Through the streetwear-themed event, students developed real-world skills and raised money for charity.
Jefferson’s annual holiday pop-up shop took on special significance this year. The Nov. 17 event curated and presented by fashion merchandising and management (FMM) students honored the late Karigen Emig. The recent FMM alumna passed away this summer, shortly after graduating.
“It makes me smile just thinking of her,” says Juliana Guglielmi, FMM assistant professor. “Her style was so different. Karigen was such a trend-setter. She was obsessed with street style before it became a thing. We wanted to celebrate her love of fashion streetwear at the pop-up shop.”
At the event in the Kanbar Performance Space, named “Karigen the Ikonik,” some 100 FMM students came together to honor Emig’s legacy and raised over $2,000 in sales and donations. Proceeds will be donated to Emig’s charity of choice, the Children’s Miracle Network, in her name.
In the process, students from three FMM classes developed valuable real-world skills as they handled all the merchandising, marketing, production and design duties, says Guglielmi, who teaches the courses with Camille Avent, FMM visiting lecturer. They also gained a holistic understanding of trend forecasting, sourcing materials and more.
In small teams, freshmen in the Global Fashion Insight course sold streetwear items like T-shirts, blazers, tote bags, sweatshirts and jewelry, ranging from $8 to $30.
“This class is all about the development of a product from concept to consumer,” Avent says. “It’s a crash course in the industry where they learn about the entire global value chain.”
Students from the Retail Strategy and Structure class followed the trends and developed the marketing around street style for the pop-up, Guglielmi says. Following consumer behavior, demographics and psychographics, they aimed to make the products saleable to the intended customer—in this case, predominately fellow students.
“Gender neutrality is common in streetwear,” Guglielmi notes. “We wanted to make sure our options are adaptable for any sexual or gender identity, so students kept this in mind with color, sizing and styles.”
Those in the Visual Merchandising course developed the pricing based on the cost to make the items and the realistic amount consumers would pay for them. If a product seemed slow to sell, these students would assist with markdowns. They also created the store experience, strategically mapping out where the booths went and ensuring each setup had the proper flow.
Before the pop-up, students from all three classes presented their products and ideas to a panel of Jefferson alumni and industry experts who provided constructive feedback. They quizzed students on their knowledge of the product development process, understanding of production costing principles and retail pricing, creation of marketing strategies, professional presentation and collaborative teamwork.
Beyond learning real-world skills, the pop-up allowed many students to boost their entrepreneurial savvy and confidence with their businesses, Avent says.
Among them is FMM student Eliana Prado. She launched Eli’s Boutique, an online clothing store, in June 2020. There, she sells items like shirts, jeans, pants, jackets, sweaters, totes, jewelry and purses—a small selection she brought to the pop-up.
“It always has been a drive of mine to have my own boutique,” Prado says. “I was excited to do the pop-up.”
With experiences like this, the junior hopes to open a brick-and-mortar store in Philly by graduation. If all goes well, she plans to expand to New York City and the West Coast.
FMM student Selena Diniz-Trombetto also sold some pieces from her online boutique at the pop-up. Formally an engineering student, the junior concentrating in Buying specializes in thrifting and upcycling clothing.
“It’s something I’ve always done on the side, but after switching my major, I’ve taken it more seriously,” she explains. “One of my biggest goals is to have my own line. I love the idea of taking sustainable routes with clothing and taking something that people see as old and making it new again.”
Emig’s family and friends, including Julia Wazeter, attended the pop-up, which sold out of merchandise in two hours. Now an assistant buyer at Ross Stores, the 2021 FMM grad says Emig saw the streetwear aesthetic as a way to express her unique identity.
“Karigen took inspiration from her favorite music artists, high fashion, art and travel,” Wazeter says. “She loved to thrift and was a master of the art of styling, often mixing different colors, textures and patterns to create her own looks. She loved working in the fashion industry and was motivated by how it brings together people from different backgrounds, inspires confidence and creates change in the world. Karigen deeply inspired everyone around her, not only through her great sense of style but also through her positive energy, contagious work ethic and infectious smile.”
See more scenes from the holiday pop-up shop below.