Katrina Cherk is a graduating senior this year. She founded the first ever international FIDM Fashion Club, at the Shanghai American School Pudong Campus!
Tell us how you heard about Fashion Club: Through online research, I found the FIDM Fashion Club website and signed up. It was a nerve-racking process because I needed permission, as an international branch. There were many emails exchanged with the question of international branches for this national foundation of fashion clubs under FIDM. The majority of students in Shanghai American School are American nationalities, thus we were granted permission to start our FIDM club, and have access to exclusive opportunities, different from past fashion clubs in our high school.
How did you decide to start a club? Ever since my summer programs that involved experiencing different aspects of fashion, I enjoyed them so much that I considered and decided to host a fashion club in this international school in Shanghai, China. I had a very passionate heart for fashion and the process of making it, thus I wanted to share my experiences with my classmates who also had some interest and wanted to learn. After the approval of FIDM as the first international branch of the fashion clubs, I raised awareness about this club to my other classmates, and our first exec team with six members started. We conversed with the faculty in our school, got permission from the principal and activities director as an official school club, and our club advisor went along the process. Members started to come in as we advertised to our fellow classmates and friends around our high school, starting with a strong team of 20 members and lasting for two years now.
Would you recommend other international schools to start a Fashion Club? One of the biggest perks of having a Fashion Club sponsored by FIDM is you get invited to attend the annual FIDM DEBUT Runway Show in the spring, in Los Angeles. I had the privilege to attend it during the first year of our SAS Pudong Fashion Club and I had a blast. The lights, music, and runway were all stunning. After an inspiring show, I couldn’t wait to tell my fellow members about it and we are also so excited for the next ones!
Tell us about the Shanghai fashion scene: Shanghai is still fairly new at their Shanghai Fashion Weeks; however, I am confident that the boom of lights, colors and models walking on runways will not cease to surprise the audience with more flare and flash in the near future. Fashion has become much more prominent over the years, and the way people dress is the way they may lead in a diverse city such as Shanghai. Though we are not as highly developed with the fashion technology as it is in New York or Japan, but we are a rising star and no doubt will we conquer with large improvement in the near future. Wait up ‘cause we’re coming!
Tell us about your fashion show: We hosted our first Transformation Charity Fashion Show on April 28, 2017! We had two parts—an altered piece using recycled clothing and a chosen fabric, and the second part being a monochromatic piece that used recycled clothing from either our own closet or our drama team’s old costumes and having an assigned color to create a one monochromatic look for the runway. We asked our classmates and other people from other clubs (such as The Lens for photography) to be our photographers and videographers, shooting at different angles of the runway. Our school performing arts director and his set crew were the ones who helped us turn the venue into a runway, and though there were other events going on at the same day (they could not make it to the show), we had a talented classmate/friend who helped with the lighting in just a couple switches. Finally, after several rehearsal times with the hard work of every member including designers, models, photographers, videographers and a technician, we made the show so successful, there were more than expected people attending, including our high school principal and other admins. We had a bubble tea fundraiser, from one of our exec member’s parents, and raised more than ¥800 for a charity foundation for orphanage care called WILL Foundation. Our achievements for this year have paid off from all the hard work we did throughout.
How did you promote it? Our first move was to post a short little post onto the morning announcement page on our school website. Then we started using Facebook events, and also uploading pictures and posts onto our own weekly website. We printed posters and handed out tickets throughout the school. We also sent out VIP tickets to important people in school and out of school which also helped our publicity. Finally, we carried our news with our mouths and spoke out to everyone who was interested. It took about a month before to gather the numbers and know how many people were expected to attend.
How many looks? We had 10 looks in total, five altered and five monochromatic. We used clothes from our own wardrobes and we borrowed costumes from the drama department.
What did you like the most about putting together a show like this? I loved the way we all collaborated. We put different ideas together to make the show fabulous. It was the progress that allowed me to really cherish the moments when putting together the show and finishing it with an applaud finale. I am very proud of everyone working together to make this happen.
What were the challenges? Time commitment and communication. Once something slows, the whole process slows and it is very hard to catch up. We also had a lot of members dropping out at the last minute because of time constraints, thus we had challenges of losing count of members and not planning the final show as well as expected. However, these things are to be kept in mind for future reference and we will for sure improve on what we already have.
Visit Shanghai American School Pudong FIDM Fashion Club at fidmsaspd.weebly.com.