Division of Textiles and Apparel

Photo Credit: Amber Perry | Daily Texan Staff

Lululemon executives discussed career advice and the apparel industry on Friday during a panel facilitated by the Division of Textiles and Apparel.

The panel of designers, store managers, department directors and human resources employees said students should seek out work opportunities while they are in school to give them practice for their post-graduation jobs.

“Be open to all the opportunities you have,” Lululemon senior designer Denise Ho said. “Do as much work experience as you can, to figure out what works for you. If it’s really what you want, just go for it. Take all the opportunities and every experience will just help you grow.”

The executives spoke in person and via video conference from their home office in Vancouver, Canada.

Nancy Pham, sophomore marketing major and textiles minor, said she has seen the necessity for looking for work experience while you’re in school.

“Work experience is good because a lot of people here do try to get a lot of jobs,” Pham said. “Sometimes I feel like I’m trying too hard to reach out, as a student. But (the panel) made me feel like it was okay to be doing that.”

Ruth Kelly, director of raw materials and director of women’s fabric development, said, from a production perspective, the company was focused on the education of its employees and guests and told students to take every opportunity to try different things when they are starting their careers.

“You just never know what’s out there,” Kelly said. “Some things you’re gonna try, and you’re gonna absolutely hate it. But that’s still a really useful journey because then you know what you are really good at, what you really want. There’s no perfect job out there, and a lot of it is what you make it and what you bring to it.”

Kelly also said that as the industry has become increasingly global, so has the competition for jobs.

“It’s a truly global industry, and that’s what I love about it: the challenge and the diversity of working with many different people,” Kelly said. “You learn so much, not just about textiles. Don’t be afraid to let your individuality and your personality shine and go after what you want. Know that sometimes you will have setbacks and that’s okay.”

Backstage volunteers attach a headpiece to a model wearing Rebekah HofferÂ’s collection as part of the Contour fashion show at the Frank Erwin Center Thursday evening.

Photo Credit: Andreina Velazquez | Daily Texan Staff

From psychedelic mushroom-inspired dresses to a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”-inspired collection, graduating designers showcased their final works at the Frank Erwin Center on Thursday night.

Twenty-three textiles and apparel seniors sent about 120 original designs down the runway at the 13th annual Division of Textiles and Apparel fashion show sponsored by the University Co-Operative Society and in collaboration with the School of Human Ecology. The University Fashion Group organized and produced this year’s fashion show focusing on the theme “Contour.”

Marketing senior Angeli Aguilera, vice president of the University Fashion Group, said the theme of the show was meant for the designers to incorporate lines and shapes in their clothing.

“It was really up to the designers to take the theme and figure out what it meant,” Aguilera said. “Every designer interpreted it a different way into their outfits.”

Judges of the show included local industry professionals who awarded prizes for Best Fashion Collection, Most Innovative Fashion Collection, Most Marketable Fashion Collection, Best Constructed Fashion Collection and Best Evening/Bridal Gown.

Textiles and apparel senior Sofia Maldonado, was the first designer to showcase her collection, “Mercado.” Maldonado said she was inspired by her half-Salvadorian ancestry and the marketplaces in El Salvador where fabrics are sold and made.

“I also have a strong theater background, and one of my most passionate plays that I performed in and designed took place in the 18th and 19th century and was inspired by those silhouettes,” Maldonado said. “Along with that, I incorporated color and natural fabrics and combined with them with the actual market fabrics to make a chic summer line that is marketable and desirable.”

Maldonado said it was a long process for all the designers to complete their collections from the drawing boards to the pattern making and final fittings.

“It’s very time-consuming and you learn that time management is really important,” Maldonado said. “Personally, I’ve had to sacrifice a lot this semester and not see my friends and family, but these other designers are my family and we’ve spent all-nighters trying to figure out problems on our own, but experience is always the best way to learn.”

Karen Bravo, faculty adviser for University Fashion Group, said she wanted the show to impress the estimated 5,000 people in the audience and the people from a national and international scale who watched the live webcast.

“I wanted people to leave here amazed that the school can put on a professional New York Fashion Week production, which I think we gave them,” Bravo said.

Textiles and apparel senior Ashley Trevino, one of the designers, said her collection was inspired by the style of the 1940s and the movie, Casablanca.

“I wanted to update those things with fun colors and luxurious fabrics and make it a lot of fun to see,” Trevino said. “I hope that when somebody sees it, it makes them smile and reminds them of the beach because it is resort wear.”

English junior Tyler Neal, director of public relations for University Fashion Group and male model for senior designer, Albert Zhou, said Zhou’s collection was friendly for all seasons.

“It’s classic menswear with a little twist with a European cut that’s very sophisticated,” Neal said. “I can wear the pants in the summer or in the winter and wear different shirts with it, as well.”