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Model casting and Judging Weekend: Preparing for the 2024 Fashion Show

Models+gather+below+the+stage+for+food+and+drinks+and+add+any+finishing+touches+to+their+hair+or+makeup+ahead+of+The+Fashion+Show%3A+The+Suite+Escape%2C+in+C.Y.+Stephens+Auditorium+on+April+15%2C+2023.
Daniel Jacobi II
Models gather below the stage for food and drinks and add any finishing touches to their hair or makeup ahead of The Fashion Show: “The Suite Escape,” in C.Y. Stephens Auditorium on April 15, 2023.

The Iowa State University Fashion Show is in full swing for the show in April. Starting preparations five months in advance is key to having a smoothly running show. 

The casting process for The Fashion Show is long and tedious. This year, model castings were successful, with around 230 models auditioning. The Fashion Show modeling directors must cut that list down to 70 models every year. 

“We apply for a specific position through an application in early October, and by the end of the month, we attend our first meeting,” said Alexis Poor, one of four modeling directors for this year’s show and a senior in apparel, merchandising, and design. Poor did not get her position out of the blue. “I’ve been included in The Fashion Show for four years now, and the thing that I love most about the organization is the ability to grow in our roles and leadership skills every year.”

“The director positions are highly competitive and I was thankful to be offered a role this year because there were 60 students that applied for different director roles,” said Sydney Kirkwood, one of four modeling directors and senior in apparel, merchandising, and design. “Last year, I did not get asked to be a director, but I stuck around, and this year, I was successful,” she said.

Poor and Kirkwood will work alongside Sadie Schulte and Camryn Mosty, both seniors in apparel, merchandising, and design the other two modeling directors, for this year’s show. 

“The main events the modeling committee hosts to prepare for The Fashion Show include fit night and judging weekend,” Poor said, “At fit night, models and designers come together to match a model with each garment.” According to Poor, this process takes hours because each model is fitted in multiple looks.

Poor said that models can wear between one and five looks, so finding models who fit and complete each look is important to the designers and modeling directors. 

“Judging Weekend is the second big event that the modeling committee hosts; it’s ultimately a weekend for the guest judges to choose what garments win scholarships and other awards,” Poor said. Innovation and construction are important factors in these awards, so garments are shown anonymously. Preparation for judging weekend is underway as this happens weeks in advance and all models must be ready. 

Getting 70 models ready is the main task modeling directors must complete before show time. “We host multiple practices to prepare the models for the show,” Poor said, “We ultimately practice runway choreography for the upcoming show, as it changes every year depending on how many people might be in group collections and how many garments we show.” 

Finding models who are willing to work on their walk and can learn choreography is important for modeling directors.

“When running model casting, we look out for experienced models willing to work on their walk in a positive environment,” Kirkwood said, “We will start with the basics of walking, like keeping shoulders back and eyes forward to build off the basics; towards the end of model practices, they will be ready for rehearsal with the learned walking choreography.” 

The Fashion Show prepares directors for their future as well. “Being a modeling director will prepare me for my future because of the leadership opportunities I will gain from it,” Kirkwood said. “I will learn how to work professionally in a group with my other directors and effectively guide models through the show choreography.”

Models can also prepare themselves for their future during the show. 

“Going into The Fashion Show, I barely knew any of the models, directors, committee members, etc., so the professional setting really helped me communicate a lot more with people I don’t personally know and step out of that comfort zone,” Hayden Dumont said, a sophomore in marketing and model who stood out to the modeling directors this year. Dumont is walking in The Fashion Show for the second time this year.

Models in The Fashion Show get to show off designer looks by various students at Iowa State. “I wanted to model because of the sense of community and the creativity,” Dumont said, “It made me so intrigued that models get to show off such creative looks.” 

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