FashioNation started in 2008 as a social club for anyone interested in fashion. At the time, the only interest club of that kind was mainly for fashion merchandising majors.
As the group grew in numbers their events grew. Around their third year, the organization coordinated fashion shows for sustainability and breast and prostate cancer.
“Our fashion shows get bigger and bigger every year,” Bianca Soto, fashion merchandising junior, said. “The second year we did boxer night and talked with the advisor for CAMCOSO I realized it was becoming a serious and real, impactful thing.”
FashioNation went through a faculty adviser change. President Marcus Avila, international studies senior, said the group wanted a fashion merchandising faculty member and someone who would be more involved.
Avila said the new adviser, Keila Tyner, was a great addition and helped organize a trip to see the John Paul Gautier exhibit in Dallas.
“This is a really good, self-guided group,” said Tyner, an assistant professor of Family and Consumer Sciences. “I think a student organization should be run by the students, so I’m just here to sign forms and suggest ideas. For example, I suggested they develop their own product and sell it to raise funds, but only if they want to.”
FashioNation originally had only members who were fashion-merchandising majors. Its members now include public relations, journalism and even animal science majors.
Avila said he hopes to have an agriculture major join someday, as fashion plays a role in all majors.
“We are all completely different,” Avila said. “What I think is fashion can be completely different from what my VP thinks. Whatever the opinion, we put that aside and focus on the fashion world and helping our members succeed.”
As students changed the demographics of FashioNation, they also molded its mission. During meetings, officers and members bring up modeling and career opportunities.
“We want FashioNation to be fun and social, but also a real world experience,” Avila said. “We try to educate our members in the business side of things. In a way these experiences are helping us teach each other.”
Avila said he heard about an internship with Kelly Cutrone, who owns one of the biggest public relations firms in New York. A member of FashioNation recommended him, which led to his receiving an offer for the internship.
Avila didn’t get the internship as he waited too long to accept.
“It was only a few days, but someone else snatched it up before me,” Avila said. “But that is the type of opportunity FashioNation gives you. It gives you lessons about the business and prepares you for something bigger.”