Inaugural Carbondale Food and Fashion week to feature student work, community events


Carson VanBuskirk | @carsonvanbDE

Terrian Brownlow, a senior majoring in Fashion Design, works on her fashion project on Tuesday, April 17, 2019, on the third floor of Quigley Hall.

By Emily Cooper and Tamar Mosby

Carbondale’s inaugural Food and Fashion Week kicks off on April 23 with events Tuesday through Saturday.

“Each night there is a different event that promotes the food, fashion and art in Carbondale,” Maggie Burke, a senior studying communications and a student broadcasting the gala event, said.

The SIU Fashion Design and Merchandising program is also holding its annual student showcase this week. The Food and Fashion Week is not affiliated with the showcase, but several students and staff have worked together to create this week long series of different events.


“We’ve had a team of people working for a very long time,” Burke said. “Professors from the School of Journalism and the Hospitality and Tourism Departments are involved.”

The fashion week events are set to provide a week of fun for community members and also help one of the semester’s first year Salukis.

“The Carbondale Food and Fashion week is going to raise funds for a new student scholarship for incoming SIU students,” Nicole Davis, an associate professor of hospitality and tourism, said. “The premise behind the whole week is to be able to raise money to provide an incoming student with some scholarship money.”

Carson VanBuskirk | @carsonvanbDE
Preston Glass, of Marion, prepares food on Thursday, April 18, 2019, inside Tres Hombres’ kitchen.

Not only will the week-long event raise funds for a new student scholarship, it will promote involvement from the entire Carbondale community.

“The goal is really to get people back involved in the community of Carbondale,” Burke said.

Davis said the idea originated last April from a student who was in an copywriting class with Bridget Lescelius, an advertising professor in the School of Journalism.

“[The student] had been to the Nashville fashion week and coming back from that event, she was enthusiastic,” Davis said. “At one point, one of us [Davis or Lescelius] said we could do something similar in Carbondale. It morphed; we decided to branch out and do some food and art type events in tandem with it.”


She said this event became a collaboration.

“It was perfect for [Davis’] students to coordinate and develop events and our students to be involved with branding and promoting it,” Lescelius said.

The Carbondale Food and Fashion week is not a full week on purpose, Davis said.

“We wanted to to introduce people to an event like this one,” she said.

Students in the hospitality and tourism, fashion and advertising programs came together to create the concept and market the event. Public relations students also helped, according to Davis.

“I wouldn’t say this is quite campus-wide, but pretty close,” she said. “It’s very student-driven.”

Davis said she is focused on working with the event-planning students who are planning and doing all of the leg-work for this event.

“This is something that never was before,” Lescelius said. “We had to create a brand; the students were involved with building social media presence for the event. They created print ads and a 30-second commercial which will air on WSIL. They are also involved with promoting the gala and working at it.”

Lescelius said the students are getting end-to-end experience and actually getting their work in market.

“We are transforming our ad club and [the fashion week] was one of our clients this year,” Chris Cole, a senior studying advertising, said. “We are now getting many clients in and it’s another one of those clients where we are getting real experience with real clients.”

Cole said everything they are doing is being used for real purposes.

“We are going to see the results of that work,” he said. “The biggest difference between this and schoolwork is you get to see all the work pay off at the end.”

Food and Fashion Week Events:

April 23: an opening ceremony will be followed by the showing of Kinky Boots at Shryock Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. This event will feature an opening statement from leaders in the Carbondale community.

April 24: The City of Carbondale, Carbondale Main Street and the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce have partnered to put on The Food and Art Crawl. Carbondale’s various restaurants and local art will be featured. Local artists will be displayed in the local downtown restaurants. The community will tour local restaurants and experience a diverse selection of food and art. Each restaurant participating in the event will have “special” menu items available for purchase.

April 25: SIU Career Development Center will present “Dress for Success on a Dime.” The workshop will run from 10:20 – 11:10 a.m. and 12:30 – 1:20 p.m. in Faner Hall, Room 1006. High school students will have the opportunity to learn how to dress professionally on a tight budget.

April 26: The “Passion for Fashion” Gala will be held at Garden Grove Event Center, 1215 E Walnut St, Carbondale. The theme of the gala is to celebrate 150 years of Carbondale fashion. The reception starts at 6:30 p.m. and will be followed by a dinner, catered by Garden Grove and a silent auction. Entertainment for this year’s event will be Kevin Lucas, renowned percussionist and SIU alumni. Tickets for the event are $45 per person or $315 for a table of 8. Student tickets are $35 per person.

“There are so many events going on and I feel that there’s something for everyone to enjoy,” Burke said. “We’re hoping that this could possibly be an event that could continue in the years to come and just be a great thing for Carbondale to have.”

Staff reporter Emily Cooper can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @ECooper212.

Staff reporter Tamar Mosby can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @mosbytamar.

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