in the works.

The corporate headquarters of Rue21 are not your typical offices that have a very serious atmosphere with everyone dressed in suits and blazers. Rue21 promotes a fun and exciting work space that the employees seem to love. I never once would have thought that they would be wearing jeans. That’s right guys, Rue21 has casual Friday every single day of the week! From the welcoming staff, to the fun atmosphere of the office, Rue21 felt like the place to be and I am so glad our class got to meander our way down to see them. It’s awesome that Mercyhurst maintains great connections with people and companies that allows us to have opportunities to go visit and learn all about them. Thank you Rue for taking some time out of your busy work day to show us around!

After the simulated store, came the Q&A session. For me, this was my favorite part because not only did the Q&A session include a lunch that I got to shove my face full of delicious pizza, but also because I was able to ask questions and learn more about the jobs and the people at Rue21. This point in the trip was a time for us to do a little networking and connect with the employees who gave up their day for us. I loved listening to how each and every person got involved with fashion and found out exactly what they do on an everyday basis. It was great to get some insight into the jobs and some advice on how to be successful in the fashion world.




iving in New York City has been my dream since I visited for the first time when I was just seven years old. That aspiration grew stronger as I vacationed there about 10 more times as I grew up. As my parents and I drove six hours across state two months ago to make me an official resident of my dream city, I felt nothing but confidence that I knew the Big Apple just as well as any other Yankee. Except I didn’t realize one thing: actually living in NYC is absolutely nothing like all the weekend trips here combined. After immersing myself in the true culture of being a city dweller, I have learned a thing or two about what a newbie in the City that Never Sleeps looks like:




I could be dripping sweat in the Took me a while to realize this heat of a crowded subway. But looking around, it’s incredible one… All the streets are onethat men in three layers of suit way, which means that cars pieces are as dry as the Sahara. can only hit you coming from one direction. Checking out all I guess they’re just used to it? the cars driving away from you But I honestly don’t think I’ll before crossing the street pegs ever stay cool in the muggy, underground chambers when you as a newbie. I used to go to school in the snowiest city in America.


There are so many transportation options in NYC. If you hail a cab, you’re either so rich you don’t care about how overpriced it is, or you’re a fresh, lost resident of the city who has yet to discover the secrets of cheap transportation. Like the Via app: any ride in Manhattan, just five bucks (wish I woulda known that my first two weeks here).


It’s true that literally anything goes when it comes to street style in NYC. But all the jokes about New Yorkers only wearing black has a lot of truth to it.


First weekend in NYC: “I will never pay more than $5 for a mixed drink, that’s ridiculous!” After living in NYC for a month: “$7 Miller Lite during happy hour?! I’ll take 4!” Although I think this will end up coming full circle once I’m broke after living here for a few more months…TBD.


You’d think navigating the city would be easy when it’s just a numbered grid. Buuut, not when every street corner looks the same. And don’t even think about asking for directions without looking like a total tourist. *How embarrassing*



CHANGING OUTFITS FOR THE CHANGE OF WEATHER As of September 22, 2016, it is officially Fall, or “autumn” as some people like to say. When it comes to fall and fashion, we think about layers, scarves, boots, fall colors, and light sweaters. However, in the beginning of fall, we usually tend to mix our summer and autumn outfit elements, to ease into the transition. This may be because the weather is still “summer weather,” or perhaps we are just holding onto summer for as long as we can.

In the photo to the left, Esprit is showing off one of her summer-to-fall looks. Her necklace and denim shorts are items she wears in the summer. To make a fall outfit using these summer items, she wears knee-high suede boots and an olive green top, and carries a yellow-orange handbag. When asked what she thinks summer-to-fall outfits are about, Esprit answered: “ I think it’s all about keeping [your outfit] cohesive and blending the seasons. For example, with your summer accessories and shorts, whether leather or denim, add a cool fall jacket, shirt, sweater, etc, and always have a good fall staple shoe, such as cool street sneakers and trendy, yet, good quality, boots. If you want to wear longs bottoms, you can throw on a loose summer blouse with some leather pants/jeans and pair it with a summer heel...” Thanks Esprit for the great advice!



On the right, you can see that my summer outfit is a sheer sleeveless top, denim shorts, and sandals. To transition that outfit to fall, I switched out my denim shorts for a pair of dark-wash jeans, my sandals for combat boots, and added a fun knitted cardigan on top of my summer blouse for those chilly fall mornings. When you think about it, it’s very easy to transition summer outfits to fall outfits. All you need are a few staple pieces, as Esprit had said. I personally love knitted cardigans, scarves, and boots. There are many different styles and designs of shoes, garments, and accessories, so feel free to mix and match however you choose, and make your own style. Alyssa (left & bottom right) transformed her summer outfit to fall by adding a plaid flannel cardigan, and switching her street sneakers for a pair of tan, suede knee-high boots. She said, “I like to take basic summer pieces and add comfortable fall accessories like boots, a scarf, or a jacket to make [the outfit] appropriate for the weather.” Alyssa’s flannel cardigan can also be replaced by a flannel button down. This fashion is very popular throughout the fall season, so look out for this plaid



