The Fashion Show chooses menswear brand for guest designer


Abby Patterson

The Fashion Show chose to feature a men’s-based designer, which hasn’t happened since 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.

“[Rosborough] was kind of familiar with how the show works and to what magnitude the show is at,” said Emilee Meyer, senior in apparel, merchandising and design and an outreach producer for the Fashion Show.

By learning more about Greg Rosborough’s background at the Meet the Judges event last year, Anderson was confident the brand would help them achieve their goal for this year’s show.

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

A big fashion game-changer that helped Abasi Rosborough stand out from the crowd was changing how tailored suits are made. Like the idea of the “Swuit” featured on the TV show “New Girl,” the company dived into the suit-tailored business to create a more comfortable, athletic approach to tailored suits.

“One of the things that stood out for me is that [Abasi and Rosborough] really noticed that men’s suits, suit jackets are not moveable. They do not have a full-range of movement,” Anderson said. “They decided to go into the suit-tailored category because they wanted to create suit jackets and pants that were moveable when you were, for example, holding onto a railing on the subway.”

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.

“We really want to push a lecture this year, either a big university lecture or a small College of Human Sciences lecture,” Anderson said. “They want to visit classes and try to see what they can provide to students and what students can provide for them. Greg [Rosborough] and Abdul [Abasi] said they love talking, so they are more than willing to talk to people and they just think it is really beneficial for each side.”

Not only does Abasi Rosborough get recognition, but so does Iowa State’s apparel, merchandising and design program. The Iowa State merchandising program is ranked No. 2 in the nation, and the design program is ranked No. 8.

“A lot of people do not realize we have [new, high-level technology for fashion programs] in Iowa, so that’s where it was our job to show them that we do have that experience for our students, and it makes it worth their trip to recruit or reach an audience,” Meyer said. 

By embracing diversity in the fashion world, The Fashion Show hopes to draw in a new audience with the high-end menswear brand.

“This year we have more men’s looks than honestly ever before,” Meyer said. “We really wanna show that menswear is also a category [in fashion] and we want it to grow to the extent of what women’s fashion is, so we think this would be a great way to get there.”