On Friday, Cornellians interested in fashion and design will crowd Milstein Hall for a sold-out fashion gala, featuring an interactive sensory exhibition, fashion show and networking event.
Cornell Fashion Collective and Cornell Fashion Industry Network partnered up to put together the event, forming a synergy to provide both industry networking opportunities and immersive creative experiences for the guests.
“CFC has an emphasis on the creative process and runway experience, whereas CFIN deals more so on industry professionals and networking,” said CFC President Devin Schneider ’23. “We thought it would be really beneficial to hold an event for both our organizations.”
Titled “sensate,” the event is themed around different senses. Milstein Hall’s distinct architecture sparked the inspiration behind the theme according to Anna Paaske, creative director at CFC.
“When we first thought about the theme, we were thinking about the venue itself… Milstein can seem like an isolation chamber at times,” Paaske said. “So, at first, we were going to talk about sensory deprivation or sensory isolation as a theme, but we thought that was a little bit too creepy, almost. We wanted to find a way to bring in the feeling of senses into the theme, so that is how we got to the theme of sensate.”
According to Sarah Kim, vice president of finance and operations at CFC, CU Tonight, the University’s student-driven funding commission, is sponsoring the event — allowing it to be free of charge for all attendees.
Nine designers, composed of upperclassmen, were selected to showcase their work at the runway show — Beckett Fine ’24 is one of them.
“It is always an amazing feeling getting to present your work and having people see it,” Fine said. “I think it is a really interesting theme.”
Fine shared his passion for fabrics, emphasizing the sense of touch and designing intentional pieces with sustainability in mind. With his collection for this runway, Fine took on a vintage route, upcycling Cornell vintage gears; he thrifted a 1965 Cornell wool varsity jacket to create pants and reworked Cornell vintage athletic jerseys into a dress.
“I am really sensitive [to] touch. Some fabric just feels awful to me, and I cannot use them at all. And others, I use them more often just because [of] the way that they feel in my hands,” Fine said. “I am big on sustainability and reworking these fabrics. Hopefully, that comes across.”
According to Schneider, CFC’s main goal is to put on an entirely student-run fashion show that welcomes any Cornellian with interest in fashion and design to be a part of the broader fashion world and express creativity.
“There are a lot of organizations at Cornell that have high barriers to entry, and I did not want that,” Schneider said. “This year, I was adamant that anyone who wanted to join could join. The designers do not have to be fashion majors in order to design, and, in fact, a lot of them are not [fashion majors].”
CFIN serves a slightly different purpose. The organization focuses on fostering professional relationships and growth within the fashion realm, according to CFIN President Presley Church.
“[CFIN] serves as Cornell’s link between students and alumni in the fashion industry,” Church wrote in an email to The Sun. “We host professional development workshops and mentorship programs to facilitate meaningful connections within our network.”
The Milstein event also serves as a teaser to the upcoming main shows, which each organization hosts individually.
“We use this event as a trial run for both of our larger events,” Schneider said. “CFIN has their gala on Nov. 19, and then we have our main show, which will be happening on March 11.”
Church urged all attendees to walk into the event on Friday with a mindset to engage and immerse.
“The audience should come to this sold out event ready to engage,” Church wrote. “We encourage them to ask questions about the creative process, participate in interactive elements, and immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, smells, feels and tastes of sensate.”