STITCH and Unity collaborate on first NU Fashion Week

Stephanie Haines

Northwestern student groups STITCH Magazine and Unity Charity Fashion Show will present the first Northwestern Fashion Week this week, which will offer Evanston store discounts and a fashion career discussion panel.

Nadina Gerlach, outgoing editor-in-chief and current editor-at-large of STITCH Magazine, said both organizations talked about having a fashion week last year, so members of STITCH and Unity formed a separate committee to plan the week this year. Gerlach said the focus was not to create a week of fashion shows but to offer programming to students that is relevant to the student body.

“When you think of a fashion week, you think New York or Paris Fashion Weeks, which seem untouchable,” the Communication junior said. “We want to host events that students want to go to, are accessible and benefit the community as a whole.”

Gerlach said the committee considered how other univeristies foster the fashion culture on their campuses when creating the fashion week events.

“I think Northwestern has a big fashion culture, and it has been growing every year,” said Alyssa Clough, the managing editor of STITCH and a Medill sophomore. “Not many other colleges have a fashion week. I think this is cool that this (fashion week) will be a yearly event at Northwestern.”

Wednesday’s panel discussion will host multiple people who work in the fashion industry to give students advice about how to break in to the business and succeed. The panel will include a fashion designer; NU lecturer Steven Fischer, who teaches a class about business and fashion offered through the Kellogg School of Management; and Weinberg sophomore Zoe Damacela, who was featured on the cover of Seventeen Magazine for her fashion design business.

Gerlach and Clough said they are most excited for Thursday night, “STITCH & Unity Fashion Night,” when GAP, LOFT, Levi’s, Williams Next Door, gigi BOTTEGA, Uncle Dan’s and Francesca’s Collections will offer NU students discounts and stay open later than their normal closing hours, Gerlach said.

Gerlach said STITCH and Unity worked with Downtown Evanston and Associated Student Government for fashion night because ASG had previously considered creating a version of “Big Bite Night” for Evanston clothing stores. This event will coincide with the launch of STITCH’s April 2012 issue online, Gerlach said, which will be celebrated in the former Spirit Halloween storefront, 1612 Sherman Ave.

GAP Manager Jim Pioth said he chose to participate in the fashion week to display the summer collection to students.

“Personally I think it’s a great opportunity to show what we have for summer for our students,” Pioth said. “We don’t get as many students as you think, but we definitely want to show what we have.”

The week will conclude with the fifth annual Unity Charity Fashion Show Saturday, which President Emerly Soong said will feature NU students modeling mainstream brands, student designers and cultural garments.

Soong, a Weinberg junior, said the proceeds from the fashion show will benefit the Playing for Change Foundation, an organization that helps low-income children pursue their passion for music.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the name of a store offering discounts to NU students. The name of the store is LOFT. The Daily regrets the error.

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