When I arrived on campus as a freshman in the fall of 2012, I devoured everything that came my way. Like the countdown clock that now ticks off the minutes to graduation, I felt my four years flying by starting on move-in day. I immediately joined Boston University’s Fashion and Retail Association. I had always been infatuated with the art of fashion, and I needed a creative outlet to continue to feed this passion. Through this club I was able to meet some incredibly smart and talented colleagues who I am honored to also call my friends today. Although we loved working with FAB, many of us wanted to start something new and dynamic, something that reflects the way fashion reinvents itself every few months.
At the end of the school year, five of us met for dinner at Bay State and decided that we would launch a new BU fashion club. Initially called “Fashionology,” it was directed at students who were interested in all aspects of fashion as an art form and culture on campus, not just what was sold on national news stands. We worked all summer long to put together the first issue of our magazine, In Moda, directing and shooting our own fashion spreads and articles using BU models and writers. We “founding five,” a small group that represented a number of different ethnicities, orientations, tastes, and regions, had only known each other for a semester. We were a small group of inexperienced freshmen, but we made a team greater than the sum of its parts.
Once we were back on campus in the fall, we set out to officially establish Fashionology as a recognized student group on campus. Unfortunately, we were denied funding from the University and the right to be recognized as an official club because we were too similar to other clubs. Instead of accepting our failure, we decided to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to turn a setback into a success.
Over the course of the next few months the five of us devoted hundreds of hours to executive board meetings, phone calls, Facebook messages, and emails figuring out how to re-brand our vision. We changed our name, our design, and even tweaked the mission statement. We recruited more students to join our club, eventually attracting teams from various departments ,including,editorial, marketing, advertising, styling, photography, art and creative direction. We reapplied to be recognized as an official club. With the help and support of our staff members and adviser Professor Safoura Rafeizadeh, we were recognized as an on-campus student group. That group is now known as Off the Cuff: BU’s first fashion magazine and winner of the “Best New Student Group” award.
After three and a half years, I have retired from my position as Director of Marketing at Off the Cuff and my former colleagues have retired from their positions as well. But part of me will always be with Off the Cuff and the incredible people I came to know there. We have passed the torch to a new creative team; each member has so much promise. I can’t wait to see how the club progresses in the coming years.
I think about that first campus visit and how BU offered me a continuous chain of events…a sequence of opportunities that led me to this place. As a freshman, I never imagined that BU would lead me to internships with Boston Magazine, Rag & Bone, Hearst, Conde Nast, and finally a job as a fashion designer in France.
I have secured a marketing position in the fashion industry and will move to Paris in June. BU has pushed me and prepared me to live and work anywhere with confidence. I’m indebted to Boston University’s College of Communication and the opportunities I’ve explored during my academic career. BU nurtured my passion and helped me find a place and a purpose with Off the Cuff. Thank you, Boston University for allowing me the opportunity to create something like Off the Cuff. Thank you to everyone: a friendly admissions adviser, thoughtful professors, inspiring classmates, and dear friends who all played a critical role in my experience. Good-bye, Boston. Bonjour, Paris.
Isabelle Epskamp is a senior studying Public Relations at Boston University with a concentration in Spanish. She is originally from Chicago but loves to travel and has lived in four different cities around the world. In her free time she enjoys brunching, finding new places to travel to, and learning new languages.