From denim laptop cases to distressed flannel shirts to beanies, handcrafted merchandise made by teams of fashion merchandising and management students flew out of the bustling Kanbar Performance Space at the annual pop-up shop. In the process, they raised $4,000 for the cancer charity ChemoClothes.
Along with making the apparel, accessories and home decor, the 100-plus students—enrolled in global fashion insight, retail strategy and structure, and visual merchandising courses—organized and styled the pop-up shop, with oversight from faculty members. This year’s theme, “Treasured Nostalgia,” took inspiration from the ’80s and ’90s street culture of Philadelphia.
“This opportunity allows students to witness the value chain of the apparel industry,” said Pielah Kim, assistant professor of fashion merchandising and management at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University). “They experience the entire process to develop the product and distribute it to customers. The project also reflects Jefferson’s Nexus Learning teaching philosophy of active, collaborative, real-world learning.”
In addition to Kim, other Jefferson fashion merchandising and management faculty involved in the pop-up include program director Nioka Wyatt, visiting lecturer Juliana Guglielmi and assistant professor Benjamin Freeman.
The day’s first sellout came just 38 minutes after opening. Customers quickly bought up all 18 crystal stone necklaces from the team Hope Rush, said freshman Sigourney Young, who called opportunity to own and operate a business educational and informative.
“The response was overwhelmingly positive, and I couldn’t have anticipated we’d have such a quick success,” she said. “I’m also glad we could help contribute to ChemoClothes.”
Freshman Jessica Boyle made two different styles of baseball caps with her team, one with the iconic “Love” logo and the other with the Philly skyline. Through the pop-up shop, she said she learned a host of new skills, including calculating manufacturing costs, and wholesale and retail pricing, as well as using Photoshop.
“Our professors taught us how to successfully design, create, promote and sell our own product to our peers and the public,” she said.
Freshman Emily Miller and her team showcased three styles of split T-shirts at the shop. They used locally sourced materials and even sold a handful of tops before the pop-up started.
“We learned so much about teamwork,” she said, noting the experience strengthened their communication skills and immersed them in the retail world. “This project will help prepare us for our future and all the bright designs we have ahead of us.”
Freshman Kealei Light said she has been passionate about her team’s project—a hat that can be modified into a beanie, neck scarf and headband—since the beginning of the semester, thanks in large part to meeting the founder of ChemoClothes in class.
This year’s event raised $4,000 to benefit the South Jersey nonprofit that helps families affected by cancer. To date, nearly $40,000 has been donated to the organization from the University’s pop-up shops.
“This entire experience has been unimaginable—a group of freshmen created and developed a product from scratch,” Light said. “And we can support those who may be going through unbelievable heartache.”
Watch the CBS3 segment on the event below.