SMU kicks off 6th annual Fashion Week with panel

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Panelists Photo credit: Emmy Berg

*Editor’s Note: 6:53 p.m. May 3 – This story has been edited throughout.

Fashion Week officially began with a fashion industry panel discussion including members of Dallas’ fashion scene on April 19 in the Owens Arts Center.

The Fashion Media department proudly hosts SMU’s Fashion Week every spring semester. Fashion Week was launched in 2012, making this the sixth year in production.

Five women representing different areas of the fashion industry came together to discuss all things fashion and the way the media have influenced and changed this fast-paced industry.

Courtney Kerr longtime Dallas fashion blogger and influencer, and four SMU alumni made up the panel: Nicole Musselman, a fashion designer; Meg Jones, co-founder of To & From Gifts; Shelby Foster, public relations manager for NorthPark; and Grace Davis, a beauty buyer all graduated from SMU and helped found and create the Fashion Week program.

Senior Mia Wennick hosted as emcee of the event, asking the panelists a wide range of questions about digital media’s relationship with fashion.

Wennick worked closely with fashion media director and journalism professor Dr. Camille Kraeplin to plan this year’s fashion panel.

“I helped coordinate the panel with professor Kraeplin,” Wennick said. “We met weekly to figure out the best speakers, venue, and questions for the panel.“

Social media has grown immensely since many of the panelists have been in college and its new presence has greatly impacted the fashion world in many ways.

Kerr explained how drastically the digital world has changed over the past 13 years that she has been in the industry.

“Almost everyone gets their inspiration from somewhere, whether that be by follows blogs, Instagram accounts or other media related sites,” Kerr said.

Kerr relies on her social media presence to pay her bills. Being a fashion blogger and influencer, media has allowed her to promote certain brands, inspire trends and reach large audiences.

“As influencers, it’s our job to communicate to our readers what’s happening online,” Kerr said. “There are so many things that are on ecommerce that are not in stores. It gives me the opportunity as an influencer to share with my readers products that they might not find otherwise.”

The emergence of blogs and ecommerce has completely changed the way people shop and the shopping experience as a whole. Instead of going into stores, the internet allows customers to virtually shop, ship and return all with a click of a button.

Social media has also given brands a new tool to reach their customers. One panelist said that social media has the power to launch an entire new brand or concept.

“For a brand, social media has been amazing,” designer Musselman said. “Prior to having it we would show our lines in a very traditional manner, now with social media we can create our own space to connect directly with all of you. It is so much more fun for a designer to get direct feedback.”

Social media can help promote and grow smaller and lesser-known brands, make well distinguished brands more profitable bring and even spark conversation about certain trends and labels according to the panelists.

Media is also contributing to the growing success of Fashion Week on SMU’s campus. The Twitter hash tag #SMUFW was trending before, during and after the event.

Junior Shannon Hale was one of 50 plus audience members who attended this year’s panel. She enjoyed hearing the different viewpoints and business strategies from the panel.

“Fashion Week is a great concept. Since fashion media is a fairly new major at SMU I think it’s a great way to connect us all,” Hale said. “I see it growing every year and it’s extremely exciting to see it’s potential.”

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