by Jennifer Ellis
New York Fashion Week is what style connoisseurs of all ages dream of attending. The fast-paced hustle and bustle of the industry, designers you could never fathom being in the presence of, the boldest and most creative looks, all located in the best city.
For students at the University of Texas, the dream of attending New York Fashion Week has become a reality. Every year, University Fashion Group gives students in their organization the opportunity to intern at this highly coveted event. Erika Najera and Sydney Harklau, both third-year Retail Merchandising and Consumer Science majors in Textiles and Apparel, were graced with the opportunity to attend this year’s shows, and Spark is here to share their incredible experience.
Spark Magazine: How did you get the opportunity to attend NYFW?
Sydney Harklau: I am VP of Productions for University Fashion Group and I was able to actually plan the trip with my co-VP. We reach out to designers and production companies, and they are glad to have the extra help!
SM: What did you wear while in NYC, and how did you decide on the perfect pieces to bring?
Erika Najera: Working as an intern during fashion week is more different than attending a show, so although I wanted to dress up more than I actually did, I definitely had to choose between fashion and comfort. However, because fashion week was going on I definitely did feel pushed to take fashion risks I normally wouldn’t, for example, I don’t like to wear hats very much, however, I did venture out and wore a baker boy hat as they are on-trend currently. Fashion Week definitely allowed me to play around with fashion trends I otherwise wouldn’t.
SH: I wore all black and to make the outfit less boring I wore coated skinny jeans. I also brought my favorite basic sweaters that I could interchange scarves with since my huge coat covered most of my clothing! I also love the everyday New Yorker look which usually consists of classic outfits that are rather minimal which matches my personal aesthetic.
SM: What was your favorite moment from NYFW?
EN: My personal favorite moment from NYFW, was being able to see all of the behind the scenes action that occurred at the Kim Shui show. It was thrilling to be able to see so many different people come together to put on a successful fashion show, and being able to watch how every detail of the show from gathering all of the looks, model’s hair and makeup, and setting up the venue created a beautiful experience in which Kim Shui was able to showcase her amazing work.
SH: I love the rush of being backstage! The hectic moments were what I love the most.
SM: Did anything surprise you about your experience?
EN: The biggest surprise of this trip was being invited to Kim Shui’s studio in Chinatown and seeing the very humble and unique space in which she works. It was very interesting to see that she could design such an extreme and powerful collection from such a humble apartment in Chinatown. It was also great to see that she placed her studio in an area of New York in which most people would not consider to be the most fashion-forward, yet I believe it allowed her to truly get inspired.
SM: How has this experience shaped your view of the fashion industry?
EN: This was actually my third time attending NYFW, and every time that I come back to Austin I feel excited about choosing to become apart of the fashion industry. I love the excitement and the fast pace of the industry and being thrown in as an intern during one of the biggest fashion events definitely gives me a high and assures me that this is an industry I want to be apart of!
SH: Since this wasn’t my first time on this trip, it has just reinforced how much I love working in a fast-paced environment where there is so much creativity.
For the final question, I asked Erika how she would describe her experience at New York Fashion Week in a couple words.
“Absolutely life-changing,” she said.
And I believe that perfectly summarizes the experiences of all of the students who have had the opportunity to attend NYFW, courtesy of the hard work of University Fashion Group. •
Originally from a small town named after a fruit (Orange), Jennifer Ellis is grateful to be pursuing her passions in the city of Austin. She is a first-year Public Relations major, with a Business minor. This is Jennifer’s first semester with Spark, and she is so honored to work with such a creative, inspiring and talented community.