UNI's TAPP fashion show struts into its 20th year

April 21 marked the 20th anniversary of UNI's Textiles and Apparel Program (TAPP) annual fashion show. The show, "Catwalk to the Big Top," featured apparel designed by students currently enrolled in the program, as well as alumni.

UNI's TAPP fashion show
A modern circus theme was seen at this year's
TAPP fashion show.

Students in TAPP often see this fashion show as the culmination of all of their hard work throughout the year. The theme of the show was the modern circus and featured pieces had to be well constructed and trend appropriate in order to make the final cut. The designs at the show met the expected whimsy of the circus theme. Rachel Foote, a freshman majoring in textiles and apparel, created a dress made of melted pill bottles. These unlikely materials presented a fresh look at common conceptions of the forms apparel can take.

The finale of the show featured apparel designs from companies that currently employ past TAPP graduates. This included work from individuals at Cabela's, Target, Maurices, Betsey Johnson and Ralph Lauren Polo.

TAPP alumni are held in high regard by those currently involved in textiles and apparel at UNI. Past graduates are often responsible for linking students to internships and employment. Annette Lynch, TAPP director, spoke highly of the alumni. "This year we have internships in Hong Kong, LA, NYC, Minneapolis, and other cities, in large part due to our loyal crew of alumni working to help TAPP graduates get a start in the industry." This allows current students to get a foot in the door of the textile and apparel industry, where the competition for real world experience is fierce.

Katie Miller, a senior majoring in textiles and apparel and marketing:sales, is one of the students seizing the connections alumni provide. Next year she will be a quality assurance intern with Cabela's in Hong Kong. For eight weeks, she will visit production factories in China and work toward forecasting fabric needs for the company and the related costs. Katie made it clear that this chance was once in a lifetime, "I knew if I turned it down I would regret it later." This internship made its way to Katie through UNI alumna, Melissa Ilg, who is a quality manager for product development for Cabela's.

Student intern Kait Juhl, a senior majoring in textiles and apparel, has also benefitted from alumni connections in the industry. UNI alum Andrew Pries currently works for the eccentric and quirky designer Betsey Johnson and was able to open the door for Juhl. She strongly credited the alumni of TAPP for these opportunities. "They feel for us. They have faced our struggles and know what kind of industry we are trying to enter. Without the assistance from the alumni, who got my name to the top of the list, I would not have been as fortunate."

The annual fashion show exhibited the hard work students put in to their pieces. This year the 20th anniversary of the TAPP fashion show gave a special nod to all of the alumni who make an impact on and off the catwalk.