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fashion merchandising

Earlier this summer, an amazing opportunity came my way. I was asked to help produce a fashion show by the director of the fashion merchandising department at Fontbonne, Mrs. Angie Liljequist. She knows that I want to pursue a career in event planning, so this would be a great way for me to gain more experience. I am so glad that Angie approached me about this. I have helped plan and run many events on campus, but this was my first public one, therefore a way to gain more exposure in the St. Louis area.

Janet Riehl is an artist who creates a lot of work that features women in clothing that celebrates African culture. She wanted a casual fashion show to correlate with her work, and have it run at the opening of her month-long exhibit at the Portfolio Gallery on Delmar Boulevard (the exhibit being titled Women and Wardrobe). This opening would also serve as a fundraiser for the gallery. I met with Janet earlier in the summer to discuss her vision and so that I could see her artwork. I also met with Robert Powell, the creative director of the Portfolio Gallery, in order to see the space I had to work with. The gallery is really neat place, which is a vintage three-story house. After these initial meetings, I proceeded with my work.

Angie let me borrow some clothes that the fashion merchandising department has on hand for the costume history class. They were all garments worn traditionally in African culture by men and women. I gathered additional clothes, shoes, and accessories to style these looks in a more modern way. I recruited four models to wear these looks. I had connections with each of these girls after they modeled for the fashion show this past spring that my fashion promotions class produced. In addition, I reached out to a local fashion designer, Amelia LaSalle. I thought her designs complemented Janet’s work well too. Amelia’s collection was displayed on mannequins (also borrowed from the fashion merchandising department, and somehow all fit inside my small car).

Janet wanted it to be a casual and free-spirited event. So, there was not a formal runway show. The models were each stationed in a different room, and were there to mingle with guests and give them information about the traditional use of the garment they were wearing. I am excited to say that the evening was extremely successful! So many people showed up and had a great time. I received many compliments and recognition. It was all a bit surreal. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and appreciative of all the help from Angie, Janet, Robert, Amelia, and the four models. Great connections were made that I hope to continue building on in the near future. It is thrilling for me to plan an event and see it come to life. More and more I have solidified the fact that event planning is my passion and what I want to do in life.

Myself with the models: Brittany, Alyssa, Latoya, and Quinisha Myself with the models: Brittany, Alyssa, Latoya, and Quinisha

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In order to get my degree in fashion merchandising, it is a requirement to complete an internship. And as hard as it is to believe, I am at that point in my college career. My internship is at a company called TalentPlus Universal, which was originally intended to be solely a summer thing. But, I am excited to say it has been extended into the fall! I am glad that they like me enough to keep me. I first found out about this internship opportunity back in February when I was at the National Association for Campus Activities conference in Boston. I spoke with a TalentPlus representative at a booth that was set up at a fair, and applied as soon as I got back home to St. Louis. My first official day was May 15.

TalentPlus Universal is an agency that is only located in St. Louis (in the Central West End, to be specific). There are four divisions within the company: TalentPlus Entertainment, Centro Models, TalentPlus Commercial, and TalentPlus Production Services. The agents at TalentPlus represent talent, which includes musicians, comedians, models, actors, hair/makeup stylists, and more. They are responsible for getting the talent bookings and handling their marketing. There are only 12 employees, plus three interns. It is like a family around the office because everyone works so closely with one another. There is even a TalentPlus pool party coming up. I’m really looking forward to that and getting to know everyone better outside the work environment.

Honestly, I can say I learn something new every day I am there. So much goes on between all four divisions. And I’ve never been in a setting such as this before, so it’s like a new world to me. Luckily, I’ve had the opportunity to see the way each division operates. I primarily work with Entertainment, analyzing and handling client social media and marketing. Within the Commercial division, I’ve helped film videos and edit them myself. This was a completely new and very exciting experience to me. Last, but not least, most days I work on my projects while sitting at the front desk. While there, I answer phone calls, process payments, and greet and direct visitors. I especially enjoy greeting models when they come in for photo shoots and model scouters traveling from other major fashion cities. There is definitely never a dull moment at TalentPlus!

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You may not know it, but St. Louis is somewhat of a force in the fashion industry. As a student in the fashion merchandising department here at Fontbonne, it was my turn this semester to enroll in the “Promotion in the Merchandising Environment” course. A group of fourteen students, myself included, have been working on our fashion show “Strutting St. Louis” since the beginning of the semester.

“Strutting St. Louis” was an idea the class came up with together as a team through much debate and thought. Our show, as one can tell by the name, is St. Louis themed. Each scene of the show was influenced and inspired by a local landmark of the city. Such scenes include Forest Park, The Loop, Ballpark Village, Botanical Garden, and The Fabulous Fox.

Model casting calls, rehearsals, promotions, and a lot of hard work later and it was showtime. This year the fashion show collaborated with FAB’s Springfest. We held “Strutting St. Louis” outside in the quad of Fontbonne’s Library at 4 p.m. on the 25th of April.

The show was great! I was placed on the promotions committee for the show, therefore the majority of work I had to do was before the day of the show. I worked with the flyers, program, press release, and other “public relation” type aspects of Strutting St. Louis. I was thoroughly pleased with the work my class put in and delivered to the university. It was great to see it all come together last Friday. Check out a few of the photos and promotional items below. Fontbonne’s Instagram page also has some great images of the day! http://instagram.com/fontbonneu#

A promotional email image for the window display advertising the show

Thanks for reading..

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Last week I had the privilege to walk in the Fashion Merchandising spring fashion show. It was awesome. From the beautiful clothes I got to wear to the great people I got to work with I had a blast. The girls of the promotion class had such a great idea to showcase the hot spots of Saint Louis. I have a little bit of experience in modeling so walking was a breeze for me. I am quite excited to be apart of this class next year to create yet another great fashion show!

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It chose me

by Marki March 3, 2014

“Why did you chose Fashion Merchandising, why did you chose theater?” Questions I hear quite frequently from people wanting to know the reason behind my two very creative major choices. Well personally I’d like to think that my  majors chose me. I say this because since I was a small child these two things just […]

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Dress for Success.

by Marki March 3, 2014

What does it truly mean to dress for success? Now that I am talking an interpersonal communication class I get to explore what this truly means. When it comes to meeting people in regular social interactions to serious job interviews, your clothes are always communicating something. Are you trying to show you are a young […]

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

by Carlyn November 26, 2013

Once again, another visual display has been completed in the windows of Anheuser-Busch Hall. For my visual merchandising class, this was the last installation assignment, which was bitter sweet. It’s a bit of a relief to know that winter break is just around the corner. That being said, I am really going to miss the […]

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Advising Week

by Alumni Posts November 13, 2013

This past week was Advising Week. During this time, students meet with academic advisors to set up their upcoming semester class schedule. In addition, you are able to talk with your advisor about the current semester and your concerns about your academic standings. The advisors are able to help their students keep on track. For […]

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More Fashion Fun

by Carlyn November 13, 2013

Once again, I was provided with an amazing opportunity, thanks to the fashion merchandising department here at Fontbonne. With my Advanced Apparel Production and Evaluation class, we visited a local fashion designers’ studio. His name is A.J. Thouvenot, and he was a competitor on Project Runway a few years ago (which is the only TV […]

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Survival of the Punkest

by Carlyn October 23, 2013

This semester, my favorite class is Visual Merchandising and Store Planning. Most of the course is very hands-on and project based, which I think is the best way to learn. One thing that we do as a class is install various visual displays throughout the semester. These display windows and cases are located in the […]

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.