ISU alumnus returns to show collection at 2013 Fashion Show

Sara Schlueter

Brent Hannapel, alumnus of the ISU apparel merchandising, design and production program, was selected as one of the honorary guest designers for the 2013 Fashion Show. 

While a student at Iowa State, Brent set his sights high and landed a job with J Brand Jeans in Los Angeles after graduating in 2009. Even though Hannapel enjoyed the many design classes the program offered and learned much from them, his internship is what got him a job.

“Doing an internship with J Brand Jeans my junior year got my foot in the door,” Hannapel said. “I’ve been at J Brand for four years now and am very happy.”

Hannapel’s current position within the company is working for men’s denim as a senior product developer. As the senior product developer, Hannapel works on many aspects that result in the final designs of the products such as cost and specification sheets.

“I really get to help make the men’s division of J Brand continue to grow every season,” Hannapel said.

J Brand, which began in 2004, was a relatively new company when Hannapel joined the team in his internship and career. Being a part of a new label and company gave Hannapel different opportunities and experiences that a bigger label wouldn’t have offered.

“I got to learn every aspect of the business and choose my own path. I learned every side of producing and designing a jean. We even have some manufacturing in the basement of the building,” Hannapel said.

J Brand’s edgy brand image was seen firsthand by the audience members at the fashion show, when student models strutted down the runway in the company’s new designs for spring. 

“Our style is based in premium classics, with a dark, clean aesthetic. For both men and women, it’s a powerful sexy look,” Hannapel said. 

During his time at Iowa State, Hannapel also created looks for the Fashion Show, and now has the opportunity to see what current students are creating as a distinguished guest.

“I was definitely honored to be selected to be the guest designer for the show. I have maintained a good relationship with Iowa State and this experience is nice and reaffirming to be proud of what I do.”  

With grauduation just around the corner, and students searching for jobs in the fashion industry, Hannapel understands how difficult it can be, but also serves as an example that hard work pays off.

“You have to try really, really hard. It’s hard to make it, but if you excel at what you do, you can do what you want,” Hannapel said.