The 90s Are All That: FLY Spring 2017 Event

By Arianna Andretta
Photo by the author

FLY & FAST of Florence University of the Arts showcased the first of their series of four fashion & aperitivo nights for this semester on Tuesday evening. FAST is the shorthand for FUA’s Fashion & Accessories Studies & Technology department, which comprises not only classes for students, but also the opportunity to gain experience working in a professional setting through FLY. The vintage and consignment store produces student-crafted fashion pieces in addition to promoting a new emerging designer each semester. The chosen theme for their first event centered on the 90s – the era of grunge, floppy disks, and of course, the beloved slinky.

The comeback of the 90s exemplifies a common tie between those who experienced the trends of the time and those who aspire to retain the style without actually living through it. Feelings of childhood nostalgia and reminiscence of youth are the cause of the craze. According to Olivia, the store’s student social media manager, incorporating the 90s was a way to mix in the fashionably popularized grunge look with the current generation that embraces it. “Since FLY is a vintage store to begin with that includes unique designs, the 90s theme was a good way to incorporate the purpose of the store itself,” she added. Hence the tagline “FLY back to the 90s” was created.

It was a not so puzzling choice to select this time warp theme in the midst of the holiday of candy hearts. While speaking with Gaia Poli, store manager and faculty member, she explained that the 90s are “a praise of casualty.” They did not want to paralyze the event with Valentine’s Day, as others could easily do, and made it hinted at instead as to not completely ignore the holiday festivities. A few light decorations that would be hidden to the distracted eye – such as hearts hung in some of the fashion labs – were implanted throughout the building.

The current featured emerging designer, Marakita, also presented some of her pieces at the event that included such subtlety. One of the clutches, for example, included a heart shaped option while the other’s form could be equated to that of a love letter. The genius behind Marakita’s designs is their unique quality. Fabrics are specifically designed for the brand so the pieces will literally be one-of-a-kind. Aside from a clutch with an original pattern matched to the buyer’s requests, the leather used is also vegan. The bag will not only be personalized but additionally eco-friendly.

While the event heavily focused on the current goals of the fashion department, it was a time to put all areas of experiential learning to work, including event management, hospitality, culinary, digital media, and more. The best part of the abundance of student involvement in these programs is that it provides them with something as close to real life experience as possible. According to Nico, the student designer of the choker giveaways for the first guests to arrive, there is a constant dialogue open about how to problem solve and decide on the smartest option at hand.

In the case of the chokers, the original design was a cross-back piece, which presented a concern of potentially overusing leather. After some deliberation, the crossing feature of the necklace was eliminated but the choice to pick the importance of style over saving leather was made. “The halfway choker uses more material but better fit the look of the era,” he explained. The lucky first 30 attendees seemed pleased regardless to walk away with their 90s inspired accessories.

FLY’s first event was ultimately a success thanks to the joint efforts of faculty, students, and community alike. The 90s atmosphere lived in the band posters, floppy CDs, and colorful pops of slinkies throughout the store. With a continued atmospheric blend of 90s catwalks playing as a backdrop and great cuisine, guests enjoyed themselves as they flew back in time for a few hours.


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