Fashion startup fair set to shine Friday

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There was a time when a career in fashion was synonymous with moving to Manhattan, a la “The Devil Wears Prada.” But for those fashionistas who are born-and-raised Californians — who can’t possibly imagine a bleak world without year-round sun and In-N-Out — there’s still hope. It’s 2014, and now, the most exciting innovations in the fashion world are happening right here in the Bay Area.

On Friday, students will have the chance to meet eight fashion innovators at UC Berkeley’s very first fashion startup fair. Hosted by the student organization Fashion And Student Trends, or FAST, the event will be held at Anna Head Alumni Hall, where UC Berkeley students will discover career opportunities in the latest cutting-edge ecommerce platforms and app technology.

The event will host seven fashion startups and one nonprofit, including renowned companies such as Chictopia, Le Tote and Modern Citizen. According to Rachel Lin, FAST’s events coordinator, “these companies are excited to share … their goals and contributions to the fashion industry. Their products and services are very different, just because we’re now living in a very digital world.”

For students who have career ambitions in the fashion industry, the fashion startup fair may be an important networking opportunity, as several of the companies’ CEOs will be present to reach out to the campus. Many of these companies will be looking for summer interns and new hires as they continue to expand.

When asked for advice, Lin offered the following: “Be prepared to tell them who you are and why you want to be a part of the company. Ask the reps what the company is about.”

Even for those who don’t have their hearts set on the fashion-tech world, FAST strongly encourages any student who has a passing interest in fashion to pay a visit.

“I want the fair to be a place to find opportunities,” Lin said. “But I also think of it as an educational or informative event.”

Furthermore, several retail startups will be hosting exclusive sample sales to increase their campus exposure. These retailers include Modern Citizen, Chloe + Isabel and Sasa Designs by the Deaf. Fruit bars will also be provided by KIND Snacks.

Students may electronically send their resumes to fashions[email protected] any time before the fair.

The West Coast has traditionally been second place in American fashion, but UC Berkeley students — with their dedication and constant innovations — may be instrumental in making San Francisco the next fashion capital.

Jason Chen covers fashion. Contact him at [email protected].