by Rebecca Cohen
University of Maryland’s Fashion Week— a weeklong event run by fashion entrepreneurship club, Masterpiece— continued Thursday night with its fourth event, The World is Your Runway: Networking Night.
This is Masterpiece’s second-annual Fashion Week and their first networking night. The club began in 2014 when two girls were inspired by both the design and business aspects of the fashion industry but felt they did not have enough options at this university to pursue a career in this field. They started the group so that students who are interested in fashion, marketing and entrepreneurship could come together and learn about the field. Networking Night took their goals to the next level.
“We are the first club of our kind. We love fashion, but we’re also very focused on the fact that fashion can lead to careers,” said Oru Okogbule-Wonodi, president of Masterpiece. The club wanted to create an event to network with big fashion companies – such as Abercrombie and Fitch, Under Armour, Target and Anthropologie – so students could really learn how fashion and business collide in the job field.
The event, held in Hornbake Library’s Career Center, posed a casual setting so students could speak to as many or as few people as they wanted to. Each company had their own area to put on a display to attract students. One or two representatives from each company were there to speak with students and make connections. Students and the representatives had informal interviews and traded contact information to pursue internships going forward.
“I really like learning the entrepreneurship side of fashion because that’s exactly what I want to do,” said Sakina Mehdi, a senior English major who attended the event. Mehdi added that she spoke to a few companies who all asked for her resume and traded contact information with her. She’s hoping for a job opportunity in the future based on connections made at the event.
Two freshmen students, Katie Park and Geneva Yearwood, also attended the event. Park expressed that she is more interested in fashion design, whereas Yearwood is more interested in fashion marketing.
So far, Fashion Week has held multiple events including their kickoff on McKeldin Mall, a “fireside fashion chat,” and a modern twist on Project Runway that involved several student organizations.
“This year our goal was to make [Fashion Week] bigger and better,” Oru Okogbule-Wonodi said. With the addition of Networking Night, Masterpiece was able to achieve this goal, allowing Fashion Week to reach new realms of the fashion industry. Masterpiece and Fashion Week have grown since they were first created, encouraging and supporting students to follow their dreams of working in the fashion industry.