Genesee Community College Fashion Show Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Fashion comes and fashion goes, but the fashion industry featuring dynamic career opportunities is here to stay. There is no better way to illustrate this than by reviewing the exciting Silver Anniversary of Genesee Community College's Fashion Show-looking not only at this year's special celebration, but also at reflections from the past by former students whose careers have been partially shaped by their Fashion Show experience.

Under the theme "Once Upon a Time," fashion magic will once again sashay across the stage on Saturday, April 29, 2006 at the Batavia Campus of Genesee Community College. Students are currently hard at work pulling together the countless details to coordinate the largest, longest-running and most successful fashion show in upstate New York. To accommodate the sell-out, standing room only crowds, planners are again scheduling two shows-at 3:00 and 7:00 PM.

The fast-paced, professionally staged event will feature approximately ten separate scenes this year including a military and international scene. Working in teams, Genesee's Fashion Merchandising Management students are currently studying a wide range of designers and styles. They have begun coordinating nearly 100 volunteer models of all ages, lining up contributions of garments and accessories by scores of merchants from three cities, experimenting with different mood music, and ensuring that thousands of "back of house" details are in order for another stellar success.

This special 25th Anniversary Show is also expanding the tradition of involving the breadth of Genesee's campus community. While students in Professor Rick Dudkowski's Fashion Merchandising Management class are the central creative force for the event, other departments contribute handily. Design and digital arts students create a selection of the Fashion Show posters with an identifying brand. This effort then goes before the Fashion Merchandising students who democratically cast their vote to determine their Show's "brand" or visual identity.

And, for the first time, the College's first and second year Tourism and Hospitality Management students are also contributing their expertise. Students enrolled in the Event Planning course will be responsible for the "hospitality" at the show including food and beverages at the reception following both shows, decorations coinciding with the "Once Upon a Time" theme, soliciting donations for raffles, helping to secure patrons and sponsors, designing the event's floor plan and traffic flow, negotiating contracts with caterers and suppliers, as well as greeting and seating guests.

"The students are very excited about sharing their knowledge and event planning skills with a large audience and for such a significant occasion," Amy Bowles, instructor of Genesee's Tourism and Hospitality Management course said. "Partnerships are key in the tourism and hospitality industry and this is an excellent example of a logical partnership."

They will also work with students from Genesee's Criminal Justice program and help coordinate the extra security and safety personnel for the event.

"The Fashion Show really is a college-wide event and opportunity," Dudkowski said. "Students who are friends and even girlfriends or boyfriends of my Fashion Merchandising students participate by being models, selling tickets, and helping with the thousand little 'back of house' details. This contributes to overall success in no small way. Each year, I am just amazed at how effectively students from across campus come together in the spirit not only of fashion, but in creativity and community. It truly is an honor and a great pleasure to be celebrating 25 years of successful fashion shows at Genesee."

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Genesee Fashion Show AlumnusRecalls Her Experience in 1993

VICTOR, New York - Janice (Mitchell) Sherman, now the Marketing Director for Eastview Mall in Victor, NY remembers her Fashion Show in the early nineties with great fondness. Picking up on the popularity of the Lion King at that time, she and her classmates developed a "Fashion Gone Wild" theme with a jungle backdrop and even Tarzan making an appearance. Her boyfriend-who is now her husband, walked the stage donning a contemporary outfit-a memory that still makes Ms. Sherman smile.

She graduated from Genesee's Fashion Merchandising Class in 1993 and found this to be an excellent platform to launch her career in marketing. While she was a Genesee Community College student, she interned with Wilmorite, Inc. who own Eastview Mall. This private real estate investment firm owns, develops, and operates retail real estate, including about 15 shopping malls and two strip centers totaling more than 15 million sq. ft. of space in and around Rochester, New York.

With a keen interest in advertising, Janice graduated from GCC and went on to earn her Bachelor's degree from SUNY Brockport in 1995, and she completed her Master's in Business Management in 2003 from Nazareth College. Throughout her studies, Ms. Sherman has also always worked-whether it was with a customs brokerage firm, Xerox, the Genesee Valley Penny Saver in advertising, or even in her parent's restaurant.

"It was hard when I was first out of college because I was not really interested in just sales or retail. I wanted to focus in the business end using marketing and advertising tools as a part of sales," Ms. Sherman recalled.

The Genesee Fashion Show she helped to coordinate 12 years ago was some of the best hands-on experience she encountered, helping to prepare her for her current marketing management position at Eastview Mall. Besides overseeing and implementing the Mall's advertising campaign which includes television, radio, billboard and direct mail materials, she also handles public relations and develops and produces successful events. Bridal shows, children's and seasonal activities, and the introduction of an occasional celebrity are among her many responsibilities.

"If you've done a Fashion Show with Mr. D-you can do any event," Ms. Sherman stated. "He's very detail oriented and at that time you wonder why all those little items matter, but they do. It prepared me for this job-I know how to plan events."

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Editor's Note: A photograph of Janice Sherman, a resident of LeRoy, is available at the following Internet location: