Fashion students show 'Spring Masquerade' style

A class of Fashion Merchandising students is collaborating to put on a fashion show at Mercyhurst University.

Erin Magorien, a part-time faculty member in the fashion merchandising department, teaches Fashion Promotion. This class requires students to fully organize all aspects of a fashion show.

This is Magorien’s third fashion show to oversee, but the fashion merchandising department has had this tradition for the past 10 to 15 years.

The purpose of the assignment is for the students to “gain hands-on experience of all aspects of running a fully-functioning fashion show. They are completely responsible for everything from coming up with the theme to deciding what food to serve,” Magorien said.

The Fashion Promotion students collaborated on a central theme of a masquerade, deciding on a final name for the show titled “Spring Masquerade.”

To promote the masquerade theme of the fashion show, the class is hosting a mask-making event on Thursday, April 26, at 6 p.m. in Old Main Room 312. They will provide refreshments and all the materials needed to create a mask. All students are welcome to help create masks for the show.

The students who are enrolled in the class were divided into committees ranging from three to four students in each group.

Senior Angelina Viveralli is one of the three merchandise coordinators for the fashion show.

“We all loved the idea of having a fashion show with a theatrical element. After we chose the theme, we decided that the benefactor for the show would be the Erie Playhouse’s Youtheatre,” Viveralli said.

Senior Courtney Lemmo is a merchandise coordinator, too.

“Working on the show is exciting and fun but also requires a lot of work and is time consuming,” Lemmo said. Her job, with the help of her other group members, is deciding how to mesh the clothing with the theme.

They are responsible for obtaining the clothing, caring for it and returning it as needed.

The clothing comes from several places that allow the students to borrow the garments and return them in the same condition after the show. So far, they have received merchandise from Bridal Elegance, The Sassy Peacock and Macy’s, but they are not limited to relying on these sources.

Students also borrowed from family, friends and faculty. On occasion they purchased some items from Goodwill or other thrift stores to complete a look.

“I have learned that organizing a fashion show takes a lot of collaboration and there are numerous elements such as catering, which initially one might not think of when they think of having a fashion show,” Lemmo said.

Viveralli explained that despite any obstacles, they have worked hard to make the fashion show successful.

“When we, the merchandise coordinators set up all of our dates for gathering, organizing and fitting our garments, we were planning under the impression that nothing would go wrong, which has hardly been the case. However, I am confident all of our hard work will pay off in the end,” Viveralli said.

Another group in charge of making sure the show runs smoothly is the model coordinators. They are responsible for securing models for the show who are not students in the class. On average, they need between 20 and 25 models. The models then work closely with the merchandising coordinators to find clothing that works well with each individual for the show.

Advertising and promotion coordinators are in charge of carrying out the theme. This is accomplished through promotional activities, such as flyers, tickets and advertising in local media and on campus.

Lighting and audio coordinators select music that is appropriate and carries out the theme. They work closely with the models and merchandising coordinators to ensure that there is proper execution of their masquerade theme.

Catering and display coordinators search for local companies that are willing to sponsor the show through donations or reduced prices of items to give to the audience during intermission. They also provide food for the end of the show.

In addition to their duties for the fashion show, they will throw an after party for the students in the class and those who helped with the show.

The stage managers set up the area for the show in terms of seating and stage arrangements. They also have to clean up props after the show.

These responsibilities are just some of the things these students must complete to assure that the fashion show is a success. Each group member must be prepared to take on other duties and to assist each other when needed.

Some of these students may work in a career that requires them to plan an event similar to their “Spring Masquerade” fashion show, so this is a great way to learn what it takes to make it in the real world.

“Creating the fashion show teaches the students to work together in a real-life situation,” Magorien said.

Lemmo agreed.

“Overall it is a valuable experience and lesson in collaboration, communication, the importance of being organized and meeting deadlines. The things I have learned will be helpful for whichever career path I choose in the future,” Lemmo said.

The “Spring Masquerade” fashion show will take place Thursday, May 3, at 7 p.m. in the Herrmann Student Union Great Room. Admission for students is $2 and for adults, $3 for adults. Proceeds go to the Erie Playhouse Youtheatre.