I know it has been quite some time since I've last blogged. Between my job search, my classes, and my activities, I’ve barely had time to breathe (or go to the gym) over the past few weeks.
This past Saturday, on March 10th, the Cornell Fashion Collective (CFC) presented its 34th Annual Runway Show, and I had the honor of being a part of the incredible team that put this show together. Today, I want to give you all an inside look into one of my biggest time commitments & my favorite organization that I am so lucky to be a part of: The Cornell Fashion Collective (CFC).
Founded in 1984, The Cornell Fashion Collective is a student-run organization that brings together students interested in all aspects of the fashion industry, whether it be PR, Logistics, Business, or Apparel Design. Each spring, we present a runway show in Barton Hall, Cornell’s largest indoor space. This show is run entirely by our members; the clothing is designed and modeled by students, and the show planning is taken care of by students as well. Our annual runway show is one of Cornell’s most popular events, with audiences exceeding 2000 people each year.
I’ve been a member of this organization since my freshman year. It's a pretty central part of the Fiber Science & Apparel Design major, so many fashion students find themselves getting involved in different ways that sync up with their personal academic interests and goals! This year, I am serving as the Vice President of Management and Finance. In my role, I oversee our massive budget (I’m talking about major M$ here) as well as our 150 organization members (who, BTW, represent all 7 undergraduate colleges at Cornell and over 25 majors, including Government, Engineering, and Biology… so no, you don’t have to be a fashion major to be interested in fashion!!)
The 2017-2018 Executive Board! Caley (VP of Graphics), Jessa (President), me!! (VP of Management and Finance), Jackie (VP of Models and Designers), Tuyen (VP of PR), Katie (Secretary), and Narhee (VP of Logistics and Planning).
Believe it or not, a show of this scale takes months to prep. Myself and the other executives, Jessa (who’s the President) and our friend Jackie (who’s the Vice President of Designers and Models), have been planning our show since this past June. And CFC is so much more than just a single runway event. During the fall semester, we organized an event in partnership with ASOS where we handed out free screen-printed tees and recruited models. We also partnered with a local 4H branch on an event where we taught local Ithaca children how to sew and focused on STEM opportunities in the fashion industry. Our biggest production of last semester was a flash fashion show, which is basically a flash mob, but in the form of a runway show! We had models walk around campus in student-designed outfits on a random Wednesday afternoon, surprising unsuspecting Cornell students. Alongside the models walked members of our organization, who carried signs to promote this year's spring runway show!
Behind the scenes at a CFC Members photoshoot.
What I love about the Cornell Fashion Collective is that it gives the fashion community at Cornell University a solid identity. It gives students interested in fashion the ability to remind our campus that yes, we’re here, and btw, we’re creating some pretty amazing things! At a research university where every other person you meet is either studying engineering or business, it is easy to feel lost and unimportant as a fashion student. But with CFC, I believe we empower our members to be proud of their creative side, and we’re also inspiring others to be confident and explore their passions.
In the spring, we present our annual runway show, which is about 2 hours long and presents collections from our designers. Designers are ranked by the number of years they've participated in the organization. Level 1 designers present a single look in a grouped collection, Level 2 designers present two looks in a grouped collection, Level 3 designers present half of a collection in their own set, and Level 4 designers present a full collection.
Putting together this fashion show took a ton of time and energy. I had essentially no social life for the first half of the semester because I was spending every free moment planning our seating arrangements, communicating with vendors, raising money, or monitoring ticket sales. I learned how to put a full scale runway show together from top to bottom, how to be an effective peer leader, and how to keep close track of a massive financial budget.
Our show, presented on March 10th, was a massive success. It was the first time in CFC history that we sold our Barton, with attendance at approximately 2,700 people. We elevated the show this year by replacing a curtain backdrop with a giant LCD screen, allowing designers another medium through which to convey the intentions of their collections. Our designers created some of the most beautiful looks I've seen grace our runway, and I helped make the show significantly more profitable than it has been in year's past! Here are some of my favorite moments from CFC's 34th Annual Runway Show:
Behind the scenes with BSI Productions, our amazing production team!
Taking the stage with the E-Board... I can't even explain how amazing it felt to see all of our hard work come together.
And here are some of my favorite looks from the night (shoutout to Cameron Pollack for capturing these moments!)
We collaborated with The Thread, another fashion-focused Cornell organization, to produce this introductory video to open our show. It gives an in-depth look at the process of putting together a runway show.
CFC is a microcosm of Cornell, but for me, I think it’s extremely representative of the “any person any study” mantra that my university holds so dearly. We bringing together brilliant minds with unique perspectives in order to create a visual masterpiece. I'm thankful for the team I worked with this year who supported me, for my friends who dealt with my constant panic attacks and mental breakdowns, and to my university for passionately supporting the intersection of the arts and sciences.