On a warm September night, girls in lace-up heels and boys in duster vests slink around the corner to a hidden VIP patio behind Orchid Nightclub for Fashion’s Night Out. Organized by Ryerson’s Fashion Union, over 200 students, industry members and fashion lovers attended this kick-off to the new school year.
There’s something here for everyone. An airy entranceway, a row of booths and a bar make up the quiet, outdoor area where guests lounge, discussing faves and fails from the New York Fashion Week runways. Behind a glass wall, a DJ has everybody else partying so hard that a fire alarm broke off from the ceiling (but of course that doesn’t stop anyone from dancing). For every group of pals with bubbly drinks, there’s a loner absorbed in an iPhone, leaning against the wall; though some wore trends so fashionable they’re stolen from spring 2017 catwalks, someone also showed up in their Grade 12 prom dress.
It has everything you’d expect from an event with this name—a coveted Entertainment District location, heavy bass booming from the dance floor, satin bomber jackets hung off shoulders—except for one thing: the haughty attitude. The whole scene implies a cooler-than-you vibe that guests breathe in with the cigarette smoke, but it doesn’t live up to the stereotype. Aside from their immense Instagrammability, these fashion students suit up and get down just like everyone else, not a single side-eye in sight.
As Fashion Union co-president Zoya Shaban can attest, running events like this at a commuter-heavy school and for a work-heavy program are not always successful.
“When planning this event, we were certainly nervous” she said. “We had never done anything like it before and we weren’t at all certain of how it would turn out.”
The Fashion Union’s secret recipe: make a one-size-fits-all party (dancing plus chilling), with a no-pressure purpose (have fun!), at an affordable cover price ($5)—then sit back and make it look easy.