What you need to know before the Fashion Show

Abdul Rosborough

Abdul Rosborough

Maggie Curry

The Fashion Show, a student-run organization on the Iowa State campus to showcase student designers, has been preparing for the 2017 production since just two short weeks after the 2016 show last spring. The show will be Saturday, April 8.


The Fashion Show chose to feature a men’s-based designer this year, which last happened when the 2012 show featured Todd Snyder. The guest designer for this year’s production is Abasi Rosborough.

Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough started the Abasi Rosborough brand after meeting at the Fashion Institute of Technology, graduating together in 2008.

According to the Abasi Rosborough website, the two designed for Engineered Garments and Ralph Lauren before deciding to combine their military and athletic backgrounds to develop their first collection for autumn/winter 2013. Greg Rosborough was a guest judge for last year’s Fashion Show and helped the company stand out as a leading contender for the guest designer spot.

“When we started the whole guest designer process, we wanted a lot more menswear looks — that was our goal,” Maggie Anderson, outreach producer for the show, said. “Their company style and their aesthetic is very athletic, casual, futuristic and comfortable with that more suit-tailored look.”

As a guest designer, the company’s responsibilities for the Fashion Show include staying for three full days in preparation for the show, providing 25 to 30 garments for models to display and feature their latest fall/winter collection during intermission of the show.

What’s in it for the designers? The Fashion Show promotes the guest designer’s brand, bringing in more clientele and college-graduate talent.


Iowa State students of all ages and majors can become a designer for the show, but they are not able to choose their models and fit their designs to their chosen models until Fit Night a month before the show. 

“This event allows [designers] to see the model’s sizes and measurements, then selecting a model that they feel would best fit their designs,” said Sarah Waigand, senior in apparel, merchandising design and one of the design directors. “They can then try their garment on the model and make the alterations accordingly.”

To officially become a designer for The Fashion Show, an Iowa State student needed to submit their collections at Initial Garment Turn In held the day before.

“Having Initial Garment Turn In the night before allows designers to get checked in and fit their models faster and more smoothly on Fit Night,” said Jessica Helberg, sophomore in apparel, merchandise and design and one of the design directors. “There is no age limit or major, minor requirement to participate in The Fashion Show. Just as long as they are an Iowa State student or a graduate from the most previous semester, anyone is welcome.”


The judges are four industry professionals. They come two weekends before the show for several events. The Meet the Judges event is held for the public, when the judges are able to speak and mingle with attendees.

Then is Judging Day, when the judges pick the designs that will be featured in The Fashion Show. This year’s judges are Sarah Clapper, a market planner at Gap, Tina Wagner, a freelance designer and color specialist in Los Angeles, Maranda Nichols Persico, a costume designer and James K. Ryan, a retired creative director of U.S. Polo Association.


The Fashion Show requires more than $45,000 to produce it each year. The Fashion Show was fully funded this year prior to ticket sales, in part because of the FundISU campaign page for the group. 

“This is our very first year that we have ever had a fully-funded show before the year has started, which is amazing,” Emilee Meyer, outreach producer for the show, said. “We don’t even need to raise a penny to fund the 2017 show this year and are contributing all of this year’s donations to the 2018 Fashion Show.”

The Fashion Show offers several scholarships to students participating. This year, the Fashion Show received its largest scholarship to date from Iowa State alumna Ana Hays McCracken.

McCracken gave $100,000 toward the Ana Hays McCracken Fashion Show Producers Scholarship, awarding The Fashion Show producers for leading one of the largest student-run organizations in the nation.

McCracken is a 1984 Iowa State University graduate in fashion merchandising. After graduating from Iowa State, McCracken went on to become a writer and is currently the executive director of the Thistlewood Foundation in San Francisco.

“I am very honored to be one of the first set of producers to receive this scholarship,” said Alexandra Johnson, managerial producer for the show.  “It shows that we put in a lot of hard work and dedication into The Fashion Show and shows that this program and organization continues to grow and create leaders. It’s exciting to know that this will continue for future producers of the show.”


Traditionally the only way to view the show was by purchasing a ticket. The show sells tickets at the Stephens Auditorium Box Office. Typically the box office offers online tickets through Ticketmaster, but fees apply and online buyers cannot get group or student discounts available at the window.

This issue came up when greek organizations reached out to The Fashion Show about selling tickets online for high school students, as Greek Visit Day, a day showcasing the greek community to incoming Iowa State students, is the same day as The Fashion Show.

“If [high school students] want a student discount, they would have to go to the ticket office,” Johnson said. “Obviously, that’s really hard for students in high school who live a ways away — they are not going to drive an hour to two hours to go buy a ticket.”


The Fashion Show also has concerns about selling its apparel online to promote its show to an even bigger audience outside of Iowa State. It is currently only able to sell its merchandise in person through its pop-up shops and at the show. Pop-up shops will begin April 3. The events are: 

– Pop-Up Prom Prep April 3 @ the Salon

– Pop-Up Trunk Show April 4 @ Aspen Ames featuring Matilda Muse, Portobello Road and Boat House Apparel

– Pop-UP Shop April 6 @ 2320 Lincoln Way featuring Lululemon

To do this, The Fashion Show would need its own website and domain to sell clothing from. Student organizations have to follow the domain name system policy, so the organization would still have to go through the Iowa State domain.

“When you blend a student organization, class and a department affiliation of the [apparel, events and hospitality management] department, student organizations as a whole follow the same rules as departments,” Micalone said.

The problem going through the Iowa State domain is due to policies against third-party payments, such as PayPal and Venmo, which are for the financial safety of Iowa State students. Solutions are still in the works.