UMass Fashion Organization unites students with a passion for fashion

Students can unleash their creativity with this new club


(Collegian file photo)

By Wafi Habib, Collegian Staff

Formed in the fall semester of 2019, the University of Massachusetts Fashion Organization was created as a club on campus to targets students who want to learn the inner workings of the fashion industry.

General body members can come into the space with a wide array of roles, ranging from models, designers, graphic designers, stylists, photographers, videographers, make-up artists and public relations. They also offer workshops that focus on creating clothes, fashion show productions, runway model training and fashion education in general.

UFO collaborates with other clubs and spaces on campus, specifically with the All-Campus Makerspace, which is located in the Engineering Lab and is where most of their workshops are held. The Makerspace is an open space any student can use to learn a new skill, such as designing for 3D printing and wood burning. UFO also collaborates with the cosplay club on workshops such as sewing, makeup, jewelry-making and wig-making.

Chinyere (Chichi) Ogala, the president and founder of UFO, came to UMass as a freshman civil engineering major and wanted to find other like-minded people who were interested in fashion.

“I was doing only engineering stuff, I was slowly getting bored and I wasn’t doing anything fashion related,” Ogala said. “But I felt like there were people like me, who want to be creative and make looks, so I decided to create this club.”

Starting off by stopping random students walking around campus whom Ogala thought “dressed nice,” she was able to garner enough interest in the club and managed to get a full room of people to attend the first ever interest meeting on November 1, 2019.

Nikki Hornedo, a general body member in UFO, was one of the students approached by Ogala and has been part of the club ever since.

“UFO has helped me make so many friends, and these people have inspired me so much,” Hornedo said. “I’ve definitely used this as an outlet for my creativity and the photoshoots have boosted my confidence tenfold and made me feel a lot better about myself.”

“Part of the club’s success you have to attribute to Chichi, and how she recruits random people around campus,” said Phoebe Father, the vice president of UFO. “She dedicated three hours a week at the start of the semester to find people on campus, and that’s why there were so many more people this semester.”

Currently, UFO does not receive funding from the University, which leaves the organization to creatively find ways to raise money for their workshops and photoshoots. Some methods include having a photobooth in the Campus Center, where people pay $2 to get their photos taken, and also creating their own thrifting page where they ask for donations from general body members and sell them on social media.

In the upcoming weeks, UFO is organizing a “fashion week” event where UMass students are invited to dress up with their best outfits, take photos and send it to UFO for a chance to win prizes. The winners will be voted on by other UMass students.

“Some people want to express themselves artistically, but they feel they’re not good at painting or poetry for example, so another way to show people who I am is through my clothing,” said Gracie Newman, the head of public relations at UFO. “I think this club is an easy way for people to express and reinvent themselves, and it’s a good way to try new things.”

Wafi Habib can be reachedat [email protected]