USC FIA prepares for a night of “wonder”

A behind-the-scenes look leading up to the annual fashion show.

Step aside, Naomi Campbell, because USC students are strutting the runway this Saturday. Students and Los Angeles designers will be displaying their work at the Fashion Industry Association fashion show. The theme for this year is “wonder,” one could only wonder what to expect at the event and how the FIA team is preparing for their big night.

The fashion show has been in the works since January, involving various working parts including the casting, design, modeling and outreach teams, along with the supervising executive board and other FIA members.

Simone Brown, a junior majoring in communication and co-president of FIA, shared that FIA is shaking things up this year and trying new things for their show.

“We’re creating a reception before the show that’s kind of on theme, so we’re going to have tattoo artists, poker, tarot readers, magicians, music and food,” Brown said. “So that kind of space for people to enjoy, and get to know each other and just have a nice evening in L.A.”

Justina Chou, a freