Fashion Pop-up Shop Teaches Students Real-World Skills While Benefiting a Local Charity

This year’s event supports the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter.

With Destiny’s Child and other turn-of-the-millennium artists blasting in the Kanbar Performance Space, fashion merchandising and management students sold their original clothing designs and accessories while gaining real-world experience.

Net proceeds from the Nov. 29 event on East Falls Campus, titled “Love and Y2K,” benefited the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter. The fashion program selected this charity because of student Isabel Prentice’s ties to the disease.

This past summer, a TikTok video of Prentice showing her father the tattoo she got after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis went viral. Jefferson faculty members and fellow students sought to help her on a mission to draw attention to the challenges faced by those with the disease and their caregivers.

Scenes from the pop-up shop
Isabal Prentice (left) got a tattoo in her father’s honor after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Money raised at the pop-up shop went to the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter. Prentice is pictured here with Julie DiMemmo, the organization’s development manager. (Photos by Steve Belkowitz)

“I want people to see that those with Alzheimer’s have stories to tell about their lives before a disease takes their pasts away from them,” says Prentice, who was inspired to study fashion because of her father’s career in the field. “I hope that more people will understand the severity of the disease and that it doesn’t just affect your grandparents. It could be your parents. It could be anybody. It’s a horrible disease for which there’s currently no cure, but I hope to help raise money to support those working hard to find a solution.” (Watch more of a Prentice’s story on CBS News Philadelphia.)

To support the cause, eight student teams sold early 2000s-influenced merchandise, including bedazzled denim jackets, sport-jersey skirts, belts and necklaces, ranging from $15 to $40. Students at all levels of the fashion merchandising and management program worked together to put on the event.

Freshmen in the Global Fashion Insights course created the products. Sophomores in Retail Strategies and Structures ran the shops, developed the overall trend, theme and marketing, ran social media and monitored sales for potential markdowns. Juniors and seniors in Visual Merchandising created window displays around campus to promote the pop-up and executed the event display in Kanbar.

Scenes from the pop-up shop
Debbie Gee, Brynn Hurley and Josh Bachrach (l-r) sold belts that could be decorated with charms and chains.

“This project immerses students into the multidisciplinary dynamic of working within the fashion industry,” says Dr. Juliana Guglielmi, fashion merchandising and management assistant professor. “Students learn how to work productively and efficiently to meet deadlines, understand the importance of communication across cross-functional teams and how all groups work to come together for a common goal.”

For example, the UNLMTD team of Joshua Bachrach, Debbie Gee and Brynn Hurley sold customizable belts that fit any size waist and could be decorated with chains and charms.

“As a group, we learned how to work together in different roles to create the most successful version of our ideas and produce a functioning pop-up shop,” Bachrach says.

Scenes from the pop-up shop
Eight teams of fashion merchandising and management students collaborated to put together the Nov. 29 pop-up shop in the Kanbar Performance Space.

Gee says she gained valuable intel on how to market and effectively pitch the team’s products.

“Interacting directly with customers allowed me to understand their preferences, tastes and needs,” she says. “I noticed which products attracted the most attention and used that to gather information about popular styles or trends.”

The project strengthened Hurley’s time management skills and helped her learn more about the business and fashion worlds.

“I feel confident in creating things I never knew existed before, such as tech packs and time and action calendars,” she says. “Overall, this was such a great educational and professional experience.”

Scenes from the pop-up shop
Student entrepreneur Luke McCusker sold his “Saturn 6ix” hoodies at the pop-up shop.

Along with the fashion merchandising and management teams, seven student entrepreneurs sold their merchandise at the pop-up shop as well. For Luke McCusker, the event marked the first time he could present and sell his “Saturn 6ix” hoodies to a wider audience.

When the event wrapped up, gross sales totaled $5,600, with all net proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter, which had an info booth set up at the pop-up. The money raised will support the organization’s advocacy and research efforts, helpline, educational programming and more, says Julie DiMemmo, development manager. “We’re so honored.”

See more scenes from the fashion merchandising and management pop-up shop below.

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Business, Design and Style