Yeah, Mann! Student Fashionista Holds Fashion Show

“Fashion is a self expression in a form that you can’t find anywhere else.”

Elysia Mann is no stranger to fashion and the fashion industry. She spent her summer in New York City interning for the Fashionista website, attended Fashion Week in NYC a few months ago, and is the web editor and fashion editor over at Valley Magazine. She even runs her own fashion blog, entitled Fashion Fille. In high school, her love of fashion even got her into trouble, when her teachers told her that her accessories became too distracting in class. (Ed. note: She also has more followers @elysiamann than our own @davisshaver.)

She’s also one of the four finalists in the Marie Claire Front Row Challenge in the nation, which is an incredibly prestigious honor. She is up against three other girls from the University of Alabama, University of Delaware, and University of Texas. She was also the first of the four girls to hold their fashion show.

For the past four months, she’s been working hard to put together a fashion show that was presented on Thursday night at SOZO.

The idea for this contest came when editor-in-chief Joanna Coles and fashion director Nina Garcia had a conversation about college students and their style.  It was this conversation that sparked the idea to bring Fashion Week to college campuses, and thus the first “College Fashion Week” was born.

For Elysia, the process began in July. Onward State even mentioned her back in this article, when news of the contest first came out. The process lasted until Thursday night, when she presented her fashion show to the community. When she first found out she was in the top four, she didn’t realize how big this was going to get, but was glad that she was picked.

Before the show, Elysia and I had sat down for coffee together, and she told me about how excited she was about the show, and what it took to prepare everything.

She had been involved with the competition since day one. She had to produce the show, scout for models, cast models, go through fittings with the models, have multiple run-throughs of the show to make sure everything was perfect, sit in on various meetings, and search for the perfect venue for her show.

In the month leading up to the show, she used social media to her advantage. She put up flyers everywhere, had press interviews, wrote about it on her blog, tweeted it out to the world, and had her friends spread the word as well. At first she didn’t realize how big it was actually going to be, and how the production was going to take over her semester and become a full-time job. She told me that it was great to get hands-on experience running a show, and that it was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience.

As for the show, she had to find 14 models that could be dressed in 14 different looks. For this, she networked heavily. Valley Magazine really helped her out with this. She asked girls who had done spreads with the magazine, and asked them to ask their friends if they could model. It took her a month to find the models. She even went to the streets and asked girls if they could model. Once she found all of her models, a few had to drop out and she had to have a lot of backups.

“All of the girls are students, and none of them are professional models. But they’re all stunning and tall and awesome! They’re going to be really good in the show, and their enthusiasm has been really helpful.”

She sent her models pictures that she took from Fashion Week to help them out for the show. In fact, the girls were just as excited as her when it came down to the final day.

Styling the looks also took a lot of time. For this, she put herself in the looks, but also thought about what she had seen in State College. All of the looks found at the show will be available at the State College LOFT, so they will be readily accessible to those who want to have that “fresh off the runway look.”

To get people hyped up for the show, she networked like crazy. She told me that knowing a lot of the store owners in State College really helped, because she was able to hang flyers and have them spread the word to their customers so people were informed about what was going to take place.

There was a technical aspect to the show as well. A production company was hired to transform SOZO into a professional and fun venue. She dealt more with the actual set-up of how the show was going to run, as well as the “fun stuff,” as she called it, but physical labor was hired to put together the big parts of the show, like seating, the runway, lighting, etc. She used Project Runway as an inspiration for the production.

Elysia thought that the State College community would really benefit from having the show. It gave them a chance to see something that they wouldn’t necessarily see on a regular day, and that it would bring excitement to the area. She told me that it was also a good way for the students to really get to see the fashion at LOFT, which has become much trendier over the years.

She was very excited to put on the show, and she said that she doesn’t feel any different than any other day, just because this has been her project for four months. After the show, she’ll feel relieved, but a little disappointed because she won’t be working with it anymore, but also very satisfied.

“Everyone involved is so easy to work with, and bubbly, and it makes a lot easier [to work with]. The Marie Claire ladies are awesome, and the LOFT people are so fun. It just feels like hanging out with friends…and there’s not as much pressure.”

The show itself was well-put together. Fourteen girls strutted their stuff on the catwalk, with clothes from LOFT and makeup done by Rimmel London. The trends for this upcoming winter season are very season-appropriate, and will definitely keep people warm in the ever-changing State College climate. The trends ranged from lots of faux fur, to tiny elements of shimmer and sparkle, as well as more of a 70s feel with bell-bottom jeans, earthy tones, cords, tweed skirts, and sweater ponchos. Overall, the collection really had a vintage-y feel to it.

At the end of the show, Elysia said that the girls were powerhouses walking down the runway. They had practiced many times, and they pleasantly surprised her. Overall, she was happy with how everything turned out.

For the State College community, she left me with this piece of advice:

“Dress like you own [anything]. Take risks, dress like you live in NYC, and save your Uggs for when you really need them.”

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About the Author

Meghin Moore

Meghin is a senior majoring in Broadcast Journalism and minoring in English. She transferred from the Harrisburg campus as a junior to finish out her schooling at University Park. She has a passion for all things music, fashion, art, and food. She's a Pennsylvania native (born outside of Pittsburgh, and lived in Lebanon for 11 years), but resides in Virginia when she's not in school, and has moved a total of ten times in her life, mostly thanks to the military.

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