Student Star: Leilani Sanchez

Name: Leilani Sanchez
Major: Fashion Merchandising

“To encourage individuality, we launched CLUTCH: Your Essential Accessory, to provide students with fashion news from around the world, and information on local businesses where students can find unique items.”

Women’s clothing is of every color, shape, and size, with great variety for function and self-expression. It could be destiny that Leilani Sanchez herself, a senior majoring in Fashion Merchandising, seems to represent women’s fashion.

Her heritage is Puerto Rican, yet she was born on America’s mainland and raised in Germany. Family members serve on the U.S. military bases all over the world. Her Filipino aunt suggested her name “Leilani,” which, in the Hawaiian language, means “heavenly flowers.”

Since Miami, her home city, did not offer an affordable “real college experience” in her chosen field, Leilani came to Florida State because of its “excellent fashion-merchandising program.” She considers the decision to be one of the best she’s ever made.

She says, “I have learned a great deal about fabrics, quality, color, and the use of creativity to draw customers into a business. One of my favorite projects was when our group converted our plain, small Merchandising lab into a Spring-inspired store to appeal to young girls, with a park bench, grass, and flowers. It was a great, real-life experience that gave us the opportunity to apply all of the information we learned in class.”

Joining the Collegiate Merchandising Association exposed her to the fashion industry outside of the classroom, “while also having fun.” Guest speakers from major retail chains give talks about their careers. Members are taught business etiquette and put together fashion shows, which provides them with opportunities to expand their resumes.

From this Association, Leilani and ten of her classmates started a fashion magazine—CLUTCH: Your Essential Accessory—and has made it available to all Florida State students. She says, “At FSU there are various cultures and personalities. To encourage individuality, we launched this high fashion magazine to provide students with fashion news from around the world, and information on local businesses where students can find unique items. I am very proud to be a part of it.” She should be. In one year, distribution has doubled to 1000 copies, and a website has been added. CLUTCH has been featured in the Tallahassee Democrat and soon will be featured on MTV’s TRL newsbreak.

Leilani has gained the experience and education she will need to pursue her dream of working for a New York-based fashion magazine. She says, “Getting A’s is important, however, to gain further knowledge, you need to step outside of the classroom and get involved.”