Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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The Future and Past of Fashion: Thrifted Fashion Show

Elly Herrick
AMA president, Chuck Winch, shows off his undershirt to the panel of judges.

From doing the worm to jumping into a handstand, it’s no secret that the business department knows how to have fun. From judging the appearance of the top, if the belt matches the shoes, to the length of the pants, there was no stone left unturned when showcasing business attire. The thrifted fashion show took place at the Science Laboratory Center on March 21.

This community fashion show event showcased what business casual and business professional looks like for students. The event also took on breaking the misconception that thrifted clothes are not appropriate in a business setting. On posters hung around the Winona State University campus, a QR code was listed for students to sign up to be models wearing their own clothes, thrifted or not, to compete in a fashion show. One of the models, fourth-year student Noelle Mckinney, shared part of the reason why she signed up.

“I’m a pretty social and outgoing person so I don’t really care what people think about me…I remember I was about 10 years old, and my mom was talking to me about how thrift stores were meant for people that had less, or just in general, people that we weren’t like associating ourselves with as a family,” Mckinney said. “Looking back…that wasn’t the right mindset to have. Now I would say probably about half of my closet is thrifted and I think it’s important to break the stigma around being able to go to the thrift store. This is a good way to show that you can find really awesome stuff and you can do it without breaking the bank.”

Waiting for the event to start, students checked in and were excited to show off clothes that were thrifted, from a store, from a friend’s or family’s clothes or just bought off the rack.

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“These are items that I purchased a year and a half ago when I was working at Banana Republic. So, I got them all for like 50% off, which was great… so everything’s Banana Republic except for the shoes, which I did thrift from Goodwill. But other than that, my outfit is not personally thrifted,” Mckinney said.

Dr. Jana Craft is a professor in the Business Administration Department at WSU and originally had the idea with American Marketing Association president, Chuck Winch, to put on a fashion show with a sustainable twist. They then recruited some students to bring the event to life, one of those students being junior transfer student Alyssa Neistadt with a background in event planning and a passion for sustainability.

“I’m a sustainability minor, but there aren’t a lot of sustainability classes offered at Winona State, so you have to be really creative whenever you get a chance to exhibit your interests, to show your passion and to educate others on why it’s so important to be sustainable,” Neistadt said. “I saw this fashion show as an outlet because of the thrifted twist and to educate people on the perils of fast fashion. A lot of people don’t realize the full life of a t-shirt is so much longer when you start with it being grown from cotton to ending up in a landfill.”

For the event, not only did Neistadt organize and plan the event with the help from three other people, but she also prepared a presentation on the life cycle of a shirt and how sustainability can be incorporated into fashion. Neistadt had previously pursued a two-year associate degree at Central Lakes College in her hometown and is now grateful for the opportunity to be part of a university, especially a busy one like WSU. Being a member of the dean’s advisory board, sales team, mock trial, vice president of the business law association, the soccer club and the case study club, Neistadt knows a thing or two about being involved.

“Something that’s really special about being in a university is how involved everyone is on campus. There are clubs who are doing a lot, and we have so many events that I’ve loved being a part of,” Neistadt said. “I just want to experience all of it while I’m here for the next two years.”

Three other professors were on the judging panel, including Jason Kight, who is the associate professor of Business Administration and was newly named the Faculty Athletic Representative. He represented sports business fashion showing off a red pair of Jordans. Another judge was Business Administration professor Marcy Faircloth representing work-appropriate hair styles and dress partnered with a fierce stand on pantyhose and proudly wearing her grandmother’s brooch. The last judge, showing up with a short new hairstyle, was Finance Professor Dr. Yuqian “Jessica” Wang. She represented finding a unique style while also being aware of what is work-appropriate.

During the show, the judges would give scores for each outfit and give extra points for thrifted items. In the end, the results were tallied by two students and given to Dr. Craft and Alyssa Neistadt to announce. The club award was given to the best group, which was the AMA. Chuck Whinch comically accepted the award by putting on the basketball medal he had thrifted for the event. Third place was awarded to Michael Speltz from AMA and was awarded a bee Squishmallow. Second place was awarded a t-shirt and a gift certificate to ZaZa’s and was given to Mirra Swenson from the WSU Case Study club. First place was awarded a free excursion from the Minnesota Marine Art Museum (MMAM) which was given to Favour Oguwole who is also from the WSU Case Study Club.

“I appreciate Dr. Craft’s feedback during this fashion show because she emphasized that it’s not wrong to express your individuality and personality with your business casual clothes. As long as you’re appropriate, there’s a lot of thrifted clothes that can be business casual and business professional,” Neistadt said. “A lot of people feel like they need to fit into the mold, and that applies with fashion and so many other parts of our life, but specifically in fashion, you can still be you and dress professionally with what you have. You can still be worthy and good enough and presentable in what’s in your closet.”

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About the Contributor
Elly Herrick
Elly Herrick, Online Editor
Elly Herrick (She/They) is currently the online/social media editor, business manager, features writer, and photographer. Try saying that five times fast. Herrick also works as the Communications Director on Student Senate, a 2023 Orientation Leader, and was newly added on a Tuesday 7-10p.m timeslot on KQAL. They are also the Social media manager for the WSU Pre-Athletic Training Club. Herrick is from Kenosha, Wisconsin, and is a second-year student at Winona State University studying Mass Communications: Public Relations with a minor in Advertising, Photography, and Creative Digital Media. They love following challenging and fulfilling stories. They also have a strong passion for writing and giving others a voice. Herrick loves to travel and over the summer, they traveled to Greece, Italy, and Barcelona. They are now saving up and planning on going to New Zealand this winter with their Aunt. Outside of school, they love taking the train and seeing live concerts with friends. They also love sharks and a good book!    

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