Collegiate Fashion Week visits UNCW for the second year

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North Carolina Central University business school observes ‘professional attire’ days. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT)

Erin Marshall | Contributing Writer

For the second year in a row, Collegiate Fashion Week puts an entertaining twist on teaching students at the University of North Carolina Wilmington how to succeed in the business world post-graduation.

From Feb. 17-19, UNCW host YOUniveristy events including resume building, women’s involvement in the workforce, and a fashion show demonstrating suave styles fit for acing the big interview. YOUniversity Drive is a national organization committed to assisting high school and college students, “bridge the gap between academics and the real world of work.”

Michelle Horton, CEO of YOUniversity Drive, dedicates her efforts to helping students reach their long-term goals by educating them on professionalism and the importance of personal appearance.

“In my exposure to professionals and other professors at academic institutions around the country, I want to make sure students are prepared for the real world of work,” Horton said.

Horton contacted local professionals and asked for their participation as a speaker or consultant for one of two panel discussions to occur during the event. The panel discussion “It’s Fashionable To…Have a Well-Dressed Resume & A Tailor- Made Network” focuses on perfecting your resume and feeling more at ease in the work environment. “Pumps, Pearls & Politics: A Woman’s Guide to Winning”, the second panel, discusses the necessary knowledge for any woman to thrive in her workplace.

The final event involves a fashion show featuring the latest trends of the business world, modeled by UNCW students themselves.

Horton shaped the idea of Collegiate Fashion Week largely off of New York’s Fashion Week.  With this in mind, she created a high-energy event centered on displaying professionalism in a stress-free manner. 

Her goal is to “make sure students understand the requirements to be successful in corporate America,” as this concept is not typically spoken about in everyday classes.

She hopes to bring Collegiate Fashion Week to a variety of universities in the near future as it influences students’ personal and professional development in such a positive manner.  Horton believes “students are the next generation of leaders” and that the program can make strides at campuses throughout the nation.

Savannah Croxton, one of the UNCW students modeling in the fashion show on the 19th, spoke highly of the program and how it will impact her.

“When you dress for success, you’re showing anybody that you interview for your individual professionalism,” Croxton said.  “You want to be able to show your personality through what you wear but also represent how serious you are about what you want to accomplish as you grow as a professional individual.”

Croxton decided to audition, after receiving an email with information about the fashion show from UNCW’s financial aid office, seeing it as an opportunity to learn about professionalism while also modeling clothes from various local retailers.

“I think I could represent the curvy population well, and I’m cute, and I think it would be a great opportunity to learn about fashion and professional development,” Croxton said.

Local style consultant, TJ Dunn, will help coordinate the aspects of makeup, hair and clothing for the fashion show. He believes the fashion show “creates an opportunity for fashion to become more of a presence on campus,” and hopes that UNCW will begin to offer fashion classes to their students in the future.

While the event increases discussion on proper workplace etiquette, it may spark a fashion movement on campus that combines appropriateness with a hint of style.

To register for the Collegiate Fashion Week events, visit collegiatefashionweek.com/schedule. The Collegiate Fashion Week Fashion Show does not require registration and is open to the public.