Fashion and Marketing students collaborate with local business

Students work with local thrift store to develop fashion marketing skills



Students present outfit designs to Melissa Carter, owner of Kameo Vintage in Winnetka to develop a social media marketing campaign

Outside a quiet Winnetka street lies Kameo Vintage. Inside, racks are filled with colorful, vibrant, vintage clothes. A display case shows mannequins with in-trend outfits. New styles attract customers, and students have created them.

Students in the Fashion and Marketing class collaborated with local thrift shop Kameo Vintage for a unique project. They shopped for clothes to put together an outfit, then posted the outfits on social media to see which received the most engagement.

The purpose of this project was to give students an opportunity to have a real-life application of what they are learning. 

The pieces of clothing that we picked out, they were all really casual, but once it all came together, they created something special. You don’t have to always pick out the most detailed things, like sometimes all you need is something casual”

— Mia Puljic

“I always am looking for partnerships that lend the opportunity for students to work on something real, like a real project or real task that a business is working on,” said Fashion and Marketing teacher Melissa Duffy. “I feel like the value of what you learn and the takeaway from having real projects in class stays with you.” 

The Fashion and Marketing class partnered with local thrift shop Kameo Vintage’s owner, Melissa Carter. 

“I think she has really great energy and a lot of experience.  I always love being able to partner with and support local businesses. I just love her energy and her willingness to partner with and give creative freedom to the students,” said Duffy. 

Carter first visited the class to introduce the project and spoke about her experiences with sustainable fashion.

“It was definitely really cool when Melissa Carter came in because she told her story and it really inspired us to create our own looks, and to definitely be sustainable and reusable with fashion,” said sophomore Katie Crawford.

Students then went to a different store, Winnetka Thrift Shop, to shop for clothes.  Each group was given a budget of $40 to put together into an outfit. 

“It kind of felt like we were in a TV show. They gave us a budget and we were running around trying to pick the best things before other people,” said senior Maya Zafrani.

The outfits were posted on Kameo Vintage’s Instagram page, and the look which received the most engagement won. The winning outfit will be shown in Kameo Vintage’s display windows. 

 “The outfit that received the most engagement was something both street ready and chic. The winning look was relatable to my followers,” said Melissa Carter, owner of Kameo Vintage.

 Carter spoke about making connections early when creating a business and the importance of marketing with social media. Students such as sophomore Christina Harris learned about marketing to a target audience. 

“She taught us about social media, and how when you advertise things you’re supposed to catch the viewers eyes on your photo. So it’s taking pictures or creating captions that grab a buyer’s attention,” she said. “You’re thinking about who’s buying it. And we also learned about your target audience—who you’re marketing to, so that influences what you’re going to write or what look you’re going to put together.” 

 After receiving a budget, students had time to shop for their outfit. 

“The shopping part was really fun. We picked out a pink dress, like I was not expecting to find that pink dress in the store. You find so many cool things. But you really have to look for it, like you’re not going to see it right away,” said Harris. 

Students like Zafrani found out they had to make compromises in order to stay within budget.

“We saw these shoes that we really liked but we ended up not getting them because it was half of the budget—so we decided to not bring shoes from the thrift store. Instead we got jewelry,” said Zafrani. 

Junior Sam Gambacorta appreciated the creative freedom allowed when shopping, and found inspiration in the clothes. 

“When we went to the thrift store we didn’t have any boundaries. So we could just do whatever visual that we wanted to do. When we went, she said go in with an open mind. It was nice to just go in and get inspired by the pieces,” said Gambacorta.

When putting together the outfits, groups experimented with putting otherwise-ordinary pieces together to create something unique. 

“The pieces of clothing that we picked out, they were all really casual, but once it all came together, they created something special. You don’t have to always pick out the most detailed things, like sometimes all you need is something casual,” said senior Mia Puljic. 

After deciding the final look, students took pictures of themselves modeling the outfits around the school. They went to Kameo Vintage in Winnetka to present the outfits and find out which received the most engagement from followers.

“Creating them and taking photos was actually cool because we got to walk around the school and see you know ‘where would this look good?’ And just experiment with the photos we took,” said Crawford.  

The project let students take on different roles they were interested in. It gave students flexibility and let them be creative.

“I really liked how everyone could do something different. It’s not like we have a strict kind of set of rules, and it was really flexible for us to be creative” said Crawford. 

Students also learned how to use social media in a new way, according to Duffy. They learned how to create outfits that appeal to followers. 

“There’s a lot of students who spend a lot of time on many different social media outlets, but now they were given a specific task of creating this trending outfit and this lifestyle photo shoot to appeal to a different target audience,” she said. “Some of these outfits wouldn’t be things that they would have worn, but now they have to find a way to represent that in a way that’s appealing to the market beyond their peers.”