An inside look at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week


Courtesy of Katelyn Herlein

Models walk the runway at the Rebecca Minkoff runway show, where Katelyn Herlein said Minkoff produced more polished versions of her past collections, with pretty pastels and super-refined cuts.

Mariah Wellman

Iowa State students and alumnae have been preparing for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week for months — the event, which started Feb. 6 in New York City, forecasts trends for fall 2014.

Jordan Callahan, senior in apparel, merchandising and design, has been interning with the design team for Tory Burch since January. She works with the prints and color team that includes three print designers and two colorists.

To help prepare the team for New York Fashion Week, Callahan helped the wovens design team. She sourced fabrics, trims, beads and buttons for samples in the sample room.

“It requires a lot of errands and trips to different fabric stores in the garment district,” Callahan said. “I have been running around midtown like crazy.”

Although it can get hectic, Callahan said she loves helping out.

“I love sourcing fabrics, trims and beads because even though you are told specifically what you need to find, it gives you an opportunity to be creative and throw new ideas out there,” Callahan said.

Katelyn Herlein, E-commerce editor for and ISU alumna, was at New York Fashion Week for four days where she attended the shows of designers like Charlotte Ronson, Kate Spade and Rebecca Minkoff.

“Twice a year I head to New York for Fashion Week to spot the next season’s trends and really push our social media platforms,” Herlein said. “It’s great to be able to share a little piece of New York Fashion Week with our readers and followers. It lets them know what’s going on and it’s a great way for them to be there vicariously through Divine Caroline.”

Herlein said her days started at 6 or 7 a.m. and she sometimes wouldn’t return to the corporate apartment until 11 p.m., where she said she would have at least three more hours of work left to do.

While in New York, Herlein was still responsible for her regular work for Divine Caroline as the E-commerce editor, and she also wrote daily recap articles for the magazine on what she saw and how she felt about Fashion Week.

“It’s a lot of work,” Herlein said. “But the feeling you get when you walk up the steps at Lincoln Center makes it all worth it.”

Going to Fashion Week, Herlein said, “you get to experience things one normally wouldn’t in the Midwest, like standing next to the world’s most beautiful and stylish people.”

Herlein said the most interesting thing about Fashion Week, aside from previewing the designers’ new collections, is people watching. She said she was sitting feet away from celebrities like Anna Kendrick, Carrie Underwood and AnnaSophia Robb.

Fashion Week is also a great time for fashion bloggers like Herlein, who operates her style blog Katalina Girl, to meet with brands, network and start a few collaborations. Usually bloggers will make an appointment to head into a showroom to get a sneak peek of the new collection.

“Designers even let bloggers borrow clothing to wear to their show,” Herlein said. “It’s all about appearance.”

Herlein said one of her favorite questions to be asked when she goes to Fashion Week is about what she wears to shows.

“New York Fashion Week is where you pull out the most fashion-forward, trendy pieces you own — the crazier the better,” Herlein said. “You want to wear the thing that will make people notice you. If it’s loud, bizarre, high-fashion and out there, wear it.”

For this season’s Fashion Week, Herlein was in New York for four days.

“After a few days of New York Fashion Week shows and other events I’ll have a good idea of what to expect for fall 2014,” Herlein said. “When I get back into the office I can share with my team what I saw.”

Herlein said she and her team use her findings to write pieces for Divine Caroline about trend forecasting, color schemes, hair trends, nail trends, makeup trends, fabrics and the overall aesthetic of Fashion Week.

“It’s another world out there,” Herlein said. “That’s for sure.”