With the revival of in-person events at Fashion Week this month in New York, Patrick Kurcz, a senior fashion merchandising major, was given a one-of-a-kind educational experience through UofNYFW, a partnership between TCU and CLC, the university’s trademark licensing agency. Hosted by global fashion leader IMG, this unique academic enrichment program provided a behind-the-scenes look at the industry, including entry into select runway shows, panel discussions, and networking opportunities with industry leaders.
Fashion & Social Media
Kurcz joined students from nine other universities who were treated to a runway show with Ghanaian American fashion house Studio 189. The students also attended the NYFW: The Talks panel entitled Creation, The New Digital Landscape, which explored how social media has shaped our everyday lives and featured supermodel and entrepreneur Coco Rocha, designer and creative director Brandon Maxwell, dancer, actor, and IMG model Parker Kit Hill, head of content and creator partnerships at Pinterest Aya Kanai, and content creator Tinx. Following the panel, the students were treated to a reception and Q&A with representatives from IMG, as well as a backstage tour of the production and execution of a fashion show at Spring Studios.
“My favorite part of the NYFW experience was The Talks panel after the Studio 189 show,” said Kurcz. “The panel members gave amazing insight into their creative processes while offering advice to all of us on how we can utilize social media to our advantage.”
Kurcz said that he also talked one-on-one with panelist Maxwell about how to focus on one’s own unique traits when creating and designing.
“His gesture was by far the highlight of my trip!”
Building a Network
In addition to the unique Fashion Week experiences, Kurcz and his fellow students were treated to a private breakfast at the home of jewelry designer Kyle Garcia of collegiate jewelry company Kyle Cavan, where they were joined by Kyle Cavan co-founder Elizabeth Shirley for a discussion on starting and building a brand. The students also had the opportunity to hear from past participants in the #UofNYFW experience to learn how the program benefited them in pursuit of their careers.
“The weekend at NYFW was truly inspiring,” said Kurcz. “The panel of former #UofNYFW students wanted us to understand how important it was to take advantage of our opportunity and make sure to ask questions and reach out to those people who we connect with.”
TCU provided the resources for Kurcz to attend this unique academic enrichment opportunity at Fashion Week. Other institutions that participated in the collegiate enrichment program at NYFW: The Shows included Gonzaga University, Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona, University of Delaware, University of Miami (OH), University of Pittsburgh, University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M, and West Virginia University.
An Impactful Experience
“Everyone we spoke to was so welcoming and wanted to help us succeed,” said Kurcz. “I had such a great time seeing how NYFW comes together from the behind-the-scenes work all the way to the fashion shows. I learned a great deal about the fashion industry from all of the professionals who we were able to speak with. It was refreshing to hear honest answers about the highs and lows of working in fashion.”
Kurcz took over the TCU Fashion Merchandising Instagram account to chronicle his experience through social media using #UofNYFW.
“This experience is something I am grateful for, and it was a weekend I’ll never forget!”
Kurcz will graduate from TCU this December with a BS in fashion merchandising. After graduation, he will continue working as a personal stylist in custom menswear. His goal is to eventually become a tailor on Savile Row in London.