Business administration senior Advaitha Bhavanasi and their now-graduated co-founder, Kaitlyn Alforque, didn’t find the art and fashion club they were looking to join when they enrolled at Cal Poly in 2019. Driven by a love of fashion and expression, they created their own — Cal Poly’s Fashion and Student Trends, or FAST.
Bhavanasi founded FAST in 2020, but the pandemic curbed the club’s in-person events until the 2021-2022 academic year.
On May 12, FAST will host their second Spring Fashion Show at Cal Poly’s Multi-Activity Center (MAC) in collaboration with Cal Poly’s Sustainable Fashion Club. The show will feature around 19 student designers and models showcasing their creations.
“I definitely think that our annual fashion show is a one-of-a-kind experience, because I haven’t really heard of anything like that happening in SLO,” Bhavanasi said. “Especially getting to see that many student designers put in so much work to create beautiful collections and art pieces, so I definitely would want attendees to feel a sense of community within fashion.”
With each collection of designs, the models will walk on stage one at a time, followed by the designer for a quick introduction so the audience can get to know them.
FAST recruited designers for this event through Instagram polling and word of mouth, and models are student volunteers. This year, both FAST and Sustainable Fashion Club have been reaching out to the designers they had at last year’s show.
“There’s a stage, there’s a runway, there’s specific lighting for each collection and then we have photographers, videographers and we have music for each collection as well,” Bhavanasi said. “Then, we usually have a projector with the name of the collection and the designer.”
According to Bhavanasi, it costs around $4,000 to bring together the fashion show, and most of that money comes from fundraising. The clubs have teamed up with local restaurants that will give a portion of the money back to the show with flyers from their Instagrams, as well as donations.
FAST treasurer and business administration sophomore Daniela Molina, also said that FAST applied for a grant through Cal Poly’s Associated Students, inc. (ASI) for additional club funding, which they ended up receiving for the fashion show.
This year, the show will have around 400 seats available, according to Bhavanasi. While some spaces are reserved for the designers and models as well as their guests, tickets will be sold to the general public starting Monday, April 24 at $5 each.
“I think it’s just a judgment-free zone where you can just appreciate people’s art and talk to people and just vibe,” Molina said.
After the event, FAST looks forward to hosting more events during this quarter. At the end of the year, they will host their quarterly fashion faire in collaboration with Front Porch. Bhavanasi said that they invite small businesses and local musicians, as well as organize a clothing swap.
They typically post a survey on their Instagram for whoever wants to vend on a first-come first-serve basis, which will be published in a few weeks, according to Bhavanasi. A few of their regular vendors include Mia Makes Ice and Phee’s Beads.
According to Bhavanasi, FAST is all about creating a sense of community and providing the fashion lovers of Cal Poly with a space to express themselves and meet like-minded people. Those interested can stay up to date on FAST events on Instagram @fastatslo.