Senior communication studies major Teresa Montoni explored New York City for the first time this summer while working as a planning intern at the luxury department store Saks Fifth Avenue.
Her job took her across the city – once even to a clothing market inside the Empire State Building – to buy clothes and materials from vendors.
Montoni’s experience at Saks and in communications classes at Temple University led her to create FETCH, a club dedicated to exploring the relationship between fashion and media. The acronym stands for fashionable, entrepreneurship, technology and communication, while the “H” is still undecided.
“This is strictly for creatives,” Montoni said. “This is for people who want to get into magazines and work on social media teams and do public relations through fashion.”
Because the Klein College of Media and Communication doesn’t offer a fashion curriculum, FETCH will give students new opportunities to explore paths into the fashion industry.
Prior to interning at Saks, Montoni had never formally studied fashion, but her media and communication background filled the gaps. She said these skills helped her prove herself as an asset and set her apart from her peers, many of whom attended fashion schools.
“It showed people at Saks that I had a background of free thinking that they weren’t getting from anyone else because they were all taught the same thing, in the same type of school, in the same industry,” Montoni said.
The club made its debut on Sept. 12 at Klein Fest, a recruiting event for Klein’s media and communication student organizations, where more than 100 people expressed interest in joining.
Junior communication studies major Sabrina Berry helped at Klein Fest and said she saw high interest from students about the club.
“We need this,” Berry added. “People are excited, it’s not just me and Teresa.”
Montoni’s inspiration for FETCH also stemmed from the Fashion and Business Club of Temple University, a student professional organization in the Fox School of Business that focuses on the business aspects of fashion. Montoni has been a member of the club since she transferred to Temple from La Salle University in Fall 2017.
To help start FETCH, Montoni relied on advice from Klein Director of Communication Studies Scott Gratson, her mentor and the faculty adviser for the Fashion and Business Club. Montoni told Gratson she wanted to expand the focus of the club beyond just fashion and business.
“He was like, ‘Why don’t you just start a club?’” Montoni said.
That’s all it took for Montoni to realize what she had to do.
For Gratson and Montoni, fashion represents all elements of communication and human expression, and there’s no better place for FETCH than at Klein. Montoni’s goal for the club is to highlight the diversity that exists on campus, including in race, sexual orientation and socioeconomic background.
“It’s all of the types of fashion, all of the types of models that you don’t see in mainstream media,” she said. “What we’re all about is being very inclusive both with our members and with the fashion industry.”
While the long-term vision for the club is still evolving, Montoni’s first project is to launch a blog for FETCH members to discuss fashion on and off campus.
By Spring 2019, Montoni said she hopes to hold a fashion show highlighting fashion projects and styles at Temple.
Gratson said fashion is a great avenue for self-expression and communicating with other people.
“Fashion is an art form that links to the communication of human identity…and that links to all varieties of different elements of identity,” Gratson said. “I see all of that linking back to the mission of Klein.”