The Special Events committee is directed by Audrey McMillan, Kayla Crouse, and Hailey Kochanny. This committee plans three of The Fashion Show’s major events, Designer Gallery Night, Meet the Judges, and Fashion’s Night Out, and focuses on maintaining alumni relations through creating Alumni Spotlights.

For each of these events, the committee decides on a location, decorations, structure of the event, and communicates with other committees like Art and Social Media. Designer Gallery Night is an event to highlight the work of Iowa State designers by giving them an outlet to show their work and talk about their inspirations. Meet the Judges is a networking event that gives students, faculty, and the community the opportunity to ask questions to the guest judges about their experiences. Fashion’s Night Out takes place the night before The Fashion Show and serves as a celebration of the hard work put into the show. The producers, designers, directors, committees, designers, and models are all invited to come to view the award ceremony and mingle throughout the course of the night.

Alumni Spotlight

TARA EFOBI

What is your background with Iowa State and The Fashion Show? Graduation year, major, activities, etc. 

I graduated in 2018, I majored in Fashion Merchandising and Design (emphasis: Design; minor: Sustainability). I participated in the Fashion Show almost every year (photography committee, model, designer, and behind the scenes day!) I was also a part of Revival Magazine for a couple years, I studied abroad in Copenhagen, and I was in Honors!

Where are you currently working?

I currently work for Target Corporation on the RTW brand Universal Thread

What is something that helped you to be successful after graduating from Iowa State?

Knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite! Might seem boring, but being skilled in Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign helps me literally every single day.

What is one piece of advice you have for current AMD students?

Continue to be a team player and collaborate. Our industry is full of collaboration, and it is how you will find success.

Social media handles (Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook): 

@taraefobi on Instagram, Tara Efobi on LinkedIn and Facebook. https://www.linkedin.com/in/tara-efobi-6b6a72105/

How do you feel your minor in sustainability has helped you in your jobs?

Sustainability is the present and it is the future – customers demand transparency and compassion for our planet. There is simply no way around it. Every brand needs to leverage their power to create more sustainable products. That also includes the sheer volume of products that are produced; how can we be diligent and thoughtful in our product assortments to avoid excess waste?

What is your favorite project you have worked on in your professional career?

I absolutely love helping to create our concept presentations each season! I get to illustrate, design layouts, help with mood boards – it’s a dream, truly.

How has Covid-19 affected your job?

Currently, I have been working remotely for nearly a year! It’s definitely challenged everyone to think differently about how to work together in the most effective way possible.

You post videos on YouTube, could you talk about how that has helped you in your career?

My skills from YouTube flow into every aspect of my life, including my “day job”. My hand-lettered intros and doodles show up in the concept decks I assist with, my in-depth product reviews make me a more detail oriented designer, and my love of skincare has been great for happy hour conversations.

Is there anything that surprised you about the role when you first started? 

That I actually DID need to learn the vocab word “strikeoff” – I use it almost every day, haha!

What skills do you think are the most important for someone interested in a job like yours? 

Passion, a point of view, quick (but thoughtful) decision making, and communication.

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? 

I would love to live abroad! That’s the dream, at least 

GRACE LUNDQUIST

Tell me about yourself 

My name is Grace Lundquist. I was a Fall 2020 graduate at Iowa State in the Apparel Merchandising and Design program. My degree focus was in design, and I also earned a Merchandising certificate, as well as a minor in Sustainability. I grew up just south of Ames in Ankeny, IA and graduated from high school in 2017. I knew early on that I wanted to study fashion and took as many fashion courses my high school offered until I began a merchandising and design program for high schoolers in Des Moines. I fell in love with sewing my own clothing and I’m grateful Iowa State was just 20 minutes up the road so I could continue to pursue an education in fashion! https://www.linkedin.com/in/grace-lundquist/

How were you involved with The Fashion Show in the past?

