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Profile: Fashion and Student Trends (FAST) Club at UCLA

FAST, standing for Fashion and Student Trends, is UCLA’s first and only fashion club. Their goal is to connect people from across campus that are interested in fashion and provide a connection to the fashion industry through events and workshops. Their most exciting event is the annual runway show in May.

I met with Blanka Nakova, a fourth-year economics student with a minor in Italian and President of FAST, and Kat Knight, also a fourth-year environmental science student and Vice President of FAST, to talk about the goals of the club, their opinions on fashion and various ways you can get involved.

Her Campus: Can you tell me more about what FAST is and what the club means to you?

Blanka Nakova: It is a club where people from all majors, from all cultures, from all ethnicities, can come together and work together to organize this show that we have at the end of the year. It is usually in May, and this year it is going to be on May 24 at Pauley Pavilion. There are different aspects to it: student can work in design, as models, in finance, in production, or PR.

Kat Knight: There are a lot of different committees. We have this show in the spring, and that is our main event. Like Blanca said, it is in Pauley Pavilion, so we really have grown a lot. We do a lot of networking event like alumni and career panels, events with different people from the fashion industry in L.A., because UCLA doesn’t have a fashion major and there aren’t a lot of fashion opportunities. So we bridge that gap between students who want to get into fashion and the industry by providing people with different opportunities to get involved whether that is through the show, modeling, designing, experience business planning.

BN: We also work with a lot of brands. We have had events with Reformation, and different brands that come here to do pop up shops. So, you can buy things, network with people who come, and it is all part of the opportunity with FAST. It has existed now for 17 years, and it keeps growing exponentially from year to year. Last year we had around 600 guests at the show, this year we are hoping to have 800 to 1,000. We are going to have guests from UCLA, and we are trying to invite people from LA who are influential in the industry to provide more opportunities for our members.

HC: What are some of the other events FAST is hosting this year and what makes them unique from other campus clubs’ and organizations’ events?

KK: Already we have done a lot, honestly more so far this year than in the entirety last year. We have had different events for shopping, and networking with different companies. With Reformation, we had an event where we went, they set up a discount and also a Q&A area.

BN: Reformation also talked about the environmental aspect of their brand. They are really concerned with empowering their employees and using materials that are environmentally friendly. We are now working to organize an internship workshop with Intern Queen. They are going to do a resume workshop, and someone is going to come in and talk about their previous experiences. In the past we also had a panel with different guests from the industry. We had alumni from UCLA who were bloggers, vloggers and a recruiter to talk about what companies look for in a candidate.

KK: We also do smaller scale stuff, too. We have worked with Lee Georges, a French jewelry company, and have done giveaways with them. We try to mix education with career and internship opportunities, and also with fun and fashion and shopping. In terms of events, it is a wide variety from going to a store and doing Q&A, shopping, or more of a formalized panel. We offer a lot, get a lot of internship and job opportunity postings and pass that along to members as well.

BN: We also sometimes do collaborations with other clubs. This week we did a vintage clothing sale the Paper Mixtape.

HC: Do you believe that fashion plays a big role in women’s empowerment?

BN: I definitely think that is true. Not just for women’s empowerment, but just for boosting anyone’s confidence. When you feel good in whatever it is you are wearing you immediately feel better. Sometimes if I am feeling down, I just dress up, and immediately feel so much better. That is personal for me, but I am sure other people would agree as well. With our club and our show, we also give the opportunity for people to step out on the runway. That feeling alone, even being a designer, you get this rush and it is such an empowering feeling. Fashion alone, even as a concept, gives you a huge boost of confidence.

KK: Yes, women’s empowerment, but also people’s empowerment. One thing we really emphasize too is that we are living in a time with lots of gender fluidity, people having different ways to express themselves, and I think what is really cool about FAST is we have lots of people who don’t fit typical norms. Whether you are a guy who wants to wear heels on the runway, we really love that and it is something that speaks to us as a club. Representing the different backgrounds and experiences people come from, and how people express who they are through their own individual fashion.

BN: Also building off of that, speaking specifically about women’s empowerment, our executive board is composed mostly of women. That is one aspect I would stress because even the three years I have been part of fast, the majority of the executive board has been women which isn’t that commonly seen in clubs here or outside working environments.

KK: What we do see in a contemporary society is that women are not in these management positions, and from an executive board perspective it gives a lot of women the experience in managerial positions. Every executive board member is in charge of overseeing their own committee, in charge of contributing to the club as a whole, and running the structure and organization. We are run by women, and obviously we kick ass.

BN: Now we are both about to graduate and will feel much more confident having had this experience going into the workforce. Now I feel like I can go out and get any job and be able to work as a team to communicate to people what I want with a balance.

KK: Something that has been really cool for me is training the younger women and men and give them advice when it comes to managing a team. It is something hard and something people haven’t had much experience with.

Interested in getting involved? Go to their website: http://www.fastatucla.com or email [email protected].

Alyssa is the Senior Editor of the UCLA Chapter of Her Campus. She is a 4th year Communication Studies major and Film, TV, and Media minor. In her free time, Alyssa loves working out, going to tons of concerts, and binging reality TV episodes. Contact Alyssa via email: [email protected]
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