Written by TIFFANY LLOYD
Confused university students walked through City West campus on Tuesday the 7th of June, gazing upon the main entrance of the campus as it was being transformed into a catwalk. Bizarre as it may have been to those who missed the marketing campaign, the catwalk was part of UniSA Event Management students’ final assignment before exams. After months of planning, hours of meetings, countless forum posts and extensive collaboration between more than a hundred students, the twenty minute fashion event was executed with enough enthusiasm and organisation to strike envy in professional event organisers.
Ignore all preconceived stereotypes you may have about models and fashion shows, because it is now clear to me that organising a catwalk event involves far more than pretty people strutting down a runway. This event required extensive organisational skills, application of industry practices and constant communication between all participants. Throughout the semester, students separated into groups focusing on various aspects of the event, including marketing, risk, operations, design, and much more.
Arriving at the event, it was notable that exclusivity was implemented, as backstage (or student lounge) access was restricted to models, organisers and for a brief period of time, one lucky Unilife Magazine contributor. As a student of the event management course, I feel as though my connection fuelled my cause. Remember people, connections are everything!
Unfortunately the one thing that is out of your control when organising an event is the weather and in a Murphy’s Law fashion, it began pouring down with rain 15 minutes before the event was due to commence. Fear not though, this tale does not end in misery, frizzy hair and smeared makeup. The risk management and operations teams saved the day, anticipating the weathers merciless attitude, apparently towards fashion shows, and set up several marquees for models, audience members and participants. According to event student Brenda Palmgren, the months of organisation began to pay off and the backstage crew were running ahead of time. Fashionably late is not so fashionable on a catwalk and the event began at 2pm on the dot.
The event was based around an environmental theme, acknowledging World Environment Day on the 5th of June. In keeping with this, the runway was surrounded by plants and all clothing was donated by vintage, pre-loved clothing store, ‘The Loft’. As the models strutted down the runway, MC’s Jessi McKenzie and Lucy Johnson provided a commentary of what the models were wearing, promoting sponsors and ad-libbed witty banter during a potentially awkward pause in the show.
After the event the VIP’s, including many of the event management lecturers and tutors, praised the event and effort put in by the students. Lecturer Carmel Young noted the fantastic commitment to holding a successful event and gaining a valuable experience by putting theory into practice.
My final comment on the event involves the models themselves. They were all smiling! The cliché pout was noticeably absent. I don’t care what they are doing at New York Fashion Week; a smile will always be more beautiful than a pout.