I was involved with The Fashion Show my freshman and sophomore years (2018 & 2019) at Iowa State. My freshman year I was a design committee member and absolutely fell in love with TFS. The entire committee worked really well together, and I was able to be hands on throughout the events leading up to the show. I knew I wanted to be involved just as much again, so I interviewed to be a design director the following year and got the spot! That year I also submitted my own designs in the show for the first time. Being a director for The Fashion Show 2019 was one of my college highlights- such a thrilling and rewarding experience. 

What else were you involved in during your time at Iowa State?

During my first two years at ISU I was involved in TREND magazine on the Editorial and Men’s Accessories committees, my residence hall board, and wrote articles for Odyssey Online. Later I became a teaching assistant for both patternmaking and draping courses. During my final two years I got jobs in Des Moines (Anthropologie and MARNē), so I spent a lot of time commuting there for work, as well. 

Where are you now? & How did you get to where you are today, was it difficult finding a job out of college?

I am currently living in Des Moines, IA. This spring I was accepted into the University of Delaware’s Socially Responsible & Sustainable Apparel Business Graduate Certificate program and will be taking online courses to complete that in spring 2022.  I am also currently working at MARNē, a local boutique focusing on sustainable and ethical brands. I got this job while I was in college, but I am still actively looking for jobs in the industry. MARNē has helped introduce me to brands that share my same values which has been a big help in narrowing down my job search. 

What advice would you give to current students now that you are in the professional apparel industry? & What would you say has helped you be successful in the professional industry? 

As I have yet to land my first ‘big girl job’, I don’t think I’m qualified to give out advice as a professional. Though I have only worked in Des Moines, I have learned a lot in a short amount of time. With that being said, I would encourage students to not undermine opportunities just because they aren’t their dream job or internship. There is something to be learned from every experience you have as long as you are willing to accept it. And it’s also okay if your dreams or ideas of success change throughout the process. 

What advice do you have for students looking for internships or jobs?

Advice I would give to students looking for internships is to personally reach out to connections or brand representatives if you have the opportunity. Not all brands, especially smaller ones, post their openings on LinkedIn or similar websites. So, I got in contact with brands by sending them an email and introducing myself and this did land me a couple of interviews. Otherwise, connecting with past students and/or fellow peers is always a positive so take advantage of that! You never know what or who will lead you to your next destination in this industry. 

Would you say the pandemic affected your job or the fashion industry and how?

The pandemic absolutely affected the industry. For me personally, I was graduating and looking for a job (still am!) while companies were on hiring freezes, restructuring their businesses, and laying employees off. I say this in past tense, though it’s still happening. Beyond this, the industry had to rethink marketing strategies, fashion weeks and events, and introduce different product lines that were practical for quarantine and working from home. The consumers of the industry changed, too. I saw more support than ever for small/local businesses, and I hope we all continue shopping more intentionally after all of this is over. 

What experiences in college helped you get to where you are today?

Any experience that required me to step out of my comfort zone or where I have failed has gotten me to where I am today. Any time I have been forced to leave my own comfort or do something that seems scary in the moment, it has usually had a rewarding ending. I also think failure or being told ‘no’ is important to experience as it’s an opportunity to learn and grow and it often pushes you in the direction of something better. 

What type of job do you have now, Where are you working right now, Did you have an internship during college? Where was it at? & What do you enjoy most about your current job?

Since my college experience ended untraditionally, I was not able to accept a traditional out-of-state internship. I did, however, have an internship my final fall semester in Des Moines, IA. I interned with Angela Poldberg at MARNē which is a small shop in the East Village. MARNē sells ethically and sustainably made women’s clothing, accessories and home goods. I met her through one of her pop-up shops and introduced myself since I was studying fashion and sustainability- perfect combination for her shop- and the rest was history! She hired me in the middle of a pandemic, and I have been so grateful to have been working with her ever since. What I enjoy most about my job is learning about new brands and how they are implementing ethics into their manufacturing and designs. I also love being a part of the Des Moines community.