I’m a tank-top and board shorts kind of guy, the type you might expect to see playing Frisbee at the beach or eating burritos out of the back of a truck. I’m definitely not the sort usually associated with high-fashion, and yet, somehow, I ended up working as a male talent coordinator for Penn’s Design to Show (D2S) Fashion Show, a fully student run presentation of professional and student designs which is part of Penn Fashion Week.
To give more background, I should note that I hope to work in new product design, specifically in either consumer goods or the toy industry, and almost certainly not in the fashion sector. I figured, however, that all good design works upon the same basic principles, and that working with fashion groups would give great insight into the design process. I am also a fan of models.
The night of the show was a very hectic one. We spent a hurried three hours preparing the Fiji House for the show. The theme was ‘America,’ so we dressed everything in red and blue, adding stripes and stars where we could, and set the chairs. As an artistically limited individual, I had no hand in applying make-up or re-fitting dresses, but instead got the task of hanging dresses. If you have never spent a solid hour hanging outfits, I highly recommend it. It’s very cathartic. Once the female models were finished with make-up (shout-out to sophomore M&T and model, Lucille), the males started to arrive. I had been assigned to all seven of the gentlemen who showed up, likely because I was the only male non-model helping in the production.
It became quickly apparent that the male models knew as much about modeling as I did, and thus we spent the rest of the night quoting Zoolander and making things up as we went.
At 8pm, the models were prepped, outfits were steamed, music was queued, lights were set, photographers were in place, people were seated, and the show was ready. Our director walked out in front of the crowd and gave a brief introduction. Then we sent our first model down the walk, quickly followed by a second and a third. As soon as a model made it off stage, we had them change outfits and prepare for their next walk. The entire show took no longer than thirty minutes, and was all-around a great success. Yes, we had some minor wardrobe malfunctions, and yes, we had some mix-ups in our lines, and yes, we did send underwear models back for a third consecutive round because we needed to buy time, but what fun would a fashion show be without these things?
All in all, I enjoyed my time working on the fashion show. From a design perspective, I got to spend some time analyzing what made one outfit more appealing than another and looking at current trends (surprisingly enough, its camo and sequins). I also met some nice people and made some great friends, and that’s always in fashion.
David is a current M&T sophomore in the Class of 2015. He is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics within Penn Engineering and has yet to declare his concentration in the Wharton School. In his spare time he runs the blog Bronuclear among a number of other things.