May 16-22 2003
Back Issues
Bond, Morse, Terry win 2003 Sullivan Awards
Advocate for diversity leads by example
Finals factoids
Music major creates programs for local schools

Tragedy spurs Muslim student’s effort to bring understanding

Finding history among the trees
Community through architecture
Moving toward a more inclusive environment
Jobe leads with faith, activism
Exploring vast worlds with Harrison Awards
Harvey blends work, study with passion for civic participation
Designing women sow success
Merging technology, music and art
From one-room school to athletic field
Persistence pays for Ukrainian student
Swimmer sets her eyes on Olympic event
Firefighting ideal job for Jefferson Scholar
Pruett’s ready to deploy, but not to leave her kids
Cancer survivor helps others
Designing women sow success
Fashion Design Club founders Sole Salvo, right, and Lauren Fritsch work on an evening gown featuring a waist corset with embroidered silk organza.
Photo by Andrew Shurtleff
Fashion Design Club founders Sole Salvo, right, and Lauren Fritsch work on an evening gown featuring a waist corset with embroidered silk organza.

By Jane Ford

Look around Grounds, and the dress of choice includes jeans, khakis or shorts with T-shirts or oxford-cloth button-downs and Timberline fleece jackets. Whatever the outdoor temperature, flip-flops are ubiquitous.

Two graduating students found that first looks can be deceiving when one considers fashion at U.Va. Sole Salvo and Lauren Fritsch met in a medieval literature class their first year and discovered a shared passion — fashion design.
Salvo, a French major, and Fritsch, an English major, each began designing and sewing when they were in elementary school. By high school they were making garments for themselves and others.

At U.Va. they were hard-pressed to find an outlet for their fashion creativity, since the University does not have a fashion design program. But that didn’t stop the two women who believe there is power in dressing stylishly.

Fashion is really about style and knowing what lines complement your body type, not about the latest trend, said Salvo. “When I am comfortable and confident in what I am wearing, I project a different persona than when I am just hanging around in my jeans.”

Salvo and Fritsch started the Fashion Design Club as an artistic outlet and soon discovered others who share their passion.

The two also had another agenda. They wanted to create clothes that celebrated the average body type.

“The fashion industry perpetuates the myth that to be worthwhile as a person you have to be really skinny and beautiful,” said Fritsch. From the beginning, they consciously selected models that reflect the general population’s size.
“We vetoed those who were too skinny,” she said.

Society’s misconceptions about what is beautiful and healthy led Fritsch to team up with psychology major Sarah Fischer on a Harrison Research Project to study the prevalence of risk factors for eating disorders among U.Va. students.

The success of the club is a testament to the duo’s ideas about the power of fashion. Salvo said one model was amazed at the diversity of the club. “Every culture has body adornment, so fashion naturally draws people from every background,” Salvo said.

The club’s first fashion show was in 2000 in Tuttle Coffeehouse with 13 original pieces. This March, more than 150 original designs were paraded down the runway to an audience of more than 500 in Newcomb Hall Ballroom. The creations were more theatrical than everyday, featuring simple lines and luscious fabrics, said the club co-founders. Salvo featured silks, silk brocades, rayon jerseys and silk charmeuse in her designs.

“The beauty of U.Va. is that I was able to make the experience what I wanted it to be,” said Salvo, who will pursue her own clothes line after studying in New York in the fall.

Fritsch’s long-term goal is to start a nonprofit fashion business for single mothers. In the meantime, she’ll be making business suits to wear to her job as executive director of the Virginia Alumni Club in New York City.



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