Behind-the-scenes New York Fashion Week experience solidifies future for Western fashion design student | WMU News

Contact: Erin Flynn
Julia LeKander stands in front of a black wall with white lettering that reads "NYFW" in large letters along wiht "Presented by erpay" behind it.

Julia LeKander represented Western at New York Manner 7 days: The Exhibits by the UofNYFW plan.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Walking down Fifth Avenue and examining out higher vogue boutiques, Julia LeKander pretty much experienced to pinch herself. The Western Michigan University style style and enhancement college student was recently whisked away for a once-in-a-life time expertise behind the scenes of February’s New York Style 7 days (NYFW): The Exhibits, rubbing elbows with the industry’s brightest stars.

“This was my first time in New York, and very little is heading to reside up to this!” LeKander suggests.

The winner of Western’s 2023 New York Trend Week Competitors, she acquired an all-bills-paid vacation to participate in UofNYFW, a collaboration concerning NYFW: The Exhibits operator IMG and CLC, the nation’s primary collegiate licensing agency. The working experience offers potential fashion leaders an immersive glance at the style market, including entry into pick runway exhibits, panel discussions and networking prospects with field leaders.

Together with about 30 learners from pick out schools and universities nationwide, LeKander had the possibility to show up at a runway display with an special glimpse at the new line by Tiffany Brown Layout and access the Ella Emhoff Likes to Knit! Pop-up Showroom.

“It was kind of surreal. One of my most loved issues to do through these manner months is to sit down at the personal computer and view videos as styles are coming out,” LeKander states. “Then, to really be sitting in the space and be one of these individuals in the audience that I’ve only at any time noticed on my laptop screen—wow.”

LeKander Poses for a photo flashing the Western "W" with her hands in the middle of Times Square.

LeKander frequented Times Square with other students taking part in UofNYFW.

In addition to the distinctive NYFW ordeals and opportunities to attend panel discussions with fashion industry industry experts, the pupils expended a day at major athletic fashion brand name and collegiate licensee Champion’s headquarters wherever they discovered firsthand how a clothing line is made and merchandised. The team also experienced the prospect to see top rated top secret layouts and prototypes for potential seasons.

“We talked with a print designer, which was actually amazing because which is anything I’ve picked up as an interest by way of my classes at Western. Being capable to see the course of action of how they go from inspiration for the prints all the way by means of enhancing, critiquing and finding it good tuned I imagined was truly neat,” says LeKander. “We definitely bought to discuss with the designers as people today, which was definitely awesome and a thing that I you should not feel I could have professional in any other case it was definitely special.”

She was ready to get a book loaded with speak to information and facts for a quantity of trend industry experts she interacted with courtesy of UofNYFW, an incredibly useful networking instrument as she appears to be like toward graduation in summer season 2023. LeKander also had a opportunity throughout some down time in New York to join over evening meal with the latest Western alumna Samantha Morehead, who gained the inaugural New York Fashion 7 days Competitiveness and is now residing out her dreams working for L’Oreal in New York Town.

“That was really wonderful to fulfill up with a fellow Bronco who was in my sneakers a 12 months ago and experienced that encounter and then carrying out accurately what she wants to do. And it appears to be to be heading truly very well for her. She’s been an inspiration for me.”

LeKander is the 3rd Bronco to get a trip to NYFW. Solution structure university student Grace Stibich went at the rear of the scenes with UofNYFW in drop 2022 as the runner-up to the inaugural competitiveness.

“Our intention for the UofNYFW faculty program is to deliver progressive encounters and once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunities to pupils at our partner institutions, which adds incredible benefit to the collaborating universities beyond our common part of brand name licensing,” says Cory Moss, CEO of CLC. “Since the inception of this unique plan, we have been honored to aid encourage and influence quite a few gifted pupils on their route to a occupation in the manner marketplace.”

“It is always interesting to present a team of brilliant college students the possibility to interact and understand from some of the best designers and professionals in the earth of manner at NYFW: The Displays,” adds Leslie Russo, president of IMG’s manner activities and qualities. “This collaboration with CLC and the collaborating universities aligns with our mission to supply prospects for potential leaders in the market and support the improvement of new views in the at any time-evolving manner business enterprise.”


LeKander’s route to a job in style was considerably less straight line runway walk and far more backstage scramble. Her whole everyday living, she’d planned on a profession in tunes, subsequent the sample laid out by various relatives members. But she stumbled onto a online video of a fashion demonstrate while scrolling on line one day and quickly changed her tune.

“I never know why I appeared it up, but I was just sucked in. It was like a twister,” she remembers. Now 3 decades later on, the transfer student has sewn a path to achievements from her mid-exhibit career alter, punctuated by an exclusive practical experience at just one of the fashion world’s most important situations. “If I hadn’t occur to Western, I really don’t think any of this would have been possible.”

She credits much of her achievement to the school in the vogue structure application as properly as her knowledge with the MODA registered pupil corporation. She’s participated in multiple MODA manner reveals, racking up a significant portfolio of exceptional clothes more than the a long time. The design and style that gained her the trip to New York, which experienced to incorporate sustainability with performance, was her most demanding to day.

“This venture was a genuinely good exercising in revolutionary thinking,” LeKander suggests. “It definitely pushed my patterning capabilities.”

Julia LeKander places a skirt she designed on a manequin.

LeKander created a “zero waste” skirt that can be manufactured out of a twin XL mattress sheet.

Realizing most college pupils have twin XL mattress sheets at the ready—and that they ordinarily close up in the trash after learners changeover from residence halls to apartments—she made a style to switch the bedding into a zero-squander wrap skirt.

“I wished to make a little something that was marketable, wearable, dimension-inclusive … a thing that was effortless to make and out of a materials that nearly all people has access to,” she claims.

She devised a formulation to plug in a waist measurement and make the skirt in good shape just about any figure. Now, she plans to compile her instructions and share the pattern with Western’s Business office for Sustainability so all students can have accessibility.

Western’s Place of work of Promoting and Strategic Communications is looking for the up coming scholar to stick to in LeKander’s footsteps. It options to host an additional trend contest in fall 2023 to send another pupil to UofNYFW.

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