Through a connection made at my internship, I was offered a position as the Shoes and Accessories Coordinator for St. Louis Fashion Week this fall. As someone about to graduate with a degree in fashion and wanting to go into event planning, this is absolutely perfect for me. The last couple years, I have helped out backstage for STL Fashion Week as a dresser. It is extremely exciting to now be a part of the back-of-house (BOH) crew throughout the entire planning process. There are some tasks that all of the BOH crew helps out with, but my main role is to pick out shoes and accessories for the designers that will be showcasing their collections. The day of the shows, it will be my responsibility to track all the merchandise and make sure it’s all in the proper order and on the right models. All the information that people need about Fashion Week can be found at saintlouisfashionweek.com. (Look for my picture and biography on there!)
This past Saturday, September 13, the model casting call took place. People that are already signed by modeling agencies came, along with independent models. We had a very good turnout and a lot of talented people come in. I was in charge of measuring and recording all of the model’s bust, waist, and hip sizes. Because there was continuously a long line, this had to be done very quickly, which I feel as if I accomplished. It made me feel very proud when Shannon, the overall producer, told me what great work I did. With all the upcoming Fashion Week meetings, parties, and shows, I will have many more fun stories to tell. Stay tuned!
The check-in process and runway
Earlier this summer, an amazing opportunity came my way. I was asked to help produce a fashion show by the director of the fashion merchandising department at Fontbonne, Mrs. Angie Liljequist. She knows that I want to pursue a career in event planning, so this would be a great way for me to gain more experience. I am so glad that Angie approached me about this. I have helped plan and run many events on campus, but this was my first public one, therefore a way to gain more exposure in the St. Louis area.
Janet Riehl is an artist who creates a lot of work that features women in clothing that celebrates African culture. She wanted a casual fashion show to correlate with her work, and have it run at the opening of her month-long exhibit at the Portfolio Gallery on Delmar Boulevard (the exhibit being titled Women and Wardrobe). This opening would also serve as a fundraiser for the gallery. I met with Janet earlier in the summer to discuss her vision and so that I could see her artwork. I also met with Robert Powell, the creative director of the Portfolio Gallery, in order to see the space I had to work with. The gallery is really neat place, which is a vintage three-story house. After these initial meetings, I proceeded with my work.
Angie let me borrow some clothes that the fashion merchandising department has on hand for the costume history class. They were all garments worn traditionally in African culture by men and women. I gathered additional clothes, shoes, and accessories to style these looks in a more modern way. I recruited four models to wear these looks. I had connections with each of these girls after they modeled for the fashion show this past spring that my fashion promotions class produced. In addition, I reached out to a local fashion designer, Amelia LaSalle. I thought her designs complemented Janet’s work well too. Amelia’s collection was displayed on mannequins (also borrowed from the fashion merchandising department, and somehow all fit inside my small car).
Janet wanted it to be a casual and free-spirited event. So, there was not a formal runway show. The models were each stationed in a different room, and were there to mingle with guests and give them information about the traditional use of the garment they were wearing. I am excited to say that the evening was extremely successful! So many people showed up and had a great time. I received many compliments and recognition. It was all a bit surreal. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and appreciative of all the help from Angie, Janet, Robert, Amelia, and the four models. Great connections were made that I hope to continue building on in the near future. It is thrilling for me to plan an event and see it come to life. More and more I have solidified the fact that event planning is my passion and what I want to do in life.
Myself with the models: Brittany, Alyssa, Latoya, and Quinisha
In order to get my degree in fashion merchandising, it is a requirement to complete an internship. And as hard as it is to believe, I am at that point in my college career. My internship is at a company called TalentPlus Universal, which was originally intended to be solely a summer thing. But, I am excited to say it has been extended into the fall! I am glad that they like me enough to keep me. I first found out about this internship opportunity back in February when I was at the National Association for Campus Activities conference in Boston. I spoke with a TalentPlus representative at a booth that was set up at a fair, and applied as soon as I got back home to St. Louis. My first official day was May 15.
TalentPlus Universal is an agency that is only located in St. Louis (in the Central West End, to be specific). There are four divisions within the company: TalentPlus Entertainment, Centro Models, TalentPlus Commercial, and TalentPlus Production Services. The agents at TalentPlus represent talent, which includes musicians, comedians, models, actors, hair/makeup stylists, and more. They are responsible for getting the talent bookings and handling their marketing. There are only 12 employees, plus three interns. It is like a family around the office because everyone works so closely with one another. There is even a TalentPlus pool party coming up. I’m really looking forward to that and getting to know everyone better outside the work environment.
Honestly, I can say I learn something new every day I am there. So much goes on between all four divisions. And I’ve never been in a setting such as this before, so it’s like a new world to me. Luckily, I’ve had the opportunity to see the way each division operates. I primarily work with Entertainment, analyzing and handling client social media and marketing. Within the Commercial division, I’ve helped film videos and edit them myself. This was a completely new and very exciting experience to me. Last, but not least, most days I work on my projects while sitting at the front desk. While there, I answer phone calls, process payments, and greet and direct visitors. I especially enjoy greeting models when they come in for photo shoots and model scouters traveling from other major fashion cities. There is definitely never a dull moment at TalentPlus!
You may not know it, but St. Louis is somewhat of a force in the fashion industry. As a student in the fashion merchandising department here at Fontbonne, it was my turn this semester to enroll in the “Promotion in the Merchandising Environment” course. A group of fourteen students, myself included, have been working on our fashion show “Strutting St. Louis” since the beginning of the semester.
“Strutting St. Louis” was an idea the class came up with together as a team through much debate and thought. Our show, as one can tell by the name, is St. Louis themed. Each scene of the show was influenced and inspired by a local landmark of the city. Such scenes include Forest Park, The Loop, Ballpark Village, Botanical Garden, and The Fabulous Fox.
Model casting calls, rehearsals, promotions, and a lot of hard work later and it was showtime. This year the fashion show collaborated with FAB’s Springfest. We held “Strutting St. Louis” outside in the quad of Fontbonne’s Library at 4 p.m. on the 25th of April.
The show was great! I was placed on the promotions committee for the show, therefore the majority of work I had to do was before the day of the show. I worked with the flyers, program, press release, and other “public relation” type aspects of Strutting St. Louis. I was thoroughly pleased with the work my class put in and delivered to the university. It was great to see it all come together last Friday. Check out a few of the photos and promotional items below. Fontbonne’s Instagram page also has some great images of the day! http://instagram.com/fontbonneu#
A promotional email image for the window display advertising the show
Thanks for reading..