Student Combines Passion for Public Relations, Fashion, to Raise Awareness About Human Trafficking

Event Proposal for Fashion Show Began in PR Course

A project that began as part of a public relations course in Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) is now coming to fruition and raising awareness about human trafficking.

Mackenzie Lunde, ’16, a fashion merchandising major and public relations minor, first created an event proposal for UNCHAINED fashion show as part of her fall 2015 Public Relations Tactics course. UNCHAINED is a Columbus, Ohio-based company that brings awareness to human trafficking, one of the world’s fastest-growing illegal enterprises, through fashion.

Since the beginning of the spring 2016 semester, Lunde has been carrying out the event proposal she first drafted for class. UNCHAINED fashion show will be presented at 8 p.m. on April 4, 2016, in the Kent Student Center Ballroom, in partnership with A Magazine, Kent State’s student-run fashion magazine.

Though she didn’t initially have plans to carry out her proposal, after becoming promotions director for A Magazine and developing a passion for the cause, Lunde decided to see it through.

"I feel that human trafficking is known about, but not nearly talked about enough and I never realized how prevalent it is," Lunde said I became extremely passionate for both UNCHAINED and ending human trafficking as I learned more." 

Thanks to the practical lessons she learned in Public Relations Tactics, she felt prepared to carry the event out.

“I was prepared to think of every detail that goes into planning an event, as well as being prepared for every detail that could go wrong. I learned how to thoroughly plan each step and communicate with my client professionally.”

Her instructor for the course, Michele Ewing, APR, associate professor, said with all assignments, she encourages students to apply course concepts to actual communication challenges. Lunde’s 18-page proposal for class did just that: She detailed key objectives and publics, strategy and messages, a complete event execution and work plan, budget, potential partnerships and more. The result? Valuable practical experience that prepared her to put her plan into action.

"For the special event assignment, Mackenzie combined her passionate interest in the fashion industry and the fight against human trafficking,” Ewing said. “I’m so impressed with Mackenzie’s efforts to transform a class project into an actual event for such an important cause. It’s inspiring."

One day, Lunde hopes to similarly fuse her passion for public relations and fashion into a career. Upon graduation, she hopes to work in public relations at a creative agency, and said her work on UNCHAINED will help set her apart.

“This project will have a huge impact in helping me reach my career goals,” she said. “This event will prove that I can not only create a plan, but actually execute it as well. This has been an amazing learning experience, as well as the perfect real-world experience, to give me a competitive edge.”


UNCHAINED will be presented at 8 p.m. on April 4, 2016, in the Kent Student Center Ballroom at Kent State University. The show is free and open to the public, and is presented in partnership with A Magazine, Kent State’s student-run fashion magazine.

UNCHAINED is a Columbus-based 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to ending human trafficking through education and awareness. UNCHAINED was co-founded by Stephanie Catani and Felicia Kalan and currently has a staff of five part-time employees, four board members and relies on hundreds of student and community volunteers that serve as models, makeup artists, hair stylists, photographers, graphic artists, designers and many others.

UNCHAINED fashion show tells the story of a human trafficking survivor through garments designed by Season 5 Project Runway designer Korto Momolu, music and narration. The show was performed at Kent State University at Stark in September 2015. 

POSTED: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 2:49pm
UPDATED: Monday, March 28, 2016 - 4:32pm