Dressing professionally doesn’t mean you have to stifle your creativity or spend a fortune.
Freshman fashion design major Kadejah Henderson knows this from personal experience, and she wants to help other Buffalo State students learn how to achieve a personalized, polished look on a thrift-store budget.
Henderson and the United Students Government are hosting a styling competition called “Advance Your Swagger” on Wednesday, February 29, at 6:00 p.m. in the Student Union Social Hall. Fonzworth Bentley, host of the MTV series “From G’s to Gents” and author of the book Advance Your Swagger: How to Use Manners, Confidence and Style to Get Ahead, will tell students how to incorporate manners, confidence, and yes, swagger, into a professional look. The event is free and open to all Buffalo State students.
For the competition, six stylists are charged with dressing two models a piece in outfits costing $10 or less from Amvets Thrift Store. These outfits are supposed to be appropriate for internship and job interviews in one of six disciplines: communication, business, education, social sciences, law enforcement, and fashion.
“The goal is to show students how you can have your own swag and still get the job,” said 18-year-old Henderson, who modeled while growing up in Hartford, Connecticut, and also participated in some mock job interviews where she was told she needed to tone down the makeup and lose the red shoes. “It was hard but a great learning experience.”
Bentley, along with Shantiell Reid, lecturer of fashion textile technology, and Lisa August, associate director in the Career Development Center, will judge the competition. Henderson likens it to the TV show American Idol, where the judges will rank the contestants based on certain criteria. In this case, it’s not vocal range and expression, but whether the styling teams look professional, have swag, are creative, and stay in the prescribed budget.
The first-place winner will receive a digital camera, and the second-place winner will get a $100 gift certificate to the store Forever 21. Both will receive signed copies of Bentley’s book.
Henderson said she hopes students will come away with the message that you don’t need to be rich to get off to a good start in your career. What you need is confidence—and a little advice about when it’s OK to wear red shoes.
Along with USG, other sponsors of the competition include the Fashion Students Association, the Student Life Office, and Barnes & Noble.
Although free, tickets are required to attend. They can be picked up prior to the show in the Student Union Box Office. For more information, call (716) 878-6701.