U of A students Kenedy Knox (above) and Abby Gray represented the apparel merchandising and product development program at 2019 New York Fashion Week in February, attending shows, meeting with industry leaders and touring Pink, GIII and Bloomingdale’s.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Abby Gray and Kenedy Knox, two University of Arkansas students, traveled to this spring’s New York Fashion Week to represent the university through the IMG College Licensing and IMG Fashion program.
Knox is a student in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Science’s apparel merchandising and product development program in the School of Human Environmental Sciences, and Gray is a student in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences taking classes in apparel merchandising and product development.
The students were surrounded by some of the best within the fashion industry during their trip. They were given the chance to forecast trends and reflect on their experiences with other students in the program.
Knox said her favorite part of the trip was hard to choose.
“Seeing what people were wearing while attending shows and what they were talking about when they were leaving was the part I always looked forward to at the beginning of the day,” Knox said. “The atmosphere was electric and is something so magical it is hard to describe.”
Gray said her favorite part was being able to experience her first real fashion show.
“It was shocking to learn that the shows only last for at most 15 minutes,” Gray said. “These designers work the entire year to showcase all of the hard work they have put into their clothing line and they have to pick roughly 45-50 outfits for the show. We got to sit in the third row from the runway and it was really amazing to watch how all the moving pieces come together when the show starts. All of the photographers are lined up at the end of the runway to get the perfect shot of each outfit, while many big names in the fashion industry are lined up along the runway taking pictures of their favorite looks. There is so much going on and you are constantly on the edge of your seat with excitement.”
Each learned a lot from the trip and were grateful for the experience.
“I was able to take note and forecast upcoming trends seen in runway shows and by what influencers were wearing on the streets,” Knox said. “We also had the opportunity to learn and take advice from some of the leaders in the industry. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I feel so blessed to be one of the two chosen to represent our university.”
“I learned many things from this experience, but one of the most important things that I learned from the trip was to continually chase down your dreams,” Gray said. “Whatever your dreams may be, you are capable of making them come true with hard work and persistence. I also learned that experience is very important if you are wanting a job in the fashion industry. The industry is fast paced and constantly changing, so experience with companies in the industry will most likely better prepare you for a job in fashion than anything else would.”
Gray and Knox were able to tour and experience PINK, Glll and Bloomingdale’s. The tours gave them the opportunity to learn behind-the-scenes tricks of the trade.
The students were chosen through an application process in the apparel merchandising and product development program. IMG has a unique collaboration with colleges across the nation and provides one-of-a-kind experiences and insight into the fashion industry for students. IMG represents nearly 200 of the top colleges, universities and other various athletic partners in the nation.
Razorback Sports Properties is the multimedia rights holder for U of A athletics, and RSP, which manages corporate sponsorship of all 19 Razorback sports teams, is a division of IMG College. IMG’s College Licensing and Fashion divisions created The Collegiate Experience at New York Fashion Week to benefit students from partner universities.
This is the third straight year the apparel merchandising and product development program had representatives selected to participate. Sisters Addison and Turner Grace Edwards were chosen in 2017, and Lauren Bouvier and Rachel Rork were chosen in 2018.
About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture.
About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.