Support the ‘Prince’

Please disable ad blockers for our domain. Thank you!


Every year, Service in Style, a student organization founded 15 years ago by Lauren Bush ’06, brings together students, corporations, and retailers every spring to raise awareness of autism on campus through a professional, large-scale fashion show. Each April during Autism Awareness Month, this show, otherwise known as Fashion Speaks, is produced and modeled entirely by University students. As the largest student-run charity event on campus, Service in Style donates 100% of its proceeds to the Eden Autism in Princeton, N.J. The Daily Princetonian interviewed this year’s Fashion Speaks co-chairs Olivia Allen ‘18 and Laura Herman ’18, as well as student model Alexander Kirschenbauer ’20 to find out more about the production.

The Daily Princetonian: Congratulations on a great show! In your own words, what is Fashion Speaks? What does it mean to you?

Olivia Allen: I’m sure you’ve heard the spiel already, but Fashion Speaks is the largest student-run charity organization on campus. It’s the largest student-run charity event that happens all year. Fashions Speaks just means so much to me personally. I was a service co-chair last year, and I worked on the service committee my freshman year. Now that I’m a junior, I’ve worked really closely with the Eden Autism. I’ve visited and I’ve gotten to see where the money actually goes, so it’s been a really meaningful and important experience to me and my most meaningful experience at Princeton by far.

Laura Herman: I’m also very interested in helping with the Eden Autism, particularly from a more academic background. I study psychology and neuroscience here, and I’ve actually been dreaming about being a part of Fashion Speaks since before I got to Princeton. As an eager prefrosh, I was stalking the Facebook page and I was obsessed with joining Service in Style. I went to the activities fair when I was a prefrosh and I asked them why there was no Service in Style booth. People responded that they just hadn't signed up. Later in the fall, Service in Style wasn’t really happening because it’s a spring-term organization. I just kept bothering people until they let me be on the committee, and ever since then I’ve really enjoyed being involved. It’s kind of a dream to be up on stage tonight as a co-chair.

DP: What’s been the best memory you both have had so far?

OA: Definitely — this is a recurring thing — but we have a dance workshop every year as part of Eden’s after-school program. Once a year, a couple weeks before the show, they bring some students and diSiac teaches us all a dance routine. It’s just generally been amazing because just getting to interact with the Eden students face-to-face makes me feel so much more connected.

LH: It really puts a face to the name of those you’re raising all this money for. I got to hold hands and dance with one of the boys and that was really, really fun.

DP: What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far?

LH: I think a big challenge for any student organization is fundraising, especially on a college campus when everyone is struggling to make ends meet. People don’t really want to fork over an extra twenty dollars or hundred dollars. Though they do want to help, a lot of people find it hard to give more than the ticket sales, so we’ve worked on doing a lot of different innovative fundraising strategies this year. We had a raffle and people feel like they’re actually getting something out of it, and that’s been really, really exciting this year. There have been a few other tactics to actually sell things so people are getting something out of their fundraising and we’re getting something out of their donation as well.

DP: What hopes do you have for the show in the future?

OA: Always bigger and better. Honestly, I mean, the main goal is raising as much money for Eden as possible and being as connected to our cause as possible. This year we set a really ambitious goal of $25,000 which we haven’t hit, but we’re almost there. I think next year the co-chairs that we choose will feel just the same.

LH: Eden is the most important thing of all in Service in Style and Fashion Speaks. I’m sure next year’s co-chairs will exceed our expectations.

DP: How did you get involved in the show tonight?

Alexander Kirschenbauer: Fashion Speaks is a large community on campus, and I was approached by multiple people who said it was a great cause. I’m always interested in helping out, and if doing a runway is a fun way of doing that, then I’m all for it.

DP: What’s been your best memory so far?

AK: Just the people, the people that are here. Everyone is so invested in actually helping out the organization, which you don’t see a lot. A lot of people may do community service for a résumé booster or something like that, but everyone here is interested in having fun and really helping out which is inspiring to see.

DP: What challenges have you faced?

AK: The organization of the whole program was massive, but you know once we got to work together — and for a very clear goal — it made it easy to do so.

DP: Do you have any hopes for the show?

AK: Oh yeah! It’s been getting bigger and bigger every year — I think this is the fifteenth year if I’m not mistaken —- and we’re bigger than last year already. I just hope we can keep going, keep building, and keep gathering all the support we can get and help the Eden Autism because that’s always the main goal.

Comments powered by Disqus