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Shawn & Claire Buitendorp of VH1 Fame Speak at The Runway Fashion 411 Speaker Series

Thursday, February 18, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Eric Dimoff
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The Runway kicked off its first Fashion 411 Speaker Series of 2016 with guest speakers, Shawn and Claire Buitendorp, established designers of Shock and Awww and winners of VH1’s hit reality competition, ‘Twinning'.

Michigan native twins, Shawn and Claire, shared insider advice with fashion-forward students, entrepreneurs and startups about their journey from their hometown of Grand Ledge to burgeoning designers in New York City. They shared how to start a business in today's fashion industry, promoting your brand and tips and tricks for making your brand successful.

"We did not know how to sew until college; as we started moving into our junior and senior year [of high school] we started embracing fashion. This is something we really love, but is it something we can do? We got a full scholarship to Lansing Community College. Maybe we should try the fashion technologies program, if we don’t like it so what, at least we didn’t waste anything. We started classes and we learned to love it," said Shawn Buitendorp.

The Buitendorp twins talked about their experiences in the beginning stages of developing Shock and Awww. They shared several major milestones in promoting their brand such as getting Katy Perry to wear their designs, interning with international designer Betsey Johnson and securing a spot and winning VH1's 'Twinning'.

The winnings from the show "enabled us to move to New York City and to make Shock and Awww the brand that we want it to be," added Shawn. "We moved to New York because the manufacturing is fantastic, there are people there that want to wear our clothing, and we can network with other young designers and start making this into a ready-to-wear brand."

The twins plan to launch their ready-to-wear collection, made not for celebrities, but for the average woman or man, in September 2016.

The Fashion 411 Speaker Series is designed to highlight individuals sharing their stories of success as well as failures. Learning from others is critical to the success of budding entrepreneurs and this series is designed to motivate, inspire and teach start-ups in the fashion industry and beyond.

Upcoming speakers include:

  • May 17: Kevin Walden, stylist and owner of Kev Couture Fashion Inc.
  • August 16: Amy Peterson, owner of Rebel Nell.

The Fashion 411 events are held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at The Runway. The event is $10 to the public. Seating is limited.

More information on The Runway can be found at For questions about this and future programs, contact Quin D. Stinchfield at or (517) 230-2942.


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