Make contact with: Erin Flynn
Julia LeKander stands in front of a black wall with white lettering that reads "NYFW" in large letters along wiht "Presented by erpay" behind it.

Julia LeKander represented Western at New York Style 7 days: The Demonstrates by means of the UofNYFW application.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Walking down Fifth Avenue and examining out significant trend boutiques, Julia LeKander almost had to pinch herself. The Western Michigan College fashion style and growth student was recently whisked away for a when-in-a-lifetime working experience powering the scenes of February’s New York Style 7 days (NYFW): The Demonstrates, rubbing elbows with the industry’s brightest stars.

“This was my 1st time in New York, and almost nothing is going to are living up to this!” LeKander says.

The winner of Western’s 2023 New York Style Week Level of competition, she attained an all-bills-compensated trip to take part in UofNYFW, a collaboration involving NYFW: The Displays operator IMG and CLC, the nation’s top collegiate licensing agency. The encounter provides foreseeable future style leaders an immersive seem at the manner field, which include entry into pick runway displays, panel conversations and networking options with marketplace leaders.

Together with about 30 pupils from choose schools and universities nationwide, LeKander experienced the chance to show up at a runway present with an exclusive glance at the new line by Tiffany Brown Structure and accessibility the Ella Emhoff Likes to Knit! Pop-up Showroom.

“It was form of surreal. A single of my favorite issues to do throughout these vogue months is to sit down at the pc and enjoy video clips as styles are coming out,” LeKander states. “Then, to essentially be sitting down in the place and be 1 of people people in the audience that I have only ever seen on my computer system screen—wow.”

LeKander Poses for a photo flashing the Western "W" with her hands in the middle of Times Square.

LeKander frequented Periods Sq. with other pupils collaborating in UofNYFW.

In addition to the one of a kind NYFW experiences and prospects to attend panel discussions with manner business specialists, the students invested a working day at top athletic fashion brand name and collegiate licensee Champion’s headquarters in which they realized firsthand how a garments line is created and merchandised. The team also had the likelihood to see best solution models and prototypes for long run seasons.

“We talked with a print designer, which was truly awesome since which is a little something I have picked up as an desire by way of my classes at Western. Currently being equipped to see the procedure of how they go from inspiration for the prints all the way by means of editing, critiquing and having it great tuned I considered was definitely neat,” suggests LeKander. “We genuinely bought to speak with the designers as people today, which was definitely cool and one thing that I don’t think I could have professional if not it was genuinely unique.”

She was ready to get a guide stuffed with get in touch with details for a range of manner specialists she interacted with courtesy of UofNYFW, an very valuable networking instrument as she looks toward graduation in summertime 2023. LeKander also experienced a probability through some down time in New York to join more than dinner with new Western alumna Samantha Morehead, who gained the inaugural New York Manner Week Competition and is at this time residing out her dreams functioning for L’Oreal in New York Town.

“That was definitely awesome to fulfill up with a fellow Bronco who was in my shoes a 12 months ago and experienced that expertise and then carrying out precisely what she wants to do. And it appears to be heading actually very well for her. She’s been an inspiration for me.”

LeKander is the third Bronco to earn a vacation to NYFW. Product style and design scholar Grace Stibich went guiding the scenes with UofNYFW in slide 2022 as the runner-up to the inaugural level of competition.

“Our aim for the UofNYFW faculty program is to deliver innovative activities and once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunities to pupils at our partner institutions, which adds remarkable price to the participating universities over and above our standard purpose of brand licensing,” claims Cory Moss, CEO of CLC. “Since the inception of this distinctive system, we have been honored to aid inspire and influence a lot of talented learners on their path to a job in the style field.”

“It is normally enjoyable to present a team of brilliant school students the opportunity to interact and discover from some of the most effective designers and professionals in the environment of fashion at NYFW: The Reveals,” adds Leslie Russo, president of IMG’s style occasions and homes. “This collaboration with CLC and the collaborating universities aligns with our mission to produce possibilities for foreseeable future leaders in the field and aid the progress of new views in the at any time-evolving fashion small business.”


LeKander’s route to a career in fashion was significantly less straight line runway walk and far more backstage scramble. Her total existence, she’d prepared on a vocation in music, adhering to the sample laid out by a number of spouse and children users. But she stumbled onto a movie of a manner demonstrate though scrolling on the web just one working day and promptly altered her tune.

“I don’t know why I looked it up, but I was just sucked in. It was like a tornado,” she remembers. Now a few yrs afterwards, the transfer university student has sewn a path to achievements from her mid-exhibit vocation change, punctuated by an special knowledge at one particular of the fashion world’s major occasions. “If I hadn’t arrive to Western, I don’t believe any of this would have been probable.”

She credits significantly of her achievements to the college in the manner style and design application as nicely as her expertise with the MODA registered pupil business. She’s participated in many MODA trend displays, racking up a massive portfolio of special clothes around the years. The layout that won her the journey to New York, which had to combine sustainability with functionality, was her most demanding to date.

“This undertaking was a definitely superior workout in innovative wondering,” LeKander suggests. “It actually pushed my patterning capabilities.”

Julia LeKander places a skirt she designed on a manequin.

LeKander made a “zero waste” skirt that can be built out of a twin XL bed sheet.

Realizing most school learners have twin XL bed sheets at the ready—and that they normally conclude up in the trash when learners transition from residence halls to apartments—she established a design to change the bedding into a zero-squander wrap skirt.

“I preferred to make something that was marketable, wearable, dimensions-inclusive … a thing that was quick to make and out of a materials that pretty much every person has access to,” she says.

She devised a formula to plug in a midsection measurement and make the skirt suit just about any determine. Now, she ideas to compile her directions and share the sample with Western’s Business office for Sustainability so all learners can have entry.

Western’s Business of Internet marketing and Strategic Communications is exploring for the following student to observe in LeKander’s footsteps. It options to host one more trend contest in tumble 2023 to send another college student to UofNYFW.

For much more WMU information, arts and events, check out WMU News on-line.