Three Salt Lake City fashion creatives discuss the impact of social media marketing

Story and photos by BRITT BROOKS

A swipe, a like, a comment, a follow.

To get a look at marketing in the 21st century, go no further than your smartphone. Today you can look at any online platform and find a person, product, or brand that sparks your interest. But the businesses that perhaps utilize social media the most are those in the fashion industry.

Whether it’s celebrity-sponsored posts, live streams of runway shows, or notifications for product drops, fashion can be an immersive experience now more than ever. The elite fashion gods such as Gucci, Versace, Chanel and Balenciaga all have millions of followers on social media. But what about the startups?

Three up-and-comers in Salt Lake City’s fashion industry gave insight to their experiences with social media. The impact can be positive or negative depending on how active users are with the content presented to them.

Sydni Zaugg sat in a window seat at Salt Lake Coffee Break, her platinum blond bob stood out against head to toe black clothing and silver jewelry. Zaugg, 19, is a college student who attended the International Fashion Academy (IFA) in Paris in 2017. The program spanned three weeks and allowed her to attend Paris’ spring Fashion Week in early March.

Zaugg said she wouldn’t have even known about the opportunity had it not been for Instagram. After following IFA professor and trend specialist Agus Catteno on Instagram, Zaugg realized her wish to be educated about fashion in France was a possibility.

Zaugg direct messaged (DM’d) Catteno and asked questions about her job at IFA and  the opportunities for classes. Without her connection to Catteno, Zaugg wouldn’t have had a welcoming person to show her the ropes, and probably wouldn’t have gone to Paris for classes in the first place.

Parisian fashion influenced Zaugg’s personal style. And it serves as her template for advising others as she pursues a career as a stylist and photographer in Utah.

Social media give Zaugg a platform to share her availability for styling sessions and examples of her work such as dark, moody and romantic photoshoots with friends and models. But as with everything, it isn’t perfect. Zaugg mentioned the downside of pursuing likes and comments: a loss of creativity.

Avant garde clothing still graces the runways, but Zaugg has noticed brands moving toward more streamlined, minimalistic styles. This can be attributed to regular trend cycles. But Zaugg sees it as a reflection of the heavy use of social media marketing. Current fashion can be more about who you are, not what you wear. Big entertainment names like Kardashian and Hadid can be more influential than the brands themselves.

The integrity of the fashion industry can quickly fall victim to the whims of celebrities and influencers. Copycats are bad for any creative-based industry. To combat this ever-present sameness, Zaugg has a perfect mantra: “Clothes should give you confidence to express yourself how you want to, not how everyone else dresses.”

Someone curating new and wearable pieces for women is Madison Martellaro. A 21-year-old senior at the University of Utah, Martellaro has already started a company. In April 2017, she began working on her online clothing store, Fleur Fashion Boutique. She can be seen wearing multiple pieces from her boutique’s line including jeans, bomber jackets and everyday T shirts.

Martellaro came into the fashion industry alone, with virtually no connections. After months of research and hard work, she was able to start her business and advertise through social media to grow a following before the boutique launched on Nov. 9. She credits her online following of nearly 1,000 people to creating brand awareness before items were even available for purchase.

To get a good idea of what her customers actually want, Martellaro used polling features on social media. Polls and comments influenced the way the boutique website looks and functions. For example, followers wanted to know the models’ sizes and dimensions as well as see the clothing from multiple angles. These are two details about Fleur Fashion Boutique that came directly from future customers’ wish lists.

During her first photoshoot, Martellaro held a livestream. The feature on Instagram enabled her to connect even more with her future consumers. “I want to show people really what goes behind a business,” she said. In a world where new competition crops up every day, a behind-the-scenes connection with followers is priceless.

Martellaro takes a lot of pride in curating pieces that women of all sizes can wear and personalize. One of her biggest goals is to sell clothes that can be worn day to night, and look glamorous no matter the occasion.

Packaging is an important part of her brand’s final presentation and delivery. For a cohesive image, all clothing and accessories come wrapped in tissue paper with the greeting “Hello Beautiful” in bold font on the outside. Fleur Fashion Boutique encourages its recipients to take selfies with their deliveries, creating a wider community of people that talk about the products.

“That was the biggest thing for me,” Martellaro said, “making sure women felt empowered and special.”

Keeping a cohesive and unique image is one of the top priorities for Davis Hong. A polished and composed 24-year-old, Hong graduated from Salt Lake Community College with a design degree. Sitting in a wrap-around black coat of his own design, Hong said he likes to wear his own creations.

Recently rebranded under its new name, BYSHAO has been in the works for over two years, and is set to launch in 2018. Hong has made huge strides toward creating his ideal company and style.

