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The runway. It’s a place where attendees’ eyes are fixated to see the astonishing garments and handcrafted apparel created exclusively by College of Human Sciences students that gives The Fashion Event its reputation as Auburn University’s premier fashion showcase. But for many Consumer and Design Sciences (CADS) students, this runway becomes an endless road of opportunities in large part due to this unique Fashion Event now in its thirteenth year.

The night of Friday, April 12 was welcomed with open arms as it signified the end of months of planning, crafting, stress and a few all-nighters as the finalized garments took the runway for this year’s event, themed “The Silver Screen.”

Fashion Event blue outfit

Once again, the antiquated Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum came to life as designers used texture, color and silhouette for The Fashion Event, co-sponsored by the College of Human Sciences Department of Consumer and Design Sciences and the Auburn Apparel Merchandising and Design Association.

With a crowd surpassing 1,000 in attendance, there was a fantastic mix of creativity on display as The Fashion Event featured visual merchandising vignettes, interior design projects, portfolios, a general and capstone collection and 12 senior mini-collections.

For months, senior Apparel Design and Production Management and The Fashion Event Creative Chair Olivia Heywood stared at her design pieces and projects on mannequins. Finally, the night of The Fashion Event, she watched her creativity come to life when it was worn on the runway by various volunteer models.

“There really is a big shift in viewpoint on your garment when it comes down the runway or model it a photoshoot because when you’re in the process, you’re so focused on the little details like ‘is this hem right, is this closure looking okay, do I have strings loose’ and so you’re looking at it really up close,” Heywood said. “When you get to step back and see it altogether you’re like ‘OK, wow this really looks good’ and I’m so proud of myself because it’s so easy to get caught up and be negative. It’s hard to match that feeling of stepping back to see it.”

“When you get to step back and see it altogether you’re like ‘OK, wow this really looks good.'"

The Fashion Event Creative Chair Olivia Heywood

Although The Fashion Event lasts just a few hours, the impact it can have on College of Human Sciences students participating in the Fashion Event Planning Class can last a lifetime. The preparation for the event takes months, however, the rewards for the hard work and dedication can pay off in a transformational way as the experience can lead to scholarships, internships, a rewarding career following graduation and more.

Apparel Design and Production Management senior Sydney Johnson who also serves on the Fashion Event creative team is just one example, as she was recently recognized as a 2024 Fashion Scholarship Fund Scholar and plans to complete an internship this summer in New York City. She credits her experience working in The Fashion Event and the College of Human Sciences Apparel Design and Production Management program as key reasons why she is prepared to blossom in a career in the fashion and design industry following graduation.

Fashion Event runway

“How our program is so well-rounded, we don’t just focus on one aspect and we are so fully emerged in whatever we want,” Johnson said. “Our professors are so supportive in letting us work and always ask ‘what can I do to help you?’ So our program is just the total package. When I go to have interviews for internships or jobs in the future, being able to say ‘oh I can do production, I know how to do a tech pack, yes, I know how to drape’ and just being well-rounded is what sets our program apart and will help me in the future.”

Mary Ashley Allen, a senior also studying Apparel Design and Production Management was tasked with serving as the styling co-chair for The Fashion Event. She said being a part of The Fashion Event planning class fosters an environment that is welcoming and everyone encourages each other along the way. The shared camaraderie is reassuring and classmates begin to feel more like family as the months go by leading up to the night of The Fashion Event.

Pink dress

“Spidle has basically become my second home throughout my four years of college just being here and being with these people every night which I love,” Allen said. “I truly enjoy it, because Auburn is such a big campus and it brings it into a small aspect where you can make automatic friends. You’re put together and you have a bond and this small, tight-knit group is kind of forced to work really hard and support each other through that. It’s fostered true friendship that’s supporting and loving through all the ups and downs because there are a lot of ups and downs when it comes to the designing process. I’m so appreciative of them and to the program to be set up the way that it is where I can embrace that and welcome that friendship in.”

Following graduation, Allen will be moving to Fort Myers, Fla. to work at Chico’s as an assistant designer.

Heywood echoed Allen’s endorsement of the College of Human Sciences Department of Consumer and Design Sciences as she felt well prepared for a prior internship and will soon graduate feeling confident in her design abilities.

“I had a recent internship and I felt like I knew everything that they asked me to do and I wasn’t struggling,” Heywood said. “We learn about path making, construction, the production aspect of everything. A lot of other fashion schools have one track that each student has to follow but at Auburn we cover so much that we have a base knowledge of everything and it’s easier to adapt and lead us to success in the industry.”

For more information on The Fashion Event, click below

The Fashion Event

For more information on the Department of Consumer and Design Sciences, click below

Department of Consumer and Design Sciences