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Fashion Department holds ‘Stitch ‘N’ Bitch’ to help students deal with strike

Kaelah Serrano
Lexie Jones, a senior Fashion Design Major works with materials to organize and measure the clothing on the sewing dress form on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023. Students work on assignments and projects independently or in groups in the fashion studio and adjoining garages at 623 S. Wabash Ave.

The Fashion Department is hosting a “Stitch ‘N’ Bitch” festival this week to help fashion students complete projects and assignments during the third week of the part-time union strike.

Chair Professor of the Fashion Department Colbey Reid first promoted the event via Instagram on Nov. 13, announcing that this week she will be hosting the department’s first ever “Stitch ‘N’ Bitch” for fashion students. She said any full-time faculty who are not teaching class during the event will be there to help students with projects or help students figure out other things they can be doing while classes are canceled. A majority of the instructors teaching in the fashion department this semester are part-time faculty.

Since the start of the strike on Oct. 30, classes taught by part-time faculty have been moved to Zoom or cancelled. While some of these classes are being taught by full-time faculty, many have been on pause for the strike.

“We just wanted to do something for our students, and also for our faculty, who are still around that would build a sense of community and help people know we’re all in this together,” Reid said. “I wanted students to have some place to come to ask their questions, get help, get tutoring, get mentorship, get snacks, have music and give them some structure for how we can be working together.”

The name “Stitch ‘N’ Bitch” was originally inspired by a phenomenon that was created by women after World War II, Reid said. Women would come together to sew, do mending and make do with material shortages that existed because of the war. With this, they would talk, voice frustrations and discuss worries – but in the end, “a lot of it was just trying to figure it out.”

Last Friday, Reid decided to host the event this week because she was “worried and wanted to do something for our students.” While some students in the Fashion Department aren’t being affected as much as other students are, she wanted to think of a way to support students while still “respecting the classrooms of my colleagues who are on strike.”

The event will be held every day this week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Fashion Studio on the 7th Floor at 623 S. Wabash Ave.

Senior Mick Copeland, a fashion merchandising major, has been coming to the event in between her classes and says it’s a good resource for students.

“I think it’s nice to have an opportunity for people to meet faculty if they want to,” Copeland said. “Sometimes when it’s hard to get in contact with faculty, it’s nice that they’re hanging out here.”

Senior Anna Salisz, a fashion product development major, said the event is “great” to catch up on class work and to get help with registration.

“I know other people who have been having struggles with getting into certain classes, so I know this is a good resource for them,” Salisz said.

Reid said the biggest challenge students are facing is uncertainty — not knowing what to do or what’s going to happen in the coming days. She said the fashion students are very “motivated” and “focused,” so she is trying to help guide them through the disrupted semester.

“I don’t have answers to all of their questions,” Reid said. “But at a minimum, I can give them my best advice about what you can be focused on right now, what you can be thinking about, and what you can be doing with this time.”

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About the Contributors
Allison Shelton
Allison Shelton, Reporter
ashelton@columbiachronicle.com   Allison Shelton is a sophomore journalism major, with a minor in advertising and fashion communications.  She primarily reports on Columbia's Student Government Association but has also written about sustainability, campus events and the college's unions. Shelton joined the Chronicle in August 2023.   Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
Kaelah Serrano
Kaelah Serrano, Photojournalist
kserrano@columbiachronicle.com   Kaelah Serrano is a junior photojournalism major. She has covered music festivals, campus art exhibitions and metro parades and protests. Serrano joined the Chronicle in January 2023.   Hometown: Chicago, Illinois