Mount St. Mary Academy’s Fly By Fashion team had a successful trip over the break to Los Angeles, where they competed in the Virtual Enterprises International’s Los Angeles-Area Trade Fair. Fly By Fashion, which is a virtual clothing retailer, won awards and honors for their marketing plan, elevator pitch, employee handbook and video commercial. They also earned great reviews for their trade fair booth and salesmanship as they bought and sold with students from VE firms located across Southern California.

“Great concept,” one of the judges wrote in his evaluation of the booth design. “Inviting and eye-catching,” he added, and noting the company’s embrace of celebrity fashion and pop culture, also said, “(Fly By Fashion) has the potential to be a real company.”

“As a team, I think our biggest accomplishment goes beyond winning any awards. In the beginning of the year, we made it our goal to be a very inclusive, tight-knit team, and we have definitely done that,” said MSM senior Kristen Rider who serves as the CEO of Fly By Fashion. “Every person shares their ideas and nobody feels intimidated by anyone else. We are all very open to other opinions and ideas. I am proud to be the leader of such a close group of girls.”



In the days following the trade fair, the Fly By Fashion team toured the Los Angeles area and met with several entertainment industry professionals. They visited the music studio of film composer Philip Klein, whose work includes the soundtrack for Pixar’s “Bao,” a short animated film that went on to win an Oscar just days later.

“Meeting Phil Klein was one of the most interesting experiences of my life,” senior Julia Barth said after the trip. “It was so interesting to see how much work goes into making a movie score and you really realize how impactful the music is on the emotional response to the movie. Seeing the short film, Bao, that he worked on win an Oscar was super cool as well because we had just met him days before. ”

Kristen said the thing that stuck with her the most after meeting Phil Klein was the inspirational message of taking risks and following your dreams. “Phil made me realize that if I put my heart into something and keep trying for what I want, I can do it. Especially after talking to him about his dreams and goals, it was amazing to see that a film that he worked on won an Oscar.”

MSM students with Philip Klein outside of his studio, located in the Pasadena area.

They also had a private tour of E! News, hosted by on-air personality Melanie Bromley and colleague Melissa Parker. Our Mount students sat in for the broadcast of “Live from E!” and appeared live on air with Melanie and her co-hosts Carissa Culiner and Will Marfuggi. Afterward, they met with all three hosts for an in-depth discussion on communications and journalism, career choices, and the effects of social media.

Kristen and Julia both had the opportunity to step up to a microphone and deliver lines on the live show.

“When I was called onstage at E!, I was a little bit overwhelmed,” Kristen said. “There were three different cameras, so I had no idea which one I was supposed to look at. But more than anything, I was so excited to be up there. It was definitely an experience that I will never forget.” She said the whole experience opened her eyes to the work that goes into a broadcast that she had never considered before.

“Honestly in the moment I wasn’t nervous at all. I just went up, smiled, and read the lines — trying not to mess up — like I was a natural!” Julia said. “After the fact I realized the scale of people in the whole world who had seen me … I’m not usually one to go in the spotlight like that, but I definitely do not regret doing it as it was one of the best experiences of my life.” Julia explained some words of wisdom she held onto from Melanie Bromley: “She talked about how if you are scared to do something, that you should do it anyway to prove to yourself that you can conquer your fears. That really struck a chord with me and made me think more about my career since her job and the producers, writers, editors we saw at E! are jobs I’d be really interested in pursuing.”

Next for Fly By Fashion is a trip in April to New York City, where the firm will participate from students around the world in VE’s Youth Business Summit.

Watch the E! News episode here or skip to 0:25, 29:48 and 30:25 to see Mounties on live TV.

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