Thirty-six fashion merchandising students have worked to assemble runway outfits with floral patterns, wide-leg pants, flat sandals and other spring trends for the annual Neiman Marcus Fort Worth “Fashion Rules!” event today.
Patricia Warrington, associate professor of merchandising and textiles, said the university created an educational partnership with Neiman Marcus to give students the opportunity to design store window displays and produce fashion shows based on the department store’s 10 spring trends for 2011.
Neiman Marcus will hold the “Fashion Rules!” event, including the fashion show, inside its store at the Ridgmar Mall, Warrington said. The event is open to the public and begins at 6 p.m.
Being involved with producing a fashion show for the first time rather than only window displays allowed the Promotion Principles class to put classroom concepts and industry practices into action, she said.
“It’s the first time our merchandising program has done a show with Neiman Marcus as a course project,” Warrington said.
She said the Neiman Marcus public relations coordinator Aaron Wolfe, a 2009 strategic communication graduate of TCU, asked her about the fashion merchandising department’s interest in the show in December.
“[Wolfe] was describing to us the project, and it worked well with the curriculum in the course I teach,” she said.
Sophomore fashion merchandising major Hilary Rowe said she was excited about the fashion show.
“We’re getting the opportunity to style and see how much effort and time goes into producing [a fashion show],” she said.
But the first-time experience brought with it extra responsibility for students, Rowe said. Students are in charge of working with models, selecting merchandise, choosing a theme and creating an appropriate look relating to the theme, she said.
“We are in charge of picking the trends for each of the men and women, like the shoes, handbags and accessories,” she said. “Then, we are in charge of the models working on the runway while Neiman Marcus is in charge of hair and makeup.”
Warrington said the students had different themes but would focus on highlighting the different spring trends.
“Their goal is to incorporate [the trends] into the items they pull and draw on them to execute the overall theme,” she said.
Rowe said getting to run around Neiman Marcus to pick out outfits for the visual presentation was a great experience.
“It’s amazing to be able to see how a fashion show actually works, instead of learning how it might work in the classroom,” she said.
Warrington said one of the important lessons students would learn is how to understand consumers better.
“It doesn’t matter what brand you’re working with,” she said.
“You need to be able to develop your product, promote your product, price it appropriately and develop your marketing strategies.”
She said she believed the students were getting a real taste of understanding the Neiman Marcus customers by putting together their own selections for the runway.
“The purpose of fashion show is to sell merchandise and have fun,” Warrington said. “Students can take this experience with them whether they work in this industry or another industry.”
Rowe said she not only will be able to say she worked for Neiman Marcus but also that she gained experience in the business.
“This is the best thing that has happened to me at TCU,” Rowe said. “It’s hard to imagine anything beating working at Neiman Marcus.”