Fashion merchandising majors create fashion show to bring community together

Macy Preston takes her second walk down the runway wearing a striped jumpsuit styled for a future career as a boutique owner. Last years fashion show, titled “Picture This: A Snapshot into your Future Career”, was meant to show people options on how they could dress for a certain career field.

Julianna Lowe

Every spring semester, WKU’s Visual Merchandising class puts their efforts into a widespread community event: the fashion show. With the help of the two co-directors Nicole Miller and Paige Forbs, the class has planned to include over 50 diverse models from the local community. 

“This year’s theme is ‘Becoming,’” Forbs, a senior fashion merchandising major said. “We want the show to represent and be a reflection of our models’ personal, everyday styles and embrace what they feel best in.” 

According to Forbs, the fashion show is completely in the hands of the students. The class is divided into committees that plan and execute all of the details. 

“We are working very hard to style each model to represent their personal style, create a beautiful set for the runway, and have other cool surprises,” Forbs said. 

Although the class is a requirement for all fashion merchandising majors, Visual Merchandising is a diverse experience for all involved. 

Co-director Nicole Miller said that the process began with choosing a date, time, and venue—which took a lot of consideration.

“The first step was choosing a date that didn’t interrupt any major events to get maximum attendance from our peers and the Bowling Green public,” Miller said. “The next step was to contact a venue, and I ended up contacting over 10 venues before I stumbled upon a gorgeous venue on the square.”

Miller was able to book the Pushin Building, one of the first department stores in Bowling Green, for the event. After booking the event details, planning the show began with choosing a theme.

The class settled on “Becoming: who do you want to be?” for their theme. Miller said the theme would allow people working and participating in the show to be more authentic.

“As young adults, we are all becoming and discovering ourselves, our styles and our confidence,” Forbs said. 

After reaching out to students and community members to create an inclusive group of models for the show, Miller started reaching out to retailers around Bowling Green to support the show. The search led to Buckle and Dillard’s, two department stores that are going to allow the class to borrow merchandise for the show.

The community outreach became wider after Bowling Green locals caught word of the show. Vette City Vintage and BareBones contacted Miller and asked to support the show, even offering to do small pop-up shops so that attendees can purchase the looks.

Once the merchandisers were confirmed, the models were sent to Buckle and Dillard’s to get fitted and styled for the outfit that they’ll wear. As the merchandising process continues, there is even more happening with visual production.

“All throughout this process the visual team is coming up with ideas of how to create the runway,” Miller said. “They also plan any other aspects like floral arrangements, lights, layout and decor to give the right atmosphere we are trying to create.”

The visual team also works to book a DJ and create a song list that the class would like to incorporate into the show. Another aspect is the press, which the PR team is responsible for.

“Our PR team has set up a press release on WBKO two weeks prior to the event,” Miller said. “And they’ve contacted other news media outlets they feel we should notify.”

The day of the show, however, is the busiest. The class will arrive at the venue four hours early to set up, and the models will arrive two hours early so that conflicts can be avoided. 

Miller also said that Cowan and Co. will help with hair touch-ups and Dillard’s will help with makeup touch-ups on the day of the show, further getting the community involved.

“We decided to set up the show this year by various styles,” Miller said. “Nighttime look, daytime look, edgy, casual, professional and more with transitions between each look.”

When the show begins, everything will be fast-paced in order for the audience to enjoy and stay engaged, so Miller said that the class has to plan seamlessly and account for possible problems that could occur. 

“We are all very excited and looking forward to the event,” Miller said. “Last year there were over 100 people in attendance not counting the models, and we’re hoping to double that this year.”

“Becoming: who do you want to be?” is March 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Pushin Building at 400 E Main Street.

Features reporter Julianna Lowe can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected] Follow Julianna on social media at @juliannalowe.