UI’s fashion design majors create an off-campus fashion show


When she and her fellow fashion design majors found out their senior fashion show had been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dayjah Lee said the group was devastated. The students were upset and angry with the situation, and there were a lot of tears, Lee said.

Every year, fashion design majors present a collection they create at a fashion show at Assembly Hall, Lee said. While they knew this year was going to be different due to the pandemic, she said it came as a shock when IU canceled her fashion show 10 days ahead of schedule due to the risk of being too crowded. . After that, Lee said that she and other fashion designers came up with the idea of ​​creating their own off-campus fashion show to launch their collections.

“Instead of wasting time being upset about it, we started doing something for ourselves,” Lee said. “Because, especially for most of us who are seniors, it’s our great chance to be able to have a show, and we wanted to be able to do something. “

The show premiered at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Fairfax State Recreation Area, where the group rented a lodge. The show lasted around 10 minutes as models from six different designers walked the red carpet in front of an audience of friends and family. Members of the public were asked to bring chairs and blankets to lie down on, and masks were required.

“Honestly, I’m just happy we got the opportunity to show our stuff,” said designer and senior Cassidy Benbow. “I know it meant a lot to all of us after spending countless hours in the studio, and I don’t think any of us have ever produced our own show before, it went really well.”

Lee said the show was an intimate and exclusive event. Everyone involved was discouraged from posting to the show on social media and inviting too many people. She said the show had to be kept a secret to keep audiences low, but also to keep anyone out of trouble.

Lee said the time constraint was a big challenge for the show’s production, as she and the designers spent many late nights in the studio working to put it together.

The designers used their own contacts and connections to help bring certain aspects of the show to fruition.

Designer and junior McKenna Yankel said her parents rented the lodge and designer and senior Jamie Westphal’s parents built a locker room for the area. The subclasses and the non-exhibiting people helped by creating the posters and getting it all organized, Lee said. The videographers and the group volunteered to work on the show, but Lee said audience donations would go to them.

“Everyone really came to work on this,” Yankel said. “Everyone got together and we all did everything we could to make it happen.”

In the end, the whole process allowed everyone involved to take on new roles as producers. Lee said it’s cool to have creative freedom for the show, something that designers don’t normally have a say on.

“I think the show’s cancellation is kind of a blessing in disguise,” Yankel said. “It made us not only designers, but now we are also producers.”


Joseph E. Golightly