Project Fashion showcases socially conscious student and local vendor work

 Danny Bean holds up a shirt from his brand "Collective" at the pop up shop hosted by the Fashion club this Saturday, March 25. (Kobe Amos/The Daily Campus)

Danny Bean holds up a shirt from his brand "Collective" at the pop up shop hosted by the Fashion club this Saturday, March 25. (Kobe Amos/The Daily Campus)

Project Fashion, the University of Connecticut’s only on-campus fashion club, hosted its first pop-up show late on Saturday night in the student union. The small event featured both students’ and local businesses’ products including clothing, jewelry and footwear.

“We put together this pop-up show to not only showcase our style but also other stylists and artists on campus and also off-campus within Connecticut because we are a state-school,” Almeena Shaikh, eighth-semester anthropology major and Project Fashion’s treasurer, said.

In addition to organizing the event, Project Fashion had a table of their own where they sold consignment items. These items were collected from their members’ own closets in an effort to raise money for their organization and display their styles.

The fashion featured in the show ranged from hand-painted character jerseys to a modern take on vintage outdoors wear to Pan-African inspired streetwear. More impressive than the clothing itself, though, was often the motivation behind the work.

Kinfolk, a conscious Pan-African clothing brand, creates hats, shirts and hoodies that are socially and politically relevant. Nefta Castell, owner and founder of Kinfolk Klothing, spoke about the importance of raising awareness through their products.

Specifically, Castell spoke about their “black panther party” hoodie and how it relates to the group’s mission. “The original black panther party movement that was in the 60s got the wrong press. They don’t get enough credit for the things they did so I thought I’d try to raise awareness through my brand and give them a voice through the clothing,” Castell said.

Tosin Adeniyi, an eighth-semester business management information systems major, also is conscious of her clothing brand. Adeniyi makes custom-made sustainable fashion by reusing materials found at thrift stores.

“There’s so much fast fashion in the world like at H&M you can get a two dollar or five dollar shirt which is great for the bank, but you should think about what’s behind it: all of the working conditions that have to be achieved in order to get that price, the sweatshops and little pay for children and stuff like that,” Adeniyi said. These handmade pieces, while more expensive, actually last longer than cheaper alternatives that are ultimately discarded in landfills.

Jose Angel Ortiz Jr., a sixth-semester graphic design major, combines his background with his interest in fashion to create work that is true to him. Being from a lower socioeconomic class, Ortiz explained that he didn’t have a lot growing up and so he paid more attention to the his clothing.

His experimental t-shirt label Manual consists of hand-made shirts that reflect his experience working with his hands. Through his work, he tries to “pay homage to his upbringing and roots,” Ortiz said.

Project Fashion’s first pop-up show was a great way to showcase not only young talent but also progressive minds that will play a hand in shaping the fashion industry in small but valuable ways.  


Alex Taylor is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at alexis.taylor@uconn.edu.