Students prepare for Fusion Fashion Show

Avani Patel

As a junior designer and assistant to the head of show production for the University Fashion Group, I am beginning to understand just the tip of the iceberg of the UT fashion show — an event produced annually since the inception of The School of Human Ecology. 

Seniors on the apparel design track of the Textiles and Apparel Division will show five looks from their body of work in the UT Fusion Fashion Show April 23, produced by the University Fashion Group. 

What started as a variety of presentations to an intimate audience has grown into a professional event at the Frank Erwin Center, with experienced models provided by Webber Productions, an audience upward of 5,000 guests and televised broadcasting on Time Warner Cable’s Longhorn Network. This growth has been supported by the University Co-op’s financial support and the increasing involvement of students in the University Fashion Group.

The University Fashion Group has grown in scope and responsibility for the fashion show, and today the organization is the main producer of the event — building the stage design, developing marketing and PR around the event and coordinating back-of-house functions.

What started as a small band of students in 1978 has grown into a large organization with head, assistant and associate officers as well as general members. The organization serves to link members of all majors in the fashion tracks, bringing guest speakers to meetings and working backstage for local fashion shows as well as during New York Fashion Week. In the spring, the organization focuses on producing the UT fashion show, which is named UT Fusion this year. 

The organization names the fashion show every year based on submissions from general members. The current president, Ronit Joselevitz, has held several officer positions in the University Fashion Group and showed her collection as a senior designer at the UT Spectrum show last year. 

Serving all these roles, Joselevitz has “‘seen how the University Fashion Group has worked together to create a larger hype and plan a bigger fashion show through the perspective of a member, officer, designer and now president. It’s definitely helped [her] grow in terms of career path goals and has showed [her] just how multi faceted fashion can be.”

Distinguished senior lecturer Eve Nicols has been the director of the UT fashion show since her arrival at the University, and she heads an advanced event production course that meets twice a week, a requirement for UFG officers. 

Nicols believes “there are fashion shows in all parts of the fashion industry, so getting this experience is invaluable for several career choices. Leadership and event planning opportunities lead to work opportunities in the future.’” 

Students here at UT engage in show production and professional photo shoots as well as work with University administration and corporate sponsors, such as Lexus of Austin and Cotton Incorporated.

When I was a freshman, the University Fashion Group provided a community to unite fashion-minded students. As I was taking general core classes, the group allowed me to meet students I would spend much of my time with as I progressed through the program. 

As the assistant to the head of show production, I work with local hair and makeup salons to channel looks for our senior designers’ fashion show and photoshoots. I also help produce the show in terms of music and other aesthetic choices. 

The show production team serves as the liaisons between the fashion group and senior designers. As a junior designer, I will be participating in the Lexus of Austin Design Challenge, for which I will show a look which transitions from day to night. Twenty-nine junior designers will showcase their looks in the presentation room at the Frank Erwin Center, and the top 10 looks will be chosen to walk the runway. A text-to-vote poll will help decide the winners, who will receive scholarships from Lexus of Austin.

The senior designers have taken several design and presentation courses to prepare for the show. They each have developed an activewear look, which ranges from technical, functional sports to creative looks such as beekeeping and fan dancing. Additionally, each designer shows an evening wear or bridal look, as well as a three-look capsule collection.

Several fashion industry members in the Austin area critique these looks during “panels,” or presentations in which the designers discuss their inspiration and design process for their work. The fashion show provides them with an opportunity to have their work viewed by a large public audience as well as experience what fashion events will be like in the industry. 

The UT Fusion Fashion Show will be held April 23 at the Frank Erwin Center at 7:15 p.m. Admission is free, and all are welcome.

Patel is a business honors, finance and textiles and apparel junior from Sugar Land.