By Rosemary Leger – 1851 Staff
Last month 30 fashion merchandising, design, and communications majors left campus before sunrise and headed to the Coterie Trade Show in New York City.
Coterie is a place for designers and fashion companies to exhibit new lines and products, where retailers then shop the thousands of booths and order these products in bulk. The selected apparel and accessories are then produced and sent to stores to be sold to the public.
As the largest international fashion exhibition in the world, Coterie shows contemporary and traditional women’s ready-to-wear fashions. This specialized trade show occurs twice a year at the Javit’s Convention Center in New
York City, immediately following New York Fashion Week.
Michaela Kotob, sophomore and President of Lasell’s Fashion Connection Club organized the trip that brought students out of the traditional classroom and into the world of fashion. This was her second time at the trade show, but definitely not her last.
“I love, love, love Coterie. I think everyone should go at least once, the experience is so important for understanding the industry before actually becoming a part of it,” said Kotob.
The group had an exciting day at the event. One highlight Kotob noted was speaking with Lasell alumni and two-time Project Runway competitor Sonjia Williams. Williams inspired students and encouraged them to be hard working and fearless in fashion.
“Don’t worry about the competition,” Williams said.
Spending time at Coterie also presented students with the less-glamorous side of fashion. While browsing booths from familiar labels like Free People and Diane Von Furstenberg, some girls were shunned away. Kotob said she is happy the students were not always welcomed because, “[I]t taught the girls that the industry is not always nice,” and that “people were genuinely trying to do business.” She said the booths of international SGA Corner vendors were much friendlier.
The day in New York City gave the Fashion Connection Club a glimpse into the real world of fashion and business. While learning their careers will require both industry connections and hard work, they left with newfound professional skills and inspiration.
“Don’t judge people [in fashion] by their appearance, but by their work,” said Kotob. “Everyone has a story.”