Sustainable, ethically sourced materials are of utmost importance for BYSHAO. Only natural fiber fabrics like cotton and linen blends are used in the designs. To avoid creating more waste on our planet, Hong prefers working plant-to-piece with certified organic materials, and avoids polyester. Natural textiles and humane working conditions are the core of his passion for sustainable clothing, and it’s something he’s sticking to.

The pieces of BYSHAO are best described in Hong’s own words as minimalistic, gender-neutral and timeless. Specializing in overcoats and tops, BYSHAO is both modern and classic with structured silhouettes and neutral colors.

Participating at the 2017 Art Meets Fashion show in Salt Lake City, Hong’s brand was one of the five main shows. Events like this help secure a following that he hopes will subscribe to BYSHAO’s e-newsletter. Emails are more of a personal connection with consumers, directly informing them about lookbooks and future sale dates. A great way to foster a connection that leads to loyal customers is to start on platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

As Hong’s demographic isn’t necessarily in Salt Lake City, he finds it important to get to know his followers through social media. He mentioned his use of geo tags, event announcements, stories and live videos to view people from the other side of the planet. “You can basically be right there and see the people there as well,” Hong said.

Networking locally and internationally has furthered Hong’s knowledge and increased the presence of his brand. Social media form connections that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. He’s found photographers, models and hair and makeup professionals to work on photo shoots and runway shows.

The internet is a fantastic way for startup businesses to get their name into the hands of others. “Social media is very much an open portfolio,” Hong said. The ability to view others’ work passively before making real-life connections is something new to the world. This can acutely affect professional creatives, as a lot of their work can be judged from a 5-inch screen.

Without social media tools, Hong would have had a much harder time making local and international connections in the fashion industry. It’s unlikely that Martellaro would be the owner of a business she built from scratch at such a young age. And Zaugg never would have known about the opportunity to study fashion in Paris, or launch her career as a stylist.

Connecting with customers, mentors and possible collaborators — no matter where they are in the world — is perhaps one of the greatest online inventions of all.

Healthy living starts much sooner than your graduation luncheons

Sunflower Market Weekly Flyer, advertising their consistently low prices on produce.

By Rebekah-Anne Gebler

SALT LAKE CITY—Equipped with energy drinks and sleeves of Hot Pockets©, many of today’s graduates are entering the real world unprepared.

With graduation only a week away, the students at the University of Utah would do well to learn about proper nutrition before tossing their caps.

“Their lifestyle now dictates their lifestyle in the future,” said Dr. Beverly Bradshaw, a registered dietician and a faculty member of the nutrition department at the U. of U.

Learning to eat healthy as a college student will allow you to teach your children good eating habits, said Bradshaw.

“Habits and routines don’t change that much once you leave college,” said Bradshaw.

If students understand how to manage their health, stress, and nutrition in college, they will be more successful when they graduate, said Bradshaw.

Bradshaw explained that every student at the university should take a nutrition class. Even the most basic ones at the U. give students the information they need to make healthy choices.

These classes also help students understand the “why” of choosing healthy foods. A nutrition class also explains how these foods function in one’s body.

“The digestion part of this is key,” said Bradshaw.

Food is the thing that determines if you have good or poor digestion. Digestion will dictate how good or bad you feel during the day.

“Portion control and selection of food is very critical,” said Bradshaw.

Packing lean protein, fruit, vegetables and/or complex carbohydrates helps students from giving in to the temptation of a vending machine.

Exercising regularly will also deliver positive results to students, both now and later in their lives.

Studies have shown that students who enroll in physical activities “have higher GPA’s, graduate at higher rates, and take more credit hours than those who don’t participate,” said Mary Bohlig, the Campus Recreation Services Director.

Ms. Bohlig discussed how scheduling daily exercise “reduces stress, improves sleep, and has a cause-effect on work production.”

Mary Ungricht, a piano performance graduate from the U., is currently enrolled in a Zumba class and has taken gymnastics and spinning in past semesters.

Even with her busy schedule, Ungricht felt the need to stay active as an undergraduate.

“College age is one of the most active and hopefully healthful times in life.  By eating better, you are taking the initiative to be healthy for life, not just for the moment,” said Ungricht.

Ungricht learned about nutrition content and portion control at a young age because she is a type-1 diabetic. Her awareness carried over to her life in college and as such, she is finishing her pre-requisites for the nutrition graduate program at the U.

Though many students may have awareness like Ungricht, they face the problems of preparation time and money issues when choosing to purchase healthy food.

It’s much faster—and falsely—cheaper to go to fast food restaurants or even heat up frozen meals instead of taking the time to prepare food by hand.

As students enter the last week of school, choosing between an apple and apple pie should not be a light decision. Making nutrition and exercise a priority now will not only assist students during college but in the many years to follow.

