Backstage at the 2018 Fashion Show

Meccah Muhammad

A quiet anticipation filled the room as models of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds prepared to hit the stage for the 2018 Fashion Show. Behind the stage, Stephens Auditorium was an array of platform heels, pins, and hangers as students worked quickly to ensure models looked their best before walking the runway.

“I’m really excited,” said Mollie Henning, apparel merchandising and design. “There’s a little bit of nerves, but we were so well prepared by our modeling directors that I feel super confident.”

With commands no louder than a whisper; students and stage technicians ensured the show started seamlessly.

Adrenaline filled the room as the first set of models left the stage, only breaking form to be fitted for their next design. Referred to as “The Hair Guy” Alan Randall from The Salon in Ames handled hair and makeup in between sets.

Designers huddled around the flat screen directly behind the curtains watching their pieces hit the stage. A collective sigh of relief filled the room every time a model made it back from the main stage.

Samantha Fitzgerald, senior in apparel merchandising and design, described what it was like submitting garments for the first time.

“I just wanted to be a part of something so big.The great thing about the fashion show is you can submit garments into the show that you’ve made for class,” Fitzgerald said.

Models of the show had been preparing for the big day since December 2017. For many first time models, the months of preparation helped them overcome the nerves.

“We worked really hard and now to actually hear people cheering is a really good feeling” said Isis Esquivel.

Members of the design committee also helped out backstage by dressing models. Committee members assisted with the initial fittings, garment photos, and the final judging process.

One committee member highlighted her favorite part in the process.

“The adrenaline rush of the show, ” said Piper Head, apparel merchandising and design. “It’s kind of hectic, but it’s a lot of fun. Especially being able to see the screens, and hear the audience is really cool.”

The hard work backstage also seemed to bring the entire fashion show team closer. Models could be seen quietly cheering each other on from the side stage, and snapping selfies during the show’s intermission.

“I liked talking with people and all the committee members they were very nice,”  said Qiyao Xiong, apparel merchandising and design. “As an international student, I feel like I’m not lonely.”

The second half of the show ended with 30 designs from the guest designer Patagonia. Patagonia is an outdoor brand founded in 1973, their mission is to inspire students to get involved with helping to offset the environmental crisis.

“We have been absolutely inspired by the amazing dedication and hard work of this student body. It’s an event that I’m sure that any designer would be proud of as far as any professional runway that would be in Paris, New York, or Milan,” said Rebecca Shank, Patagonia Product Developer.

The theme of this years show, “Resilience”, was partially inspired by the Thomas Fire, a catastrophic fire that burned for a month last December in Southern California. Shank added that the 1700 students involved embodied what it means to be resilient.