The annual Fashion Show returns with original student designs


Jacob Rice/Iowa State Daily

Contributors to the Iowa State University 2022 Fashion Show are celebrated on stage at the Stephens Auditorium, April 9th, 2022. 

What started as a small fashion show in a classroom on campus, and evolving to attract judges and designers from Marc Jacobs, Urban Outfitters and Patagonia, the Iowa State University Fashion Show has been a way for students to have their personally-designed garments revered and showcased to the public. 

Models and designers will take the stage for this annual event at Stephens Auditorium on Saturday, April 15 at 7 p.m.

Their hard work is selected by judges that work in the fashion industry and eventually displayed to a sold-out audience of 2,300 individuals, in addition to 1,000 viewers who stream the show online, according to the ISU Foundation. 

The Fashion Show (TFS) is able to successfully run and maintain this great stature due to the involvement of Iowa State students. This year, TFS has 15 committees composed of roughly 100 students with different jobs and focuses. Seventy models selected in a model casting audition are also included, all working to assist in a smooth-sailing production. 

In addition to the 100 committee members and 70 models, there are 50 designers, 40 directors and four producers, according to Sarah Bennett-George, faculty director. 

The committee members, directors and producers help run and plan the show while the models display the designers’ visions. With over 200 students involved, TFS is one of the largest student-run fashion shows in the nation. 

“Directors have usually, but not always, been involved in the show before, and they get a little more responsibility and freedom for their particular committee,” Bennett-George said. “The producers are at the top of the organizational chart. They have been involved in the show for multiple years, including at least one year as a director. It’s a real leadership challenge, and they grow a lot over the course of the year.” 

These committees are responsible for different aspects of production. They include art, alumni relations, behind-the-scenes, design, fundraising, gallery and display, modeling, music direction and tech design, philanthropy, photography, public relations and marketing, set design, social media, special events and finance. 

Some of the tasks included in the committees are community outreach, practice with the models and working with the garments and designs in the show. 

Becca Parker, philanthropy director and junior in apparel, merchandising and design, is responsible for managing and creating events that give back to the Ames and Des Moines areas. One event included obtaining donations through a thrifting event for Dress Success Des Moines, a global non-profit that empowers women for economic independence through professional clothing. 

“These events are a great way to support a community that has always supported us,” Parker said. “It is important for The Fashion Show to give back and make a difference in the area.”

Megan Lenzi, a model director and senior in apparel, merchandising and design, is in charge of training the models for the show. 

“We have practices and run through choreography,” Lenzi said. “Our team also assists in judging and casting the models.” 

At these practices, Lenzi added that the committee helps the models learn and clean up their runway walks. As the official show nears, dress rehearsals occur to help prepare the models for the event. 

Ellie Hauser and Sadie Besch, both design directors and seniors in apparel, merchandising and design, are responsible for how the models look on the day of the runway show. 

“We work with the models and student designers to get everything ready for the show,” Hauser said. “We dress and support all the models in what they wear.” 

Moreover, they also work on the models’ hair and makeup. Zig-zag hairstyles and brightly colored makeup looks are just some of the wild looks The Fashion Show produces.

“We work to make the models look great at the event,” Besch said. “We do their hair and makeup as well as fix and steam their clothes.”

Fundraising, volunteering and constructing the event are also other tasks and responsibilities that the committees focus on. 

Tickets for The Fashion Show are on sale and can be purchased on Ticketmaster or at the Iowa State Center Box Office.