The Rollins College chapter of 85 Broads, an international organization for professional networking amongst women that has collegiate and professional chapters across the world, made its second appearance at the Park Avenue Fashion Week (PAFW) show on Saturday with over 45 members dressed to impress, ready to network, and representing Rollins College for a good cause. The PAFW consisted of seven days of events, trunk shows and promotions at Winter Park boutiques. Among these events, 85 Broads came together to attend Tuni’s Diane Von Furstenberg trunk show and MAC makeover session.
In addition to attending the Winter Park sponsored events, 85 Broads held its own event Wednesday, Oct. 12 on how to dress your best for job interviews, as well as how to support the local nonprofit Dress for Success. Additionally, Creative Director of PAFW Anna Nash spoke to 85 Broads members about careers in fashion, how to get involved in the local fashion community, and shared information on upcoming internship opportunities for members.
On the night of the big event, the 85 Broads members in attendance were invited to share pre-show hors d’oeuvres together at local restaurant Cocina 214, then immediately afterward everyone walked together to the Park Avenue Fashion Week show. Upon arrival, the white tent stood impressively on the West Meadow lawn, which buzzed with groups of people. Even a PETA protester made an appearance, making the experience itself even more authentic.
The PAFW tent held a powerhouse of influential people: Park Avenue boutique owners, emerging Florida designers, and noteworthy Orlando residents. More importantly, this event showcased the downtown Winter Park community, with everything from the Lady Gaga-inspired Orlando Ballet performance to staple boutiques such as Tuni’s. Special guest appearances included NBA Orlando Magic player J.J. Redick, who modeled John Craig Clothier on the runway. But there was no one who could highlight fashion week like philanthropist Harriet Lake, who sat in the front row adorned from head to toe in white. The music selection and overall ambiance was dynamic. Nash has raised the bar for upcoming Park Avenue Fashion Week shows to come.
“PAFW never ceases to amaze me!” exclaimed Tori Linder ‘14, president of the Rollins chapter of 85 Broads. “This was such an incredible event! The inclusion of the Orlando Ballet as the opening avant-garde act created such a mood throughout the entire event especially,” she said.
Members of 85 Broads were invited to partake in a VIP after-party at Sky Lake Studios while networking with PAFW attendees and Winter Park community members. During the event, several local restaurants, including Keke’s Breakfast Cafe, catered the event. Others enjoyed Shelly Lake’s artwork on the walls, particularly the portrait of her mother, Harriett Lake, which greeted guests as they entered the studio.
Amidst the chatter, Shelley Lake was having a photo shoot in the back room, photographing the colorful PAFW models. Several 85 Broads members observed the photo shoot while chatting with Winter Park community members.
Kristin Grogan ‘12, studio art major and 85 Broads member, says of her behind-the-scenes photo shoot experience, “I found the whole experience surreal and incredible as I hope to see myself in the photography industry one day. Shelley even lent me advice on making it in this tough industry.”
Founder of Rollins’ chapter of 85 Broads, Julie Kay Donegan ‘12, says of Grogan’s experience, “This type of networking is crucial in the current job market and is not emphasized enough in the classroom. 85 Broads fills that void for women of all professional interests.”
Production consultant for PAFW Austin R. Walker recognizes 85 Broads’ contribution to the event as a participating organization. “Through the support of the local community such as the 85 Broads chapter at Rollins College, Winter Park Fashion Week’s exposure continues to grow as each year passes,” he said. “Our goal is to create an event in which ticket holders can experience what it is like to attend shows on the same caliber as those in New York, and give local retailers recognition for their innovative styles. In my opinion, we have turned Park Avenue Fashion Week into what it deserves to be.”
Donegan concludes, “I am so proud of how far our organization has come in such a short amount of time, and how even in the bubble that is Rollins, our members not only understand the importance of social and professional networking, but actively engage in it through events such as PAFW. 85 Broads truly builds confidence in women and empowers our members to do great things in their communities.”
Ticket sales from 85 Broads supported the American Heart Association campaign, Go Red For Women, promoting heart disease awareness. The 85 Broads Rollins College Chapter is proud to support the Winter Park community. Special thanks to Debra Hendrickson and Anna Nash for making this event possible for 85 Broads.