Business & Tech, Features

Fashion & Retail Association rebrands, becomes more inclusive

When Cecilia Muñiz, Sofia Hudzik and Reeya Mathur assumed leadership positions this Fall in Boston University’s Fashion & Retail Association, they knew something had to change: inclusivity.

In the past, the club’s logo was pink and overtly feminine, which deterred non-female members from joining the club, said Hudzik, a junior in the College of Communication and the club’s vice president of marketing.

This semester, the three changed the colors of the club’s original logo — from pink to blue and purple — in an effort to make it more inclusive. 

Boston University Fashion and Retail Association’s Instagram page. F&R has made strides to become more inclusive to all BU students through the rebranding and restructuring of the club. MOLLY POTTER/ DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

“The blue and purple are supposed to represent being gender neutral, but also the ombre of the logo itself is supposed to express freedom of creativity and just that we’re always changing, we’re always evolving,” said Mathur, a junior in COM and the vice president of operations.

And so, F&R began the process of rebranding.

“The club was established in 2004, and when it was established, it was very girly and feminine and just very based around females and women,” Mathur said. “And fashion, it’s a gender neutral thing.” 

Hudzik spearheaded the rebranding process. 

“With how much of a presence fashion has had online, I think a lot of people have just been way more into expressing themselves and really playing with fashion and seeing how they can make it most true to themselves,” Hudzik said. 

The rebranding not only includes outward aesthetic changes but also internal restructuring. The club’s executive board is now organized into teams, including an event planning team, a content creation team, a social media team, a website team and more.

Molly Newell, F&R’s co-director of content creation and a sophomore in COM, said the club has already begun to see the impacts of the rebranding this year. She said the club’s number of registered members has grown, as well as its social media engagement. 

“Our members are already more diverse and we’re already getting more professional opportunities,” Newell said. “It’s so interesting how just a switch of your values and how you brand yourself can immediately change the people that join.”

Mathur noted that the club’s E-Board now has two male members: Alex Ye, the treasurer, and Jonny Lee, the content creation graphic designer. Previously, the club’s E-Board lacked male representation, Mathur said.

“I feel like fashion in general has a very … targeted reach towards women because women’s fashion is huge,” said Lee, a junior in Questrom School of Business. “Just because fashion’s reach is geared more towards women in general, it’s still a little bit slow in my eyes. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think that because we’re changing now, it’s set up for the future.”

F&R describes itself as “BU’s only organization committed to connecting students to the competitive fashion and retail industry,” according to its club description.

For its members, the club provides a weekly newsletter with a variety of internship opportunities within the fashion and retail industries. 

“I think a lot of people struggle to conceptualize how many different routes you can go because you can do anything you want in fashion, no matter what your skills are or interests,” Hudzik said. 

Along with the newsletter, F&R holds a professional panel each fall, which highlights professionals from large retailers. The club also hosts a guest speaker series throughout the year, as well as sessions for LinkedIn development, resume building and professional headshots. 

F&R’s signature event is its annual fashion show, which is put on at the end of every Spring semester. Last year’s show, which was held in the Metcalf Trustee Center, featured a gardenia theme and included catered food and beverages, gift bags and a brand showcase. 

“It’s focused a lot on student designing. Every piece that enters the runway is designed by a student and every model is a BU student,” said Muñiz, a junior in COM and F&R’s president. “It gives opportunities for everyone.”

The club has also been partnering with retailers in Boston. They recently hosted an event with Vintage Underground on Commonwealth Avenue. This fall, students can also look forward to  shopping events with Beacon Hill vintage store Vico Style and Diesel on Newbury Street. 

“We want to give a comfortable environment for people to express their creativity in all types of ways,” Muñiz said. “Just make it a welcoming place for everyone, no matter what your background is or what your interests are.”

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