Berkeley Today

Student-Run Fashion Shows at Last Call Studio by Neiman Marcus Provide Valuable Career Experience

Berkeley College student Julie Vinolas didn’t realize what wonderful opportunities would open up when she suggested that the Fashion Club create a magazine. The new publication, Berkeley Fashion, launched in Spring 2012, quickly caught the eye of Iwona Niemiec, manager of Last Call Studio by Neiman Marcus, during a visit to Berkeley College in Paramus.

“Iwona was impressed with what she saw and asked if we would visit her store and review products for the ‘Must Haves’ section of the magazine,” said Ms. Vinolas, who is pursuing a degree in Fashion Marketing and Management with a minor in International Business and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Berkeley Fashion.

Fashion Majors Jump at Opportunity to Run Show

The product reviews led to an invitation from Ms. Niemiec for Berkeley College students to run a fashion show in the outlet store at the Bergen Town Center mall. Under the supervision of the Office of Student Development and Campus Life and with professional guidance from Fashion Marketing and Management faculty, the students jumped into action.

The result was a winter 2012 show titled “Rocking Around in Holiday Trends” that brought festive cheer and the latest styles to seasonal shoppers. Students coordinated the entire production. They chose the theme and the music, ran the technology, and served as stylists, make-up artists and models.

“The students’ enthusiasm and commitment made this fashion show possible and resulted in a fun, upbeat and creative event being held at our store,” Ms. Niemiec said.

Students Apply Skills Learned in the Classroom

The winter show was so well received that the students were invited back to run a “Spring into Fashion” show in April 2013. For the second show, the number of models was doubled to 20, each displaying four different outfits and accessories. Students from area schools also were invited to participate.

“Students from a local beauty school helped with make-up. Seven of the models were from schools other than Berkeley College,” Ms. Vinolas said. “There were a lot more people involved in the second show. That was challenging in terms of scheduling and organizing. We used skills that we learned in our business management classes to make sure things ran smoothly.”

Before choosing outfits for the show, the coordinators met with Ms. Niemiec to discuss the store’s clientele and to review Neiman Marcus spring and summer fashion forecasting videos.

“Last Call Studio has clients ranging in age from early 20s to late 50s. That was challenging at first, but it also gave us the freedom to use all of the brands that are in the store,” Ms. Vinolas said.

In the days leading up to the spring show Berkeley College students, accompanied by an instructor from their Visual Merchandising class, visited the store to do a makeover of the displays on the storefront windows.

“That was a great opportunity because we got to use color and theories learned in the classroom,” said Berkeley College student Zita Quezada, who is pursuing an Associate’s degree in Fashion Marketing and Management at Berkeley College in Paramus and served as a co-coordinator of the show. She also served as a stylist during the event.

Ms. Quezada said that styling the models provided valuable work experience. Her career goal is to work in Los Angeles as a personal shopper and stylist for celebrities and business women.

“It was challenging to fit a particular outfit to a body type while also trying to please the models,” Ms. Quezada said. “I got some attitude, but I learned how to work around that to get the job done.”

To view a photo slideshow of the “Spring into Fashion” student fashion show, click here.