Kent students experience New York Fashion Week up close


Models pose during Fashion Week in New York City.

Ella Abbott

Fashion Week kicked off on Sept. 7 in New York. The week-long exhibition of fashion shows draws crowds to the city, and Kent State students weren’t immune to the pull.

Mai Vu, a part-time instructor at Kent State’s New York City Studio, directed two shows, Berenik and Marcel Ostertag, during the week and invited students to attend them.

Simone Lindsey is a junior in the fashion design program who is studying at the studio in New York. Lindsey attended both of Vu’s shows.

“The first show I went to was for Berenik,” she said. “It wasn’t a typical runway show. It was kind of like a live gallery.”

At the show, guests walked through the models as they showed off pieces from the designer’s Ready-To-Wear line.

Storm Dolfi is also a junior in the fashion design program who is studying in New York. The Berenik collection struck her due to the unisex feel of their line.

“I’m not sure if the company necessarily considers itself unisex,” Dolfi said. “But it seemed that all of their clothes were.”

Unisex, or androgynous, fashion is an up-and-coming trend, Dolfi said. In July, Vogue debuted a cover issue with Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid where they discussed “genderless fashion.”

Lindsey previously attended the fashion week in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, where she directed fashion shows. This was her first time attending shows in New York.

“It’s similar, but very different,” Lindsey said. “There’s a lot of higher profile designers in New York and there’s a lot more going on simultaneously. There’s a bunch of shows every night.”

Dolfi’s first show during the week wasn’t a show she’d planned to see. She and some friends had decided to see what shows they could get into and walked past Austrian designer Irina Vitjaz’s show.

“We kind of just walked by it and were like ‘hey, can we go in?’ And they were like, ‘I mean, yeah,’” Dolfi said.

Dolfi had ended up sitting in the second row for the show.

“I think it’s a really good takeaway that if you get up and dress nice and want to go somewhere and say you’re a student, people actually might let you in,” she said. “It was an amazing show!”

Mariah Moorer, a sophomore pre-fashion design/merchandising student, decided to drive to New York for the weekend to attend shows. She went to the Fenty Puma show and worked the Veronica Beard show, among others.

“My main role was helping create the fashion show,” Moorer said.

At the show, Moorer was the assistant to Veronica Beard’s senior vice president of branding and communications, Allison Aston.

One of the designers for the Veronica Beard show was Chelsea Paskvan, a Kent State alumna. Paskvan had a hand in designing the line which appeared in the show. Beard’s line included a blend of tweed and denim.

Moorer saw the weekend as a chance to network with industry professionals. She met with the current editor of Teen Vogue, Elaine Welteroth, and actor and musician Zendaya’s stylist, Law Roach.

“Elaine [Welteroth] was really sweet, really genuine,” Moorer said.

Roach gave Moorer some advice while she spoke with him, saying charm would get her far. This affected Moorer, who said people in the industry can feel they have something to prove and it leads them to being mean, which is something she hopes to push back against in the industry.

The week in New York left a lasting impact on the first time Fashion Week-goers. Lindsey said experiencing the industry in a way she hadn’t before offered a learning experience.

“Fashion is a very tough industry and, for me personally, I just feel like the more you’re exposed to, the more prepared you are,” Lindsey said.

For Dolfi, it was the overall impact of collections which stuck with her. She said the Vitjaz show blended different fabrics and colors. The collection didn’t appear to have a theme until she saw all of the pieces together at the end.

“I think it’s really cool to see everything all together,” she said. “It kind of makes you think about the cohesiveness of the collection.”

For students, experiences which allow for a real world look into the industry they’re studying can make them feel more secure in their choice of field.

“Being able to make the connections I made really was encouraging to me,” Moorer said. “Having a glimpse into what the rest of my life will be like was a lot of fun.”

New York began “fashion month” and was followed by London. Milan’s fashion week begins Sept. 20, followed by Paris on Sept. 26.

Ella Abbott is the fashion reporter. Contact her at [email protected]