Dozens of students rush to set up chairs, fold programs, check lights, audio, and get camera-ready in the moments leading up to Eccles School Fashion Week. Hurried, but calm efforts, led by the Eccles School’s own Dylan Conklin, rapidly shape the Bill & Pat Child Family Community Hall into a proper runway bordered by neat lines of chairs, programs and anticipation-filled guests. Nervous energy aside, everything comes together and months of planning fall into line.
“It started back in the fall when a bunch of students and I were talking about fashion, and how there were so many…mistakes in the business sector, and how we wished we could correct them,” Conklin notes between directing some students to fold programs and others to set up the lights for the photo shoot. An ambitious undertaking to be sure, especially considering, as Conklin points out, “Having so many ideas and figuring out logistically what we could do in a short time. We’ve never put on a fashion show, and there’s no template online for one.” Add to that the goal of inclusivity and diversity, deftly achieved by those planning, running, and walking in the show.
Amidst all the business of pre-show setup, it’s almost easy to forget about the Corporate Outreach Student Ambassadors entering and exiting the Hall. Jeff Letsinger adjusts the audio for the playlist while Haley Pierce rushes to make sure the student models are matched with their respective ensembles, before she runs to class. “We wanted to reach out to retailers so we called them and visited them in stores. Brooks Brothers and Banana Republic responded enthusiastically. They rented us clothes which we just picked up yesterday.”
Calm under pressure, “Cutting it close, that’s what we do.” Pierce would go on to note the generosity of Brooks Brothers and Banana Republic, appreciating that they were really willing to help us out. We got to shop for the clothes and pick them out, bringing measurements for the models.” Trying to match clothing with the personalities of the various models was a highlight for Pierce, as was the photoshoot set up by NIYA Management.
Not totally sure what to expect as the show’s start time crept closer, NIYA’s help was fully appreciated. Conklin recounts, “NIYA management came in and did a whole run through about confidence and how to walk. We found correlations between fashion and business. In the modeling world, casting every day, NIYA pointed out what people look for within the first three seconds of meeting you and how to present yourself in a crowd.
A lesson certainly not lost on the student models, demonstrated by Jamen Christensen’s confident strut as the first model onstage in the opening Interview-themed section of the show. A few more models stroll down the catwalk, steps in cadence with the music. Attired in playful pops of plaid for Technology and Science, Jacob Ritter winked at the end of the runway. He was followed by Zahin Rahman’s blazer, and tastefully ruffled blouse as examples of what to wear in Finance and Accounting sector. Aman Kaushal looked professional and ready for a town hall in her blazer and skirt combo in the Government and Non-Profit section. Ready to entertain Sam Sholeff heel toed down the catwalk in a navy blue suit. Closing the show, the audience was treated to a start-up from the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, as Trapper Roderick proudly steps out in a custom bespoke blue suit from True Gentleman Suit Supply. A final walkthrough for all of the models brought a well-fitting end to the fun of the show.
The night was topped off with red carpet post-event photos, and lessons on how to tie a man’s tie The only question left for students: which ensemble to wear to their next job interview. Thank you to the Eccles School for such a spark of sartorial inspiration!