People attend the Michigan Fashion Media Summit at the Ross School of Business Friday. Madeline Hinkley/Daily. Buy this photo.

The Michigan Fashion Media Summit (MFMS) was held on Friday at the Ross School of Business. The event featured industry-defining keynote conversations, networking opportunities with the world’s largest brands and a student showcase for up-and-coming talent.

The day before, an exclusive launch party was held at UMMA and sponsored by Curateur, a premier shopping membership. The event offered guests complementary Curateur gift bags and the opportunity to get a piercing from HeyRowan.

Prior to the start of the MFMS in April 2018, the University of Michigan had no platform to connect students with career options within the retail industry. MFMS decided to center the summit around inviting the industry’s top talents and brands to show students not only where fashion has been, but where it’s going.

Business senior Caitlin Ramirez, MFMS director of external marketing, said the summit is often confused for a fashion show when it is actually an opportunity to provide students with a connection to the retail industry.

“The University has no real connection to retail (and) there is no retail-focused major,” Ramirez said. “There are clubs on campus, like SHEI, that are fashion-oriented but there wasn’t a connection to fashion professionals or retail professionals. (MFMS) teaches students how business is conducted in retail, media and entertainment. The event gives students various perspectives on how you can conduct business in whatever sector (of the fashion industry) you want to be in.”

The event’s various presentations were divided into a number of categories. The first portion discussed how brands design a fashion launch, the next part broke down the creator economy and the last two presentations focused on the evolution of digital fashion and the Nike x Jordan collaboration. MFMS also invited Adobe for a short seminar on how students can utilize Adobe products in their daily lives. Currently, all U-M students have free access to the Adobe Creative Cloud. 

Alongside the keynote presentations, the summit had tables with representatives from top fashion industry brands such as Louis Vuitton, Steve Madden, Carhartt, Nike, Jordan Brand and more. 

Liz Schatz, talent acquisition specialist for Steve Madden, said she thinks MFMS is a great opportunity for students to meet with brands in person and practice their networking skills.

“Matt Guthartz (president of Steve Madden) was telling me that he was going to be a speaker at this event, and I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to also promote that we are hiring,” Schatz said. “If you’re not someone who is used to networking, this is a great opportunity to just go around and talk to people for five seconds and even just drop off your resume.”

LSA sophomore Alexandra Cooperman, MFMS press relations manager, said the student organization hopes to give students a glimpse into the fashion industry and show an artistic background is unnecessary in the field.

“You could come from pretty much anywhere and get involved in different aspects of the fashion industry,” Cooperman said. “The intersection of business and fashion is what we’re really hoping to educate people about and give great networking opportunities to our students here because there really aren’t that many clubs on campus that are oriented around fashion. MFMS is a great place for professional development and helps students meet many industry leaders.”

The summit closed with Steve Madden’s Fashion Forward Showcase, which highlights five U-M college students who have paved their way in the fashion industry. This year’s Fashion Forward Showcase winner is Lily Bedell. Bedell is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and shared her pieces from her senior thesis project. Ramirez said this showcase was her main point of focus at the summit while visiting the University. 

“We want to recognize the tremendous work done by these students,” Ramirez said. “We also select a winner from the five students and give them a prize. This year, the winning student will be connected with Steve Madden to establish a relationship and use it to further their fashion endeavors.”

Daily Staff Reporter Sejal Patil can be reached at