Penn Fashion Week brings finance and fashion together

The week of events, featuring the CEO of Barneys New York, starts next week

· March 27, 2014, 9:50 pm   ·  Updated April 16, 2014, 12:37 pm

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London, Paris, Milan ... Philadelphia. Fashion Week is coming to Penn.

Penn Fashion Week will focus on how the fashion industry interacts with sight, sound, smell, touch and taste and will be presented by Delta Sigma Pi, the Penn Fashion Collective and the Wharton Retail Club, in partnership with the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center. Events will take place from March 31 through April 5.

Hosted in multiple locations across campus, the Penn Fashion Week schedule ranges from a panel discussion on brand capitalization to a tutorial on product design.

“It’s the most well-developed undergraduate fashion conference in the country,” Executive Director and Wharton senior Lennie Zhu said. “It’s the event that keeps Penn at the forefront of the fashion industry.”

The week is about bringing Penn’s fashion-minded community together with the industry. “I know there is a very strong contingency of people [on campus] interested in fashion,” Zhu said. “It’s for students to find a niche between finance and fashion.”

The week typically attracts around 1,000 attendees. Director of Marketing and College junior Grace Guan, a philosophy, politics and economics major, emphasized that the events weren’t exclusively for the business-minded. “It’s for people from all different majors, not necessarily just the business way,” she said. “It’s a great way to meet people with a shared interest, from all different backgrounds.”

The organizers also aim to bring in students who are not specifically interested in fashion. “We want to create a buzz on campus,” she said.

Penn Fashion Week offers opportunities to network for future hiring, hear from fashion experts and simply learn how the industry works.

CEO of Barneys New York Mark Lee, Executive Editor of Glamour Magazine Lauren Smith Brody and founder of e-commerce site Grungy Gentleman Jace Lipstein are among the week’s featured speakers.

The organizing committee was able to reach out through Penn alumni and personal networks to bring the events together. “It’s great marketing for these companies,” Guan said. It’s also an effective way for industry powerhouses like sponsors TeenVogue, Macy’s, Kipling, Calvin Klein, Cosmopolitan and L’Oreal to connect with “new customers and future recruits,” according to Guan.

And if that isn’t reason enough to get excited, there will be plenty of “amazing” giveaways including a Calvin Klein handbag and Warby Parker vouchers.

Zhu and Guan said they expect Penn Fashion Week to be “dynamic, fierce and stimulating.” Guan added that while the event is professional, they want attendees to have fun.

“[If you’re] interested in fashion at all, it’s just a super fun set of events,” Zhu agreed.

Penn Fashion Week opens Monday and will end Saturday with “Rave New World,” the annual spring fashion show featuring New York model and emcee DJ Rahma.

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