Friday's DAAPworks Annual Fashion Show promises to draw fashionistas, fashion industry leaders

CINCINNATI -- A night that Cincinnati fashionistas and fashion industry leaders from around the country await is just days away. DAAPworks Annual Fashion Show takes place Friday, April 25 beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the University of Cincinnati’s Campus Recreation Center in the Lower Level Main Stage area.

Be warned: This show sells out every year. So if you’re thinking about attending you had better snag your tickets now.

For the 63rd year in a row talented seniors and several underclassmen showcase their collections and impeccable design skills they’ve learned through attending DAAP’s fashion design program.

The fashion show is part of the DAAPworks week where other majors within the DAAP program also are highlighted to point up the creative output of all the 2014 graduating DAAP students.

So what is the DAAP fashion show all about?

“It’s a huge deal and has supporters from all over the country come in for the show,” according to Sarita Naegel, VIP concierge for the fashion show. “The show brings in business owners, buyers, design executives and recruiters from companies such as Abercrombie, JCPenney and Chico’s among other top companies.”

With an 88-foot runway – the longest in the region – the entire show is professionally lit, features professional models who’ll be showcasing the students’ designs and keeps more than 150 people working behind the scenes to make this show truly one of a kind.

“The show seats 1,500 people and about a third of them are truly family and friends,” said Naegel. “The rest of the attendees are made up of press and recruiters scouting out all the amazing talent showcased in this one fabulous evening. It’s a win-win for everyone participating in the show and those who are there strictly to scout talent. The soon-to-be grads are able to show a live capsule of their work in front of industry professionals who are looking to hire.”

All of the designs are juried in. You might spot some work such as children’s wear from an underclassman, but most of the show is focused on seniors who will be ready to enter the job market.

DAAP graduate Lindsey Vanderkolk, who is now the graphic and interior designer for Tom + Chee, the fast-growing Cincinnati-based grilled cheese and soup shop, explained the importance of the show from a student’s perspective.

“All students in the DAAP program, regardless of the major, have end of college projects. They work tirelessly all year in preparation to showcase their talents, which is an integral part of your college career at DAAP. To have industry leaders ready to find new talent and getting the recognition for your hard work is very rewarding to say the least. Everyone at the university is very supportive of the fashion show and with big sponsors, such as Macy’s, the quality of the show really speaks for itself.”

While attending the fashion program at DAAP, students are required to co-op at multiple companies during their time in the program. A number of the companies continue to follow the students’ work.

Fashion and jewelry designer Azhand Shokohi believes both the fashion show and co-ops are important for students career paths.

"I have supported the co-op program by placing co-op students within my company each semester for the past two years," Shokohi said. "This allows them to learn all aspects of running a design company firsthand. From designing to fashion shows, photo shoots and production, there are a lot of different paths you can take in the fashion industry. This gives the students a chance to try a variety of different jobs that they may not have experienced. The same concept can be applied for the DAAPworks Fashion Show. If students find themselves more interested in the actual production of the show, then they might want to pursue that aspect of fashion as a career path".

Current sophomore student, Danielle Custer, summed up the importance of the fashion show:

“As many students will mention, it’s a huge honor to see your work walk down the runway. It makes all those sleepless nights and hours of sewing entirely worth it when you see such a variety of fashion enthusiasts admire your work,” Custer said.

Unable to attend Friday’s fashion show?

You’re in luck! There is also a “Reality Rehearsal,” which takes place the day before the show at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 24. The rehearsal is where the fashion collections are blocked into groups, the models practice strutting designs down the seemingly never-ending catwalk and final preparations are made for the big show. You’ll get the feel for what the show is going to be like and get a look at the designs before the big event. This event will also take place at the University of Cincinnati’s Campus Recreation Center in the Lower Level Main Stage area.

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