Advocacy through design

by Micaela Resh

Fashion is best served in a five-tier show. 
Fashion & Business, a University of Minnesota student organization that focuses on careers in the fashion industry, is hosting RISE: Advocacy through Fashion Design on Sunday at Rapson Hall. 
Since its beginning in 2011, the group has gained a strong presence on campus. Roughly 100 students are members of the club. 
Right now, the group’s president, Lisa Kuplic, is in the process of helping FAB reach the national level by creating new collegiate chapters. 
The students in the University group are majoring in topics like design, retail merchandising and fashion studies.
“When [the group] first started, it was mainly design majors, but we have transitioned into having a lot of retail merchandising majors interested in buying careers,” FAB event coordinator Kristin Stalsberg said.
Stalsberg has played a major role in planning RISE, as well as other monthly events. The retail merchandising senior has already dipped her toes into the fashion industry.
Last summer, Stalsberg completed a buying internship at accessory brand Henri Bendel in New York. Her role included processing orders for buyers, doing database inventory and compiling a competitive analysis of other market brands. 
Like Stalsberg, many FAB students tie their love for fashion and business together.
The show’s proceeds will go to nonprofit Dress for Success, which provides professional business attire to low-income women worldwide. Dress for Success aims to empower women to secure a career with a mix of clothing and confidence.
This year, the show is expanding to new heights, operating as a five-tier night of fashion. The first segment will be a “rags to riches” fashion show with twelve designers from the University’s College of Design. Three looks from each designer will walk the runway, and the top three designers will be awarded a scholarship.
The panel of judges will be local bloggers Davee Ek, Lindsey Herzog and Grant Whittaker. Each will bring a unique fashion perspective to the show. 
Known for her styling work, Ek works closely with the Mall of America, while Herzog has gained traction with her blog on “Fearless Fashionista.” Whittaker works with one of Minnesota’s largest fashion events, “Rumble on the Runway.”
The rest of the night will include a crowdsourced show by local boutique owner DeSèan Mills, a segment by local designers and tailors who are a part of TIM+TOMM, an Express showcase and a styling competition.
During the styling competition, retail merchandising majors will craft looks from the Gina+Will resale shop in Dinkytown. The top stylists will also be awarded scholarships.
Philanthropic entrepreneur and fashionisto Richard Moody will host the night. Familiar to the fashion scene, Moody has more than 30 years of modeling experience that has taken him to South Africa, Bangkok and Paris.
“I am local, but I bring that global perspective,” he said.
Moody said he wants Minnesotans to push the envelope on fashion. 
“I encourage people to explore thrift and restyle stores. Recycle, reuse and reinvent your style in little ways — it doesn’t have to be expensive,” Moody said.