TAPP fashion show: a cut above the rest

To execute a successful fashion show, there is an elaborate process.

Sew together dozens of talented design students, hundreds of yards of material, several spools of thread … and 19 years of previous success. The University of Northern Iowa Textiles and Apparel program (TAPP) had just that, as they held their 19th annual fashion show, "UNI Catwalk," on Saturday, April 9, in the Lang Hall Auditorium.

The show highlighted all the talent that went into creating a professional student-run fashion show for hundreds of attendees, and was an accumulation of months of planning, preparing, marketing and execution.

These students used high-tech software to complete their projects for the event.

"UNI Textile and Apparel Fashion ShowThis year we have a new fabric printer in the program," said Mackenzie Burger, an executive director of the 2011 TAPP fashion show. "This is exciting because we can design a print for fabric in Adobe Photoshop or Lectra Kaledo and use the fabric in our designs. We learn patternmaking and draping techniques to design the actual pattern pieces for garments."

In fact, the UNI TAPP program is the only textile and apparel program in the state of Iowa that uses industry-recognized, state-of-the-art Lectra Kaledo software, which allows designers to concentrate on creation and improve efficiency at each stage of the collections-development process. Students also use the textile department's new Digi Fab machine, which allows for the creation of fabric designs.

But without further ado … lights, camera, action!

For Burger, the highlight of the show is when the lights and music flash on and the first model walks out on the runway.

"That feeling of accomplishment when the show begins makes all the hard work and long hours worth it," she said.

This year's theme, "Mixtape," was developed to simulate a girl's favorite CD mix with all her favorite songs and featured five sections of designs inspired by hip-hop, indie, pop, classical and rock 'n' roll music.

"The theme incorporates songs from different genres, and you could listen to it over and over," said Burger. "We noticed a correlation between genres of music and different fashion trends, so developing that theme just made sense. It was a great experience working with my peers to narrow down such a broad idea and have the results be so profound."

Students focused their efforts on a variety of activities to ensure the event ran successfully. Student responsibilities included designing the stage layout and clothing items, marketing the event through the media, managing finances, planning the choreography and finding models for the catwalk.

While TAPP program puts on an annual spring fashion show, students learn more than just fashion and design.

"I've learned about all aspects of the industry," said Burger. "We learn textile science, history and business just to name a few."

The level of experience these students receive prepares them for the world after college.

"I feel more prepared to go out into the industry and believe this experience will open a lot of doors," said Burger. "The show is completely run by students, so if we drop the ball, there isn't anyone else to pick it up. It has been a lot of pressure, but we know that when we work hard, the results are phenomenal."

UNI TAPP Fashion Show