Fashion School Store celebrates grand reopening


Trista Grieder, a fashion design and merchandising lecturer at Kent State, looks at the clothing in the Fashion School Store alongside her graduate student assistant Gordon Stumpo on April 22, 2015.

Kelsey Drumm

The Fashion School Store officially reopened its business at the new location of 161 E. Erie St. across from the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center Wednesday, April 22. 

Aside from a completely different building, the FSStore furthered its changes with a sleek appearance and more fashionable clothing. 

“I hope we have more customers who will have a chance to see the store,” said Fashion School Director J.R. Campbell while comparing the old building in Acorn Alley II with the new one. “I think the increased presence with the location being across from the hotel gives us an opportunity to think of a different market and present the Fashion School and the city in a different light.” 

Light reflects better with the store’s new white walls, which gives the illusion of a larger store, said Keisha Walker, FSStore keyholder and senior fashion merchandising major.

In addition to the modern, upscale-boutique look, the store gained a fitting room as well. At the old store, the workers used a makeshift fitting room with a temporary wall for customers to try on clothes, Walker said. More importantly, storage space increased in the new location. 

Extra garments will be stored in the backroom and the displayed apparel will be switched out more often, so the store will always look fresh and new, said FSStore manager Karey Christie. 

The shape of the store allows a major improvement in product presentation, too, Christie said.

“Part of the reason for moving into this space is it gives us more window display capability,” Campbell said. “In the process, what we really wanted is a sweep of new products available in the store. It’s almost all new clothing you’re seeing on the floor tonight.” 

The Fashion School Store only sells women’s apparel, but its target age range has recently expanded. Now, the store holds more apparel, so it will appeal to young and sophisticated, older customers other than college students, Christie said. 

The store mainly sells student and faculty-made products but filled in basic pieces from a vendor, too.

Students from the Collaborative Fashion Production class came together to create more clothing for the reopening of the FSStore.

They’ve designed winter coats and jean skirts for the store, and the class will be a source of new merchandise to keep refreshing its products, Walker said. Kent State added this class to the university catalog a year ago.

Christie also said that the Sewing Basics class got together on a Saturday and made skirts for the store. 

Other pieces, such as a scarf designed by Emily Lavelle when she studied in Florence, Italy, will also be sold in the store. 

Palazzo pants, Fashion School T-shirts, Cleveland landscape jackets and colorful skirts are more examples of the latest items.

“The whole Fashion School has pitched in to make this happen,” Christie said. 

The Collaborative Fashion Production class physically moved items between the two stores, and then Christie moved everything into its place with other employees. 

The Fashion School Store’s staff will be changing, too. Two student employees will graduate this May, and Christie’s family plans to move out of the Kent area, so she will leave her position as store manager. 

Apart from many changes, associate professor Jihyun Kim will remain as the faculty adviser for the FSStore.

“It looks good on a resume to work here, and I’m helping to build the business because it just started,” Walker said. “As we see the business grow, it’s like a baby. We’re like, ‘Look at everything that’s happening.’”

Contact Kelsey Drumm at [email protected]