Throughout these images, you can see there is a common color scheme for fall fashion – mostly hues of reds and browns. During the fall season, we see all colors of the color wheel, but mostly their darker hues, rather than the bright and light colors we see in the summertime. That being said, have fun picking out your fall outfits!



always pictured college to be just like the movies; meeting new people, having little to no homework, hyped up sports events and hanging out with friends all weekend. However, with just being only a little of a month in as a college freshman I have learned that my expectation of college life was a little off. Yes, you meet a ton of new people living on campus and become very close quickly, but it becomes challenging trying to balance your social life with your academic life. On the first day of classes I was so overwhelmed. After looking over the syllabus’ for all my classes I thought for sure my social life was over. Right at the end of my last class on the first day I called my mom instantly. I complained to her and wondered how am I supposed to be able to complete all of this homework on time? She told me this is normal, everyone is going through the same thing and it just takes time to develop a routine. She assured me that everything is going to turn out to be ok. At the time I didn’t believe her and was

completely stressed. But then a couple of weeks went by and I slowly started to get the hang of things. In between my classes I make sure I do some sort of homework in order to stay on top of things. Every night, a group of friends and I head over to the library for a couple of hours and work on our homework together and ask questions if necessary. This is a great way to do your homework and still be social with other people. Now you’re probably still wondering about college social life on the weekends. It is important to still have time to go out and be with friends and not cooped up in your room studying all the time. Yes, that’s important, but if you’re like me and get homesick, it’s important to stay active in activities to keep your mind busy. Every Friday after my last class I start my homework. I work on some for a couple of hours then I call it a day. I designate at least one day of the weekend

to studying and homework and the rest is spent for leisure and social events. Also, there are a ton of clubs and activities to get involved in at Mercyhurst. Every weekend the campus has some sort of event planned for the students. I try to attend as many events as possible and it’s also a great way to meet new people. Going to and living on a college campus is definitely a huge adjustment to get used to. It takes time, but at Mercyhurst there’s never a dull moment and there’s no doubt that you’ll fit in

as soon as you step foot on campus. -TORI MCLAUGHLIN


MEET ASHLEE RZYCZYCKI: OUR CAMERON DIAZ LOOK-A-LIKE The Erie, PA native attended Mercyhurst for undergrad and was in the same graduating class as our very own Amy Weaver-Kaulis! Though she wasn’t always a fashion merchandising major--she spent her first 2 years of college studying art therapy before deciding it wasn’t for her-- Ashlee has

a passion for fashion and teaching that makes her the perfect new addition to our department. This isn’t Ashlee’s first time in the classroom however. She taught at Mercyhurst for one year before moving to Kentucky with her husband where she taught courses on health and wellness at the University of Kentucky. While she was there, she was able to combine her love for fitness and fashion by putting on fashion shows to raise awareness for heart disease and

breast cancer. She also previously worked at Saint Vincent’s Hospital where she organized wellness and fitness courses for employees. Ashlee is a strong advocate for the awareness of mind, body and spirit which is why in her free time she is largely in to running marathons. Through her previous work, the best advice she can give a student looking to enter the work force is “Be passionate about what you do. If you believe in what you’re doing you will be successful 110% of the time. Understand the importance of small, mundane things and try to see how they fit into the bigger picture and be passionate about them too. You’ll stand out. Also be willing to be flexible—play a critical role in any situation, as an individual or on a team.” Ashlee’s passion is what makes her such a great teacher. Ashlee prides herself on bringing a new perspective to the department since she is fresh out of the work force. She is extremely approachable and wants to be our confidante because she’s been in our shoes and has insights she wants to share on how to navigate new situations in the working world. Her goal as a teacher is to prepare us and give us the skills we need to be successful in a job. She can’t speak enough of the professors here and how passionate they are and also how fortunate the students here are to have professors that care about the well-being and job placement of each of their students. "Its life changing being here", she says. We are lucky to have her. Welcome, Ashlee!

Alumni Spotlight: Valeria & Elena

Even before attending Mercyhurst I dreamed about designing, I remember my obsession at the time was focused on women’s shoes. Nevertheless when choosing a career path came along, I decided on Fashion Merchandising. Deciding on Mercyhurst was easy. The program offered me both the opportunity to learn the fundamentals, while preparing me for the commercial challenges of a fast growing and ever-changing industry. The courses I took and the professors I had the privilege to learn from, prepared me to make the best decisions when facing past and upcoming challenges. In September I launched my brand Valeria & Elena, specialized in making minimalistic, handcrafted leather products, designed by me, and manufactured in El Salvador. By

selecting only the highest quality leathers and colors, my goal is to show the world the excellent material resources we own, as well as the outstanding artisanal skill in our people. I want to develop products that can compete with International brands in the market, demonstrating that Hand Made in El Salvador is an added value. Valeria & Elena is now operating online and has the chance to ship worldwide. In the near future we are working on getting into boutiques and department stores in markets such as: Nicaragua, Honduras, Chile, Peru, and the United States as well as online at Mercyhurst taught me that visions are worth fighting for, especially if it means working for what you love for the rest of your life. -VALERIA SILVA-ESTEVES ‘14

Statement Fall 2016  

Mercyhurst University Fashion Merchandising Newsletter, Fall 2016

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