VIM Fashion Show Back In-Person, Showcasing Work of Student Designers

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the VIM Fashion Show was back and bigger than ever before, held at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts on March 23 and featuring the work of 10 Michigan State University student designers. 

Hosted by VIM Magazine, MSU’s student-run fashion, beauty, and lifestyle publication, the event showcased handmade designs and was open to all Michigan State University students across all class years and majors, giving them the opportunity to have their work modeled on stage in front of a live audience.

Three smiling, young women standing side-by-side.
From left to right: Jenna Tesner, Maddy Eischer, and Skyla Mangum

“I would describe my collection as chic, avant-garde, and luxurious,” said Skyla Mangum, a senior Apparel and Textile Design (ATD) major whose work was featured in the show. “My inspiration was taken from prom for girls who want to be different. I am really tired of seeing prom girls in basic styles and silhouettes, so I decided to spruce it up.”

Mangum started designing her pieces on paper two months before the show, then took about three weeks to find and pick her fabric. 

“I’m always so nervous to be in the limelight, but it really is an amazing feeling to know somebody can wear what you create.”

Skyla Mangum, senior Apparel and Textile Design major

“I’m always so nervous to be in the limelight,” she said, “but it really is an amazing feeling to know somebody can wear what you create.”

This year’s VIM Fashion Show gave student designers the much-anticipated experience of working alongside other student designers, makeup artists, models, and videographers, after nearly two years of COVID-19 restrictions, with each individual serving a unique and vital role in the making of this memorable event.

Three young women walking in elaborate dresses surround a fourth young woman standing and smiling.
Skyla Mangum (third from left) on stage for the final round of applause with the models dressed in her designs.

“Seeing all of your hard work go down the runway really makes you feel like a true designer,” said Maddy Eischer, a senior with a dual major in ATD and Genomics and Molecular Genetics and one of the featured designers in the show.

Long before their VIM debut, many of the student designers had established an interest in art and design, including Eischer, Mangum, and Jenna Tesner, a senior with a dual major in ATD and Marketing.

“I grew up around creative people, so art was always something that was encouraged in my family,” Tesner said. “As a kid, I filled up sketchbook after sketchbook with drawings and fashion designs.”

“Seeing all your hard work go down the runway really makes you feel like a true designer.”

Maddy Eischer, senior Apparel and Textile Design major

For Eischer, she credits her grandmother with igniting her creativity at an early age. 

“My grandma has always been an incredibly talented and crafty person, and from a young age, she fostered that same passion for creation within me,” Eischer said. “I was incredibly torn between my love for design and my skill in the sciences, and thankfully by choosing to come to MSU, I have been able to pursue both.”

The ATD program works to expand upon the creative interests of students with classes that are meant to not only educate students in garment construction, but also help them hone the basics of fashion illustration as well as promoting more effective communication and design skills.

Three smiling, young women walk down the stage hand in hand.
Maddy Eischer (center) walks the runway with models dressed in her designs.

“Each class I’ve taken at MSU has helped me become a better designer, but the most impactful classes have been ‘Explorations in Apparel and Textile Design’ and ‘Design Development and Presentation,’” Tesner said. “Both have pushed me to experiment with design in a variety of different mediums. They greatly improved my skills associated with design but also encouraged me to challenge myself creatively.”

Due to the hands-on nature of the ATD curriculum, Eischer, Mangum, and Tesner all admit to having some of their best design ideas come out of class projects.

“For me, my entire program has really pushed me to bring out my best work,” Mangum said. “I have learned so much from different fabric techniques, the science behind fabric, and proper etiquette when it comes to sewing.”

“Each class I’ve taken at MSU has helped me become a better designer.”

Jenna Tesner, senior dual major in Apparel and Textile Design and Marketing

Tesner agrees that her ATD classes have pushed her to turn a number of her own designs into physical garments. 

“We are oftentimes challenged in class to produce many sketches, then edit a collection to a refined, smaller group of designs,” Tesner said. “After we’ve rendered the designs as a collection of fashion illustrations, we produce one or more of the looks as real garments.”

The designs Eischer featured in the show also were ones she created for her ATD classes. 

Three young women in intricate dresses walk down the stage arm in arm with each another.
Jenna Tesner (center) walks the runway arm-in-arm some with the models who are dressed in her designs.

“While I do occasionally sew just-for-fun projects, almost everything I have sewed and constructed over the past four years has been for class,” she said. “For example, in my knitwear class, we were tasked with illustrating hand-knit garments and accessories and then were required to physically make at least one of our sketches. I designed a knit corset and skirt, and the constructed set was actually featured in the show.”

Along with cultivating an array of diverse skills needed for a career in the fashion design industry, the ATD major naturally guides and supports its students through the evolution of their personal design style as well. As seniors, Eischer, Mangum, and Tesner have come into their own ever-evolving aesthetic and decided to feature pieces they’re most proud of in the show.

“Overall, my design work lately has been much more focused on creating looks that are classic and elegant,” Tesner said. “Sustainability in fashion is important to me, so I try to create garments that are timeless and can be worn for years to come.”

For more information on MSU’s ATD major, visit the Apparel and Textile Design web page

Written by Kseniya Lukiy