Student Experiences a Runway to Fashion Success


Fashion Merchandising student Sloan Dando

Fashion Merchandising student Sloan Dando was one of only 23 students from 15 universities at this September’s New York Fashion Week. This unique academic enrichment program provides future fashion leaders a behind-the-scenes look at the industry, including entry into select runway shows, panel discussions and networking opportunities with industry leaders.

“Participating during the opening weekend of New York Fashion Week gives each student participant a glimpse into the realities of the industry and one-on-one connections with industry professionals,” said Sally Fortenberry, professor and department chair of fashion merchandising. “Contacts these students make during this event can provide a significant career advantage after they graduate.”

Fashion Merchandising student Sloan DandoTCU Branding and Licensing and the Department of Fashion Merchandising have coordinated sending a student for both fall and spring New York Fashion Weeks since 2017. There is a competition for all fashion merchandising majors to participate in each semester, and a winner is selected to attend. This year was especially exciting since it was the first year returning to traditional runway shows and in-person events after several years of alternative offerings because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Attending NYFW my senior year of college offered me experiences that I could not have simply had while sitting in a classroom,” Dando said. “I gained wisdom from influential fashion leaders, learned about career options that I am interested in pursuing after graduation, and made many relationships along the way.”

The students were treated to runway shows, a talk on mental health in the fashion industry and a backstage tour of the fashion show production. The students also spent the day at top athletic fashion brand and collegiate licensee Champion where they had the opportunity to learn firsthand how a clothing line is developed and merchandised.

“Participating in New York Fashion Week was not only a dream come true, but I believe taught me many valuable lessons that I plan to take forward with me into my career,” Dando said. “I am grateful for the TCU fashion merchandising program and my professors who helped me achieve this goal!”

The academic program is known as University of New York Fashion Week (UofNYFW) and is a partnership between IMG – the operator of NYFW – and Collegiate Licensing Corporation, which is the nation’s leading collegiate licensing company, and, of course, the participating universities.

“The fashion merchandising department’s partnership with TCU Branding and Licensing allows the TCU reputation for quality fashion education to be enhanced and promoted to those working within the fashion capital of the U.S. – New York City and the surrounding area,” Fortenberry said. “The student who represents TCU and fashion merchandising serves as a role model for other fashion students and as an ambassador for our university and program to everyone they meet during the three-day event.”