MODA Magazine, UW’s online fashion magazine, brought fashion awareness to campus this past week in a big way. The magazine, which will be celebrating its one year birthday soon, is the brainchild of its editor in chief, Mia Hanekamp, who had the idea while interning at a Chicago lifestyle magazine on Michigan Avenue. With the help of two friends at Madison, including her Deputy Editor Jeff Cartwright, they made a big idea a big reality: This past week MODA magazine held UW’s first ever fashion week. 

“The inspiration mostly came from the concept of the magazine and how it related to other big cities in the world. Our magazine showcases the best of Madison fashion, nightlife and restaurants. Every day, just getting so inspired, made me realize Madison is such a great city: Why can’t we do what New York does? And I kind of got the idea for fashion-related events,” Hanekamp said.

The week included three events. The first, called MODA’s Night Out, was held Monday March 12 at The Icon, a chic restaurant and tapas bar on State Street. The event allowed students and local fashion industry personnel to network and socialize. Students were given the opportunity to expand their knowledge of fashion as an industry, as well as create contacts. Participants wore cocktail party attire to look polished and professional, Hanekamp said.

The second event for UW Fashion Week, held Wednesday, March 14 at Memorial Union, was titled “Street Smart: Blogging For a Stylish World.” This event was a tad more laid back than the meet and greet and focused more on the local fashion scene. Fashion bloggers from the Midwest discussed the ins and outs of blogging, fashion journalism and other types of social media with event attendees.

This event was not solely for those who want to immerse themselves in the world of style, but also those interested in social media as a whole. The staff of MODA wanted to “use that event to draw people who aren’t just interested in fashion,” Hanekamp said.

“UWFW: The Runway Show” concluded the first UW Fashion week on Friday, March 16. The Sett at Union South housed the big event, which included a red carpet where guests had their pictures taken. Sett food and drinks were available as well as live music courtesy of Chicago’s BBU and UW’s DJ Diox. MODA worked with WUD Music and a team of fashion week staff to put all the pieces in place.

“They went to all different areas of Madison to pick and chose who they wanted to reach out to and see who was interested in the show, and the response was actually really good,” Hanekamp said. 

Modeling coach and runway designer KJ Lynn was a huge help as well. 

“It’s been really nice having someone who can help. It made a huge difference in the professionalism of the show,” Katie Kruse, MODA’s PR director, said.

A mix of designers contributed to the runway show from local branches of national retailers such as Land’s End and New York & Co. to local shops like Jazzman. Rachel Frank showed designs Hanekamp described as “crazy, almost un-wearable, pieces of art.” Student designer Caroline Wilson presented her collection, Caroline Elizabeth, a more Anthropologie-esque, earthy line.

MODA hopes the event has generated more awareness for the local fashion industry. 

“I think that’s something lacking here, except for the Human Ecology School and student orgs like College Fashionista,” Hanekamp said.

“I think the week in general, kind of the point of doing it, developed into more of an awareness of fashion as an industry and style as the way you live as a whole, not just about what you wear. The important thing is it’s much more than what you’re wearing,” Kruse said.

MODA has big plans to expand and become a printed magazine next year, with Hanekamp and Cartwright hoping to accomplish this before they graduate.

For more information about MODA magazine, visit modamadison.com, head to their Facebook page “Moda Magazine”, or follow them on Twitter at @modamadison.