Verge Campus Boston University and the Fashion and Retail Association came together last Friday to put on the “2017 Boston Breakthrough Artists Showcase,” the first event of its kind that bridged the gap between music and fashion. With a lineup of seven bands and solo artists and two streetwear brands, the Boston Breakthrough had students packed into BU Central to take part in the festivities.
Juliana Roche, vice president of FAB, said that by incorporating streetwear vendors into this music-centered event, it was able to touch on the current trend of musicians creating their own streetwear brands, making the Boston Breakthrough event relevant to modern culture.
“Until the whole street style came into popularity, there was kind of a disconnect between the fashion and music worlds, but now artists will make their own lines or collaborate with different designer brands to bring their musical vision to their bodies, to life,” Roche said.
Apart from having the worlds of music and fashion coming together, Roche said the showcase allowed two different creative outlets to collaborate on a single event, which she said is important for the BU community to see.
“It’s really important just to unite the two clubs as one,” Roche said. “With BU being such a big school, it’s great when you have friendships and connections within your organization, but being able to branch into two different organizations together both with different passions but all revolving around creativity, it’s really interesting to see what product we could create.”
Neelu Mohaghegh, the editor-in-chief of Verge Campus BU, said that Boston Breakthrough exposed the BU community to a music business culture that it didn’t previously have.
“This has been a dream of mine to begin with,” Mohaghegh said. “I’m a junior now, but freshman year, I really wanted to be a part of building a music scene at BU, because I know that BU doesn’t really have a ‘music business’ anything.”
Mohaghegh added that she wanted to bring food, fashion and art to the Boston music scene as a whole.
“LA and New York are the known music scenes,” she said. “Boston has it, and it’s just hidden, we just have to find it. It’s all about our generation of kids who are going to build up that scene, so I wanted to allow my interns in my chapter to have a chance to help that process.”
Though Mohaghegh had the idea to host an event like this since her freshman year, she said she can’t take all of the credit for the work that was put into the show. Alongside their collaboration with FAB, who had hosted similar events in the past, Mohaghegh said that she had “editorialists, marketers and creatives that were all a part of building this.”
She said that editorialists wrote profiles featuring each of the artists performing at the event, then a photographer went out and took photos of them and created other forms of visual content. Other Verge Campus BU members promoted the artists through social mediums such as Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and more, to give the artists more popularity and encourage more students to attend the event.
“There are so many talented people in the city, and I think that people should give them a chance,” Mohaghegh said. “Students in college get engaged in the city. Go out and see these people.”
Through this process, Mohaghegh said that the group was able to create friendships with the artists, noting that she was “really proud of them to see how far they’ve come, and it’s nice to see people loving them, too, and growing with them.”
Evaluating the success of the event, Roche said she believes that the two groups went beyond expectations, in terms of the turnout and quality of the event.
“We certainly hit the mark, numbers-wise, where we hoped to be, and even exceeded it with the turnout of the people there, but the quality of the event is what mattered most to us,” Roche said. “We were really able to achieve that. The seven artists that were featured, they could potentially be breakthrough artists in the future, and I think we carefully selected seven that were all great representations of what is going on in the community and in our school.”
Carmelle Dagmi, a sophomore in BU’s College of Communication, attended the celebration as a member of the Music Business club, which Mohaghegh also started alongside the BU chapter of Verge Campus. There to support her fellow club members and enjoy the event itself, Dagmi said that it could inspire other attendees to enter the music business or fashion scene as well.
“It was just a nice event where people could hear good music and have a good time with their friends,” Dagmi said. “Maybe it even showed some available opportunities for people who might want to get involved in things similar to this event.”
Looking at the showcase as a whole, Mohaghegh said that she never would have imagined that it was possible three years ago as a freshman.
“I never thought I could put this event together, but I’m super passionate about it,” Mohaghegh said. “With passion and with friends, we were able to do it together. If you stay strong and stay dedicated and know what your goal is in the end, you can actually make something that you love happen.”