UConn Project Fashion showcased local designers at third-ever pop-up shop

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A photo of a transaction happening at the UConn Project Fashion pop-up shop. The pop-up shop featured local designers such as as Toad and SKRS Worldwide. The Daily Campus / Maggie Chafouleas

A photo of a transaction happening at the UConn Project Fashion pop-up shop. The pop-up shop featured local designers such as as Toad and SKRS Worldwide.The Daily Campus / Maggie Chafouleas

Fashion devotees exchanged their love for style as well as design at the University of Connecticut’s Project Fashion Club Wednesday night, featuring a handful of fashion designers, collectors and impassioned wearers. 

Vendors included both UConn students and alumni as well as individual business owners, and the club used the space to show the value of being involved in the distribution of vintage clothing, custom pieces and accessories to students and faculty.  

Will Garay, a second-semester marketing major, shared his love of fashion and creation at the pop-up with his fashion brand Toad. Garay air-brushes, screen-prints and paints all of his pieces by hand and believes that authenticity is important when it comes to the artistic side of fashion.  

“Every single thing here is touched by my hands. Nothing is ordered online. Money is cool, but it’s the art and culture that I really like,” Garay said.  

Ryan Sutherland also showcased his fashion brand SKRS Worldwide, which is geared towards racing themes and luxury-car aesthetics — an oxymoron of his company’s mantra, “Speed kills, ride slow.” 

“Life is a journey, and that’s pretty much what I put into every design. With the journey, it has ups and downs. There’s always bumps in your road,” Sutherland said. “Either you rush through your journey — you may miss some experiences and get to your destination quicker — but you may not be exactly where you want to be.” 

John Bertenshaw, president of Project Fashion, said that although this event aims to fund their organization, the bigger picture is to support local businesses and artists from Connecticut.  

“This event acts as a fundraiser for our organization which allows us to host events just like this one. It also serves to promote and assist smaller businesses and organizations just beginning to sell product,” Bertenshaw said. “Hearing from individuals that they were happily surprised by what our vendors had to offer is always a benefit of bringing in various companies and products.” 

Bertenshaw said UConn Project Fashion Club’s purpose is to help create a space for students to express themselves and enjoy their love of fashion, which was exactly the tone of the night.  

“Fashion is self-expression. It’s your ideas. It’s the first thing people notice about you,” Garay said. “People judge you a lot for what you wear, so why not wear the flyest shit you can?”  

Students can view Garay and Sutherland’s work on instagram @toad.bpt and @skrsworldwide_

UConn Project Fashion Club meets every other week in ITE room 127 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Individuals are welcomed to attend, and can reach out through social media @uconnpf on Instagram or by email at uconnfashion@gmail.com


Caroline LeCour is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at caroline.lecour@uconn.edu.

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