YOUniversity Drive, LLC launched its first ever Collegiate Fashion Week at The University of North Carolina Wilmington from Feb. 10-14. Expert panelists, career workshops, networking opportunities and a runway show provided students with skills that are needed for the real world.
Based in Charlotte, N.C., YOUniversity Drive is an organization that prepares students for careers after graduation. Inspired by New York Fashion Week, CFW created an atmosphere where students would become prepared for the next steps after college.
Michelle Horton, founder and CEO of YOUniversity Drive, sees it as a career opportunity.
“Collegiate Fashion Week was developed to offer a holistic, engaging experience as an alternative to traditional career preparation programs,” Horton says. “With hands on programs, the event uses fashion as a way to talk about critical topics that are about much more than what to wear. From day one students learn about how to effectively goal set, network, establish personal accountability and become a compelling candidate to potential employers.”
Horton’s experience as a marketing executive for Fortune 500 R.J. Reynolds company and as a university professor helped her to create CFW keeping real-life scenarios and college students in mind, believing that students should be “suited for success” to stand out as they enter the competitive business world.
“Being ‘suited for success’ means that you not only dress the part, but you also live the part – both inside and out,” says Horton.
Two internships were available for UNCW students, including Marketing Coordinator and Fashion Show Coordinator, and 53 UNCW students modeled for the Fashion Show.
“I found my internship with Collegiate Fashion Week to be a valuable experience,” said Keri Howell, a junior majoring in International Studies who served as Fashion Show Coordinator.
“For someone who has aspirations in the fashion industry it was a good way to get to experience several different aspects at once, through both participation and observation.”
With a turnout of 330 students, even as some workshops were cancelled due to the winter storm, CFW made an impact on the student body on students who attended and participated. Students gained resume-building tips, interviewing practice and had the ability to listen in on panelists and get advice from successful businesspeople.