ASUU Elections Lead to Election of the “Passionate” Open Party

Every spring semester students at the University of Utah run campaigns, vote and decide on the new administration for the Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU)., the student government of the U of U. Throughout the year ASUU hosts free concerts, food, movies, dances, parties and more for students. The events are all free to students because student fees and tuition costs pay for all of the events, including stipends for key members of ASUU.

This semester, Geneva Thompson was elected as ASUU President through the Open Party, one of the student-run campaigns. The elections typically take place over the course of a few weeks, and no one is able to campaign before the allotted time. Or they will be disqualified. Students vote via their Campus Informational System (CIS) pages, and majority rules.

ASUU is divided into several areas, including Presenter’s Office, which puts on the majority of events for ASUU throughout the year, the Student Legislature, which consist of the student Senate and student Assembly, and the Executive Cabinet. In all, there are roughly 200 students involved in student government each year, which does not include the number of volunteers and student clubs and organizations. All members of the Student Legislature are elected each spring by the students of the colleges they represent and serve for a term of one year.

Hilary Roberg was selected as the ASUU Director of Campus Relations, which is a part of the Executive Cabinet for the 2012-2013 school year, and her various duties include presenting as needed for different groups who are curious about ASUU, participate with Homecoming, inform student groups about elections, student group trainings and running the Student Choice Awards. Roberg’s “main goal is to strengthen the connection between ASUU and its student groups.”

Roberg first got involved in ASUU as an Assembly Representative for the college of Science in 2010-2011. From there she got to know many of the inner-workings of ASUU and make some meaningful connections with student groups.

The elections did not run as smoothly as they could have this year, and the Fresh Party, the Open Party’s main competitors, was disqualified from running. They were charged with campaigning through the Greater Good Alliance as a front for the Fresh Party before the campaigns had officially started. The Fresh Party was thought to be the party of the greek system. When asked by the Chronicle about the disqualification, Geneva Thompson, ASUU President-elect, said, “I think we missed out on a lot of the fraternities that just didn’t feel that energy.,” referring to the elections after the Fresh party was disqualified.

Roberg continued to praise the Open party for their diversity, drive and passion when it comes to ASUU. “The only thing I can really say is to watch this administration. They are all exceptionally suited for their positions and have very ambitious plans.”

The new role of college students

Why they may be the answer to many of the world’s problems

By Rebekah-Anne Gebler

SALT LAKE CITY—“The Story of Stuff” video was created by one person, Annie Leonard, and a small team of co-workers in 2007.

Almost five years and more than 15 million views later, that video “is one of the most watched environmental-themed online movies of all time,” according to the organization’s website, With its easy-to-follow cartoons and understandable lingo, this is understandable.

Leonard’s efforts were extensive but those by college students don’t need to be.

Why college students’ actions are so integral to helping the planet was the topic of discussion at a lecture conducted by library accountant Carrie Brooks on February 29. The discussion was about a different video by Leonard called “The Story of Broke” and was part of the Green Bag Lunch Series held at the University of Utah’s Marriott Library.

“The Story of Broke” talked about where the majority of the money in the economy is going versus where it could be going.

Leonard said that instead of spending money on fixing problems, that money should be spent on preventing them.

The prime models for this need of priority changes are college students. Many are pressured daily as to where—and on what—they will spend their money.

“It’s just frustrating…There’s money to do it. It’s just a change of priorities,” said attendee David Maxfield, a senior library specialist.

Maxfield refers to the struggle that college students face daily. With consistently new technology from iPads to crackle nail polish, college students are enticed into spending money on things they want while the economy is begging for that money to be spent on preventing problems.

That’s why Brooks said that education is the main focus of lectures like the Green Bag Lunch Series.

“So many people have no idea why or what or how these things happen,” said Brooks, referring to today’s economic problems.

College students are also the influencers in this plan as well. Many students are at a point in their lives where they have to make their own decisions for the first time.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, 30.4 million 18- to 24-year-olds were enrolled in a 2- or 4-year college or university as of 2009.

Even if only 10 percent of those students were living outside of their parents’ home, that is still more than 3 million people who are flying solo in making their own decisions since leaving the nest.

The University of Utah’s Marriott Library recognizes that so many students are at a crossroad with their decisions. They act as the center and the source of sustainability for the campus, said Brooks.

Efforts like “The Paper Project”—a campus-wide recycle effort—and “Just Fill It!” –a water bottle-filling station project—were both started at the Marriott Library and were funded by Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund (or SCIF) Grants to aid students in their sustainability efforts.

The faculty and students involved in the campus’ sustainability efforts have created simple ways to help change many students’ habits.

Students can find resources on simple changes they can make in their lives, what the U. is doing to “Go Green,” and even give suggestions for new ideas to further these efforts on the “Greening the Marriott Library” webpage at

College students may feel pressured by the many different options of where to spend their time and money, but through simple actions, they can be the solution for tomorrow’s problems.