Inside the basement of Ram’s Rack Thrift Store on King Street, a small team of students utilize the space for something uncommon. Members of App State’s first fashion magazine, The Collective, use thrift furniture and consigned clothing to exhibit the latest fashion trends.

Niels Sampson, co-founder and editor-in-chief, was motivated to start the magazine by the competitive nature of the apparel and fashion industry. Having a role in this magazine may give members an edge when it comes to entering the workforce or graduate school. 

“Most of us want to move to bigger cities and we are competing against other universities,” Sampson said. “We come from App where people don’t really know who we are.” 

The Collective gained traction and team members through the Apparel Club at App State, where Sampson and fellow co-founder and Creative Director, Jessica Olschner, initially pitched the idea and began assembling a crew. 

Roles vary from head and assistant stylists, head and assistant creatives, outreach teams and design. While they all work collectively, Olschner describes it as a broken-up effort as well. 

“We break out into teams and we are working on two different projects at the same time,” Olschner said. “We have a small, intimate but hard-working team, which was ideal.” 

This allows for greater efficiency so the team is able to hold one to two photoshoots a week.

Their inspiration comes from far and wide, from well-known magazines and Instagram pages to mood boards that members create and can pitch for shoots. Nicole El-koussa, one of two head stylists, gets her inspiration for styling “based on the theme of the shoot.”

“It comes down to what kind of clothes would look good on the models, and what the model has to say,” El-koussa said. “I want them to feel confident. I pull inspiration from influencers and bounce off of that.”

A model poses for The Collective. The student-run fashion magazine is the first of its kind for App State. (Courtesy of The Collective. )

The Collective also hopes to work with the surrounding Boone community and businesses. They have hosted photoshoots at Ram’s Rack thrift store, where both the set and the clothing were thrifted, as well as the Horton Hotel. Olschner explains that they have been reaching out to more local businesses “to promote them, and they can promote us.”

The staff is also planning a virtual pop-up shop in late October to help raise funds for the magazine. 

“Students that are in the club can show their clothes, and a small percentage will go to the magazine,” Sampson said.

The magazine is going to be a collection of fashion, culture, lifestyle photos, small interviews and articles, sustainability and all things related. They hope to feature students who have their own fashion lines in both photos and small spotlights. 

“It’s called The Collective, so it’s a collective piece of mainly photos but also including interviews of students and their fashion lines,” Olschner said. 

Sampson said The Collective team hopes to use their platform for good. 

“We want to find some ways to volunteer, help the community with coat drives and other things we have talked about,” Sampson said.

The Collective’s website will premiere soon,  and the first issue is planned to release in late November.

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