A Fashionable Experience
Twice a year, the fashion world gathers for New York Fashion Week to present and view upcoming collections. In February, three Aggies — Julliet Hill ’23, Lexi Trucco ’23, and Isabella Verduzco ’22 — had the opportunity to attend NYFW, thanks to a partnership between UC Davis’ trademark vendor, Collegiate Licensing Company, and IMG, which presents NYFW. The program, dubbed U of NYFW, provided an educational experience to 25 undergraduates interested in fashion from several universities. Selected students traveled to New York, attended a runway show, networked with industry professionals and more.
“This trip solidified my love for the fashion industry,” said Trucco, a marketing intern at UC Davis Strategic Communications. “After I graduate, I am so driven to want to be a part of it myself.”
Tim McNeil, a professor of design at UC Davis, emphasized the importance of travel for effective creative processes.
“You’re introduced to a variety of people and things when traveling, especially in a city as large as New York,” McNeil explained. “Travel experiences like this one help students keep an open mind while working, and they add a sort of ‘mental collection’ of experiences to take inspiration from.”
Fond of fashion
Starting when they were young, all three students said they developed a fondness for fashion.
“I’ve always had a strong interest in fashion for as long as I can remember,” recalled Hill, a third-year communication major at UC Davis. “Dress-up was my favorite game, and I picked out my outfits far before any of my peers were doing so.”
But all three students also were aware of the high amount of competition in the fashion industry. Verduzco, a design and communication double major, said she was always interested in fashion and other creative fields. As a first-generation student, however, she initially felt inclined to pursue a more traditional career in law.
“It wasn’t until I started taking a design course related to branding and visual messaging that I became aware that a career in the fashion or branding industry was feasible for me to pursue,” Verduzco said.
With a variety of design and communication courses under their belts, all three Aggies said they put their academics to use while in New York. Trucco stated that her communication courses helped her navigate the extensive networking opportunities presented on the trip.
“A big value of this experience was being able to network with so many people,” she said. “Being a communication major helped me develop strong communication skills, which prepared me to be comfortable introducing myself and facilitating conversations.”
According to Verduzco, project-based design classes allowed her to take a more experiential approach to the U of NYFW trip.
“A big portion of my classes are project-based with real-world applications that fully immerse you in the curation process,” she explained. “I found myself networking with people, asking questions and becoming immersed in the professional environment.”
From Q&A panels and networking opportunities to private breakfasts, the U of NYFW trip featured plenty of notable opportunities. According to the students, one of the most exhilarating was the fashion show by South Korean designer Son Jung Wan.
“I had chills the entire time,” said Trucco, recalling the fashion show. “It was a feeling that I will never forget and something that I am dying to experience again in the future.”
A memorable experience for fourth-year Verduzco was visiting the home of Kyle Garcia, founder of women-owned jewelry brand Kyle Cavan. Here, she was able to speak with Garcia as well as a creative director from Sports Illustrated.
“They established successful careers for themselves despite the struggles that they encountered as women,” said Verduzco. “To hear the firsthand experiences of successful women in varying career fields was truly empowering.”
For Hill, visiting the exhibit “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” at the Brooklyn Museum was a noteworthy experience and allowed her to explore the history of fashion.
“One thing that I enjoy about fashion is that there is so much history behind it. Going to the Dior exhibit, I got to see those two things intertwined,” she said. “The museum did such an amazing job combining Dior’s designs with their own collections from the Brooklyn Museum.”
Beyond the runway
When they got back to Davis, the three Aggies shared their experiences via a blog post, video recordings and social media. They said they hope their coverage of the trip brings awareness to students who are interested in creative professional development opportunities, while simultaneously highlighting career paths available for their respective majors.
“No words can explain how monumental this trip was in reaffirming my career aspirations,” said Verduzco, who will enter the job market soon. “It reinforced my desire to seek out a job that allows me to be immersed in a creative environment.”