ISU students, alumnae take over Fashion Week in New York City


Photo courtesy of Erica Lansman.

Erica Lansman (center), senior in journalism and mass communication, modeled during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week for the Alice & Olivia by Stacey Bendet spring/summer 2014 collection.

Mariah Wellman

Models, interns and fashion industry professionals — ISU students and alumnae — were in attendance at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City last week.

In the past, it has been common for interns of certain companies to be asked to stay and work an extra two weeks to help out with Fashion Week.

Katelyn Hall, senior in apparel, merchandising and design, interned with Rodarte this summer and was presented with the opportunity to help backstage.

“I knew some interns were asked to go to Fashion Week in the past,” Hall said. “So I was eager to hear if I would be one of the interns that was asked to go.”

Hall was in charge of working backstage throughout the week to help in any way she could.

Other ISU students whose internships led them to Fashion Week include Mackenzie McArthur, junior in apparel, merchandising and design, who worked with designer Anna Sui, and Erica Lansman, senior in journalism and mass communication.

Lansman interned with PR Consulting, a fashion, beauty and lifestyle agency whose beauty team works with clients like Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci.

“Interning with PR Consulting was a whirlwind,” Lansman said. “My favorite experience was working a new product launch event for the Dolce & Gabbana Passioneyes Due Mascara presentation with Pat McGrath.”

Lansman was able to assist with set-up and display of the event; she also prepared gifts for editors and guests and made sure the event ran smoothly.

After working with PR Consulting, Lansman was presented with another opportunity.

“A mutual friend set me up with a meeting with the owner of a modeling agency, Frame, and they signed me that day when I began going on castings,” Lansman said.

Lansman booked a show with Alice & Olivia by Stacey Bendet for her spring/summer 2014 collection. She was able to model for Alice & Olivia, as well as go to test shoots and start her modeling portfolio.

While Lansman experienced fashion week from on stage, Hall helped in any way she could from backstage.

“Rodarte doesn’t have a studio in New York, so we had to do everything from setting up the studio with supplies to unpacking the garments,” Hall said. “I also helped dress models for casting and fittings. “

Hall had previous experience with fitting models from The 2013 Fashion Show at Iowa State, where she worked backstage during the show.

“I was eager to see how a professional fashion show would be held,” Hall said.

Also experiencing New York Fashion Week for the first time was alumna Katelyn Herlein, director of social media and blogger relations for

Herlein was told just seven days before she left she would be jet-setting to Fashion Week to cover it for Meredith Corporation, a media conglomerate based in Des Moines, as well as for Divine Caroline.

“I’ll be honest: I was a little frantic at first,” Herlein said. “I had seven days to plan and prep. My clothing choices were the hardest.”

With Iowa temperatures still in the 90s, Herlein’s new fall wardrobe wasn’t quite ready for Fashion Week.

“I reached out to companies I’d worked with to send me their fall collections, which was a huge help,” Herlein said.

During the week Herlein attended shows, presentations, private showings, blogger events and parties, worked with brands to promote their lines, and covered street style for Divine Caroline.

“The entire trip was a challenge,” Herlein said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever felt more busy in my life.”

Directly after every show, Herlein had to write a story on the experience, send it to her editor and head off to the next show or event.

“It’s a lot of hustle and bustle,” Herlein said.

Preparing for fashion week was stressful for others as well. When Lansman was offered the opportunity to model for Fashion Week, she knew she would be missing two weeks of school.

“My professors were really understanding and seemed excited for me and the opportunity,” Lansman said. “I felt extremely fortunate, and I was thankful to be given the opportunity to come and work as a model during the most exciting time in New York for the fashion industry.”

Herlein was thankful for her time spent at New York Fashion Week, and would recommend anyone go if given the opportunity.

“I’ve learned a few things,” Herlein said. “Just because you have a ticket doesn’t mean you’re getting in; they give tickets over capacity all the time.”

Herlein recommended interns and others take business cards and make sure to take advantage of meeting new people by asking them who they are and what they do.

“I mistakenly didn’t,” Herlein said. “I found out later I had met the owner of a huge and successful online fashion website.”

The fashion industry is just like any other industry, where meeting people can make or break your success in the business. All three women said they shared the same opinion.

“Networking is the most important thing,” Lansman said. “You never know who you will meet that may lead you to your dream job.”