Fashion Forward


 model walks the runway at the Flyover Fashion Show.
A model walks the runway at the Flyover Fashion Show.

Innovative event planning class sparks connection to fashion industry

Fashion show modelA campus fueled with creativity and innovation was missing one thing. The University of Iowa never provided a fashion major for its students or even a class that dealt with the subject. That is, until now. Thanks to Heather Spangler, SJMC lecturer and coordinator for the University’s Event Planning Certificate, this semester’s event planning class had a theme like none before: fashion.

“The fashion focus was a big draw for many students and provides a classroom experience that matches personal passions,” Spangler says.

Student model at the fashion showStudents can get a real-life feel for what it is like to be out in the “event planning” field. By breaking up into different groups, responsibilities are assigned, and the students get to work. Research entails, volunteering, organizing internal events, and even marketing strategies. Working with clients and other students is just one piece of the watching the final product come together.

“It has been so rewarding to watch my work pan out,” student Sophia Valbuena says. “I have loved the fashion industry for as long as I can recall, so it is fun to incorporate it in a classroom.”

The class consists of like-minded students, who all have an interest in the fashion industry and want to get hands-on experience in event planning. Constructed around two main events, the students coordinated the spring Walk It Out Multicultural Fashion Show and worked with founder, Simeon Talley, to market and plan events for the annual Flyover Fashion Fest.

“This class has been a fun experiment to work so closely with a community organization,” Spangler says. “We always incorporate real-world projects into our event planning classes, but this is the first time we've had a hand in a major community festival and the first time we’ve focused on fashion.”

As the end of the semester approaches, the events these students have work so hard on will have come to fruition. The most exciting part, seeing it all come alive for the Iowa City community. Dissecting fashion shows and learning the do’s and don’ts, is just a small part of what these students have learned. From studying fashion to learning new marketing strategies, this class prepares students to talk the talk and walk the walk in the fashion industry.