On a sunny Friday in May, music and the chatter of conversation spilled out of SHOP657 onto Sutter Street as School of Fashion students hosted the concept store’s first ever Spring Social event.
Visitors enjoyed macaroons, kombucha and club tunes from DJ BabyJ of Manics while they shopped and mingled among the racks of student, alumni and faculty collections, including brands such as RAGNHILD, Sibyl of No. 17 and VoidTheBrand.
The event was organized in conjunction with fashion marketing instructor Gabriel Gima’s special events and promotion senior marketing class, which is the first class to be launched since fashion marketing received its accreditation.
Students worked with Chau Bui, SHOP657 manager and fashion merchandising alumna, to discuss Chau’s vision and needs for the shop to create a unique retail experience around Malus Marcoo, a San Francisco brand by alumni Lancy Ma, Ares Hoang and Mavis Lu.
Retail experiences such as the Spring Social, according to Gima, are “an opportunity for marketers to be able to showcase a brand for [a] one-time experience that somehow gives [the] brand [an] opportunity to test a few things out,” he said.
The class was required to come up with a pitch and objective; once approved, it’s a matter of organizing and communicating with an array of vendors to provide all the pieces to the desired experience within the students’ $900 budget.
“We wanted to create this shop as the environment for up and coming creatives to come in, to network and talk to each other,” said Hayden Bui, fashion marketing student. “Then from there, we have to come up with what color scheme do we want, what food do we like, what drinks do we want, what gifts do we want to have. It has to be cohesive.”
Soft pink, mauve and an icy blue were the colors of choice; guests were gifted with a light bulb goodie box with M&Ms of the same color. Mannequins perched on bright pink palette beds in the window display fit the mood.
“They wanted to do an event that’s youthful, up-and-coming as a theme,” Chau said. “Mavis’ brand is very contemporary, very current and just so happened to have a collection coming out this season, so it was kind of perfect.”
For many of Gima’s students, working with Chau on the Spring Social event was the first time they worked with someone outside of the classroom. It was a taste of “what real life work would be like,” said Gima, who mentioned that the experience was a lesson in holding each other accountable.
“It’s about meeting expectations,” he elaborated. “They had to realize their work isn’t about them, what they do or don’t do affects the team and the teamwork affects the event.”
There was no trace of any hiccups at the Spring Social, where several students and instructors stopped by to say hello and do a quick browse of the garments. There was a mini modeling session when a student tried on a turtleneck from the racks and the flyer backdrop served as an impromptu photo booth.
“We wanted to use it as a multi-purpose space,” Gima said. “We use this as an opportunity to take this space and try to repurpose it for the local neighborhood so passersby can look at it differently and also look at our students differently, to enhance and empower the creativity that the students really graduate with.”
Featured photo by Nina Tabios.