There has been a lot of attention on this project recently with an article in the Toronto Star and one in the Ryerson community newsletter. This has been really great and I am enjoying sharing information about the project and my experience with people. My real hope with this added attention is that folks will read the profiles of the students that I have posted on this blog and go to the Mass Exodus website and read about all the students, visit their websites and see the amazing work that they have done in their time at Ryerson.
We are now officially about 4 days away from the Mass Exodus show. The week before last, each student made a presentation to a panel of representatives from the fashion industry and were assessed based on the creativity of their designs, the suitability of their designs for their target customer and intended end use, pricing and selling opportunities for their collections, quality standards and fit of the final garments and all aspects of the actual presentation.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to spend an afternoon observing the presentations of some of the students. The ones I saw outside waiting seemed so incredibly nervous and I know that they had spent a considerable amounts time preparing their presentations. They also brought very professionally prepared materials to share with the panel – look books, brochures, fabric swatches, hang tags and swag all designed to compliment and market their collections. Many had done professionally styled photo shoots with models of their garments to prepare these materials.
There were 4 industry professionals on the panel the afternoon that I was there and the students showed the garments in their collections, talked about their inspiration, target market, wholesale and retail pricing strategy and where they imagined their collections being sold. They each presented for 10 minutes then left the room. At this point the panel members got up and looked at the clothes up close, got to touch them, and look at the construction details. Then the student was called back to answer questions and listen to the advice and feedback from the panelists. I have to say that I wish I had had the opportunity to present mine as well just to get some feedback on what I had made…but by the time I had thought this would be fun there were no time slots left in the schedule to fit me in.
For this past week we have all had our garments back to do final fittings on models and finish last minute details including final pressing, etc. for the show. I spent this morning doing some little fixes and touch ups and assembled a little emergency kit for next week to bring to the venue….it has some static guard, lint rollers, double sided tape, thread, pins, needles, stain remover stick, etc.
We have to be at the venue at 2:30 on Tuesday afternoon – models arrive at 3:30 for backstage tours, runway choreography, model training, etc. We will need to bring all our garments to place on the racks that have been assigned to each designer backstage.
On Wednesday morning the designers, models, hair and make up people and assistants need to arrive at 6 am. to prepare for the show. I have already consulted with my hair and makeup person and gave her this picture to give her an idea of what I would like for the make up. Imagine over 60 designers each with 5 models. Over 300 models need to be dressed and coiffed and made up and lined up in the order that they will walk the runway by 11 am. for the show that starts at 12:30 pm. Some who don’t appear until the last part of the show will be standing from 11 am. until after 2 pm. I almost can’t imagine how this will all go down and am very excited and anxious for the big day.
For a little taste of what is coming on Wednesday check out this link which is a short video about last year’s show and this link which shows some highlights of the 2013 show. Mass Exodus is not just a runway show but includes a very impressive exhibit of the capstone projects completed by the fashion communication students. In September I had hoped to have a collection for the runway and a booth at the exhibit but in the end I am only human and could not do it all. I will not have anything at the exhibit but the communication aspect of this project has been a key part of the experience both in the maintenance of this blog and in the extensive research I did and conversations that I have continued to have about empathy, its role in this project and its role in the work I and my staff do every day with and for our students.