As the winner of the biannual Spartan Fashion Design Collection Competition, apparel and textile design senior Noel Thomas earned an all-expense-paid trip to the Spring New York Fashion Week — the first time Michigan State University has participated in the competition for the Spring Fashion Week, held in February.
“The most exciting part about the whole week was simply the overall exposure to the fashion industry,” Thomas said. “I got to see the ins and outs of fashion week, including the glamorous and the not-so-glamorous parts, and I loved it all.”
Thomas was offered two full days of activities ranging from job shadowing to attending fashion shows, and also met and networked with designers and industry professionals. “Prior to meeting some of those with whom I networked, I had not heard of any of them,” Thomas said.
“But after meeting them, I can say that I admire them all. I met designers from New Era, the creative director at Bloomingdale’s and the man who pulls together NYFW.”
Thomas was the only student from MSU selected for the trip and joined 16 other students from other schools who also were selected, all thanks to a partnership the participating schools have with IMG College Licensing, which funded the trips. And at MSU, it was the Spartan Fashion Design Collection that helped determine Thomas as the winner.
The Spartan Fashion Design Collection Competition, which was held this past December, asked students to create designs without using any fabric or other traditional materials. Thomas used only the pull tabs of pop cans to create her design.
“My piece, titled ‘The Armored Spartan,’ is a dress that I designed to reflect women standing up against people who have oppressed them,” she said. “The metal soda tabs that my dress was made from represent women linking together to form a strong, confident community that demands change. I also designed my piece to reflect the flapper women from the 1920s who stood up for their rights as women, just as other students continue to stand up today for equality and respect, especially within the MSU community.”
Thomas, who will graduate in May 2020, shared advice for other MSU students, especially those going into creative fields.
“You are responsible for going after your dreams and passions, and you are the only one who can make those things happen. Do not be afraid to get denied or have others dislike your work. If you like what you are creating, that is what is important. If you love what you do, naturally, others will sense that and have an appreciation for it.”