Working to enhance the future of fashion, the Aggie Fashion Club at NMSU locked in a partnership this year with the National Retail Federation that will expand its platform for students. NRF is a retail trade association that provides people opportunities to get in contact with big fashion retail organizations.
For over 30 years, Aggie Fashion Club has been an organization in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences that connects students with professionals in the fashion industry outside the classroom.
Kelley Coffeen, an assistant college professor in Family and Consumer Sciences and co-advisor of Aggie Fashion Club, said the partnership with NRF offers students access to the fashion industry in areas including merchandising, accounting, supply management, and more.
“Las Cruces and New Mexico State could be seen as a little isolated in being able to connect to the fashion industry,” Coffeen said, “and this has really given us the opportunity to give our students in contact with professionals at big fashion retail organizations such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, Petco., Home Depot; lots of different retail organizations across the United States.”
There is also room for growth for students studying in the College of Business, she added.
“It’s a huge industry. Online retailing, e-commerce, supply chain management, creativity, and design: it is all interconnected in the fashion industry, but it does not mean you have to be a fashion major,” Coffeen said, “It just means that you have a passion or interested in the industry and that is where the NRF can bring us all together.”
Lara Alvarez, a senior at NMSU, was selected to be the first NRF student ambassador at the university. She’s completing her degree in fashion merchandising and design, with a minor in business administration and marketing. Being selected for this role, Alvarez said it’s her job to encourage students to join the organization, provide information, and get them involved with seeking internships and job opportunities through NRF.
“It’s a whole program. It’s not only for internships and full-time jobs, but also to grow and just know about the retail industry,” Alvarez said. “I felt very proud of myself. I was so nervous at first. It’s a lot of responsibility, because I am the first student ambassador, but I’m trying to make the best out of it.”
Coffeen added Alvarez has been one of the top students in the program, which was why she was selected for this role. “We’ve really seen growth in her professionalism, her leadership abilities, and she has a passion for the industry,” she said, “We know that she is going to do some really great things and she is a student who can really reach out to others and bring them in. She just has a nice way of befriending others and communicating. She’s also bilingual and we think that’s important.”
Members of the Aggie Fashion Club said the organization has been slowly growing though the years. However, their goal is to reach new levels of engagement.
“Our main goal is to grow and bring more students in – not only fashion majors, but also business majors and marketing majors,” Alvarez said. “We also want to inform everyone on campus that this program (NRF) is already paid for by the Aggie Fashion Club, which is a great opportunity for everyone to take advantage of, because it’s free for every NMSU student.”
“We want people from across campus. We want students from the local high schools to get involved with us and we want to bring them in. Anyone that’s interested in clothing, accessories, shoes, design or retail, we really think that they will find a home here with us,” Coffeen said.
Aggie Fashion Club plans to host a fundraiser and an upcycle fashion show in early April.
Author: Tatiana Favela