Things just got more fashionable at NIU.
From up-to-date business casual styles to current fall trends, visitors to Wirtz Hall will be inspired by the window displays that have been decorated in a “Fall in Love with Fashion” theme.
“In the Fashion Merchandising field, Visual Merchandising is a popular career choice upon graduation,” said MaryAnn Lorenz, assistant professor of Fashion Merchandising in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences. “Aside from working in a retail store, a student would not get the opportunity to create visual displays other than the college experience.”
The window displays are the work of students from the Fashion Industries Organization (FIO), the student-run group for the Fashion Merchandising program, although students from any major are welcome to join.
“FIO provides members with professional development opportunities that aren’t available in a typical classroom setting,” said senior and FIO president, Drew Randazzo. “Besides seasonal window displays, we have experiential field trips, our annual spring fashion show and more.”
Randazzo, who is studying both marketing and fashion merchandising, said FIO members couldn’t wait to take on the window displays, especially after doing most things virtually last year.
“I am thrilled to be back on campus and to have the ability to collaborate with my peers on creative projects such as the fall window display,” Randazzo said. “These opportunities provide great talking points for networking events and interviews as well as content for resumes and digital portfolios.”
With a theme of “Fall in Love with Fashion,” students selected denim and khaki along with fall-inspired colors that convey a sense of style.
“We intentionally selected basic pieces to style the mannequins for viewers to see how they can style pieces they likely already have in their wardrobe,” Randazzo said. “I hope that visitors to Wirtz Hall are inspired by the final installation to prepare their wardrobe for the fall season.”
Lorenz said along with inspiring visitors, the window installation affords students critical experience that helps them to be career-ready upon graduation.
“These are important skills,” Lorenz said. “Along with practical experience, students are collaborating with each other, gaining experience in teamwork, taking a concept to execution and gaining a solid understanding of how visual merchandising works.”
Randazzo, agreed, adding that FIO has provided her with professional development opportunities.
“Not only have I gained hands-on experience, but I’ve also achieved personal growth in my self-confidence, delegation skills and time-management,” Randazzo said. “I couldn’t be more thankful for the experience and knowledge that I’ve gained as both a member and executive board member in Fashion Industries Organization.”