The talent behind the UNT fashion show

The talent behind the UNT fashion show

The talent behind the UNT fashion show
March 23
20:20 2016

Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer

@kayleighnic0le

Sitting in front of a TV, Maia Wilson anxiously bounces in place.

On the screen, bright lights shine on hundreds of whispering audience members seated around a 25-foot catwalk, which acts as a centerpiece in the crowded performance hall.

Suddenly the lights dim and soft music starts to play. A model walks out in a tight, long Chanel dress. Tiny beads reflect light from overhead and the train flows behind the model as she walks, grabbing Wilson’s attention and taking her breath away.

The garment itself was simple, but to Wilson, it meant more. It was one small component of what she wanted to immerse herself in for the rest of her life.

“I love the creativity and freedom that comes with the fashion industry,” Wilson said. “But I don’t want to feel like the center of attention. I want to provide that opportunity for someone else.”

Wilson’s fashion show guidebook holds all of the information she needs in order to set the fashion show up. The pages contain everything from stage layouts to the fashion used in the show. Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer

Wilson’s fashion show guidebook holds all of the information she needs in order to set the fashion show up. The pages contain everything from stage layouts to the fashion used in the show. Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer

A fashion merchandising sophomore, Wilson studies the sketches and notes in front of her. She was the one who had ordered the bright lights, invited everyone in attendance and booked the catwalk. This time, she’s not watching the show. She’s directing it.

For as long as she can remember, Wilson has been intrigued by the fashion industry. She thought about being a model or fashion designer, but decided to stick to the business side of fashion with a merchandising degree.

Fashion merchandisers sell, distribute and promote clothing for designers around the world. The job involves tasks from making sure garments get delivered on time to making sure the designer’s ideas coincide with what the customer wants.

“A lot of people think if you have ‘fashion’ in your job title, you automatically create and design clothing,” Wilson said. “I have absolutely no clue how to sew, though, and I’m really not tall enough to model, which is why merchandising is the perfect choice.”

But attending classes for fashion merchandising wasn’t Wilson’s first step into the industry — or her first event. As a part of a mentor program in high school, Wilson worked closely with someone in the fashion industry to create her own fashion show. It only showed in front of her class, but it gave her confidence in her abilities as she transitioned into university life.

“It seems so small compared to what I’m doing now,” Wilson said. “It’s actually crazy to see how far I’ve come in the span of a couple of years.”

Wilson is a member of Merchandising Inc., a campus organization that helps fashion students network within the industry, raises money for charity and allows interested students to gain first-hand fashion experience.

Wilson has been planning the show as Merchandising Inc.’s fashion show producer since August. Michaela Bull, Merchandising Inc. historian and fashion merchandising and digital retail sophomore, said the fashion show, titled Digital Glitch, wouldn’t have been possible without Wilson.

“She came up with the theme of the show, booked the venue, handles where to apply the budget and develops the various teams,” Bull said. “She honestly coordinates the production as a whole. She isn’t afraid to go for what she believes in.”

Fashion merchandising sophomore Maia Wilson stands on the steps inside the Union. Her fashion show, titled Digital Glitch, will be held inside the new Union for the first time this April. Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer

Fashion merchandising sophomore Maia Wilson stands on the steps inside the Union. Her fashion show, titled Digital Glitch, will be held inside the new Union for the first time this April. Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer

Though Wilson has a team backing her up, the entire weight of the fashion show is in her hands.

She does everything: finding the models, selecting stylists for various purposes, deciding what clothes to use and advertising around the university. She is constantly making phone calls and emailing vendors.

And with the fashion show being held in the new Union for the first time, Wilson said she wants it to be something people remember.

“This is a really big deal,” she said. “It’s not just some show I’m doing in my free time. This is real, and it is important to not only me, but to so many people.”

Merchandising Inc. advisor Laura Storm said despite the outcome of the show and the stress that comes from it, Wilson will come away with a broader array of skills about fashion.

“From my short time knowing Maia, she has qualities that make her perfect for these leadership positions,” Storm said. “This is a great experience to help her be more effective in future fashion show productions.”

Looking through her guidebook, fashion merchandising sophomore Maia Wilson makes sure that the catwalk measurements were put down correctly. The guidebook has information from previous fashion show producers. Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer

Looking through her guidebook, fashion merchandising sophomore Maia Wilson makes sure that the catwalk measurements were put down correctly. The guidebook has information from previous fashion show producers. Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer

Although Digital Glitch doesn’t hit the catwalk until April 24, Wilson said every day leading up will be nerve-wracking. So far, the process has gone smoothly, but Wilson says there are still a thousand things that could go wrong.

“Models can cancel last-minute, clothes can rip and people can quit,” Wilson said. “But that’s the job. I handle it and love it.”

As for the future, Wilson said she’s still unsure. She hopes to work her way up the Merchandising Inc. ladder, participate in internships and study fashion from Hong Kong to New York.

With fashion merchandising comes an abundance of stress and sleepless nights. Wilson said there are cranky models and picky clients. Things can go from picture perfect to a disaster in a split second. But she’s ready to be there for it all.

“This show is just the beginning,” Wilson said. “Who knows where this journey will take me.  It’s spontaneous, and you never really know what to expect. But welcome to fashion.”

Featured Image: Fashion merchandising sophomore Maia Wilson poses for a photo near the UNT Union. Wilson has been interested in fashion ever since she was a kid. She was in charge of her first fashion show when she was in high school. Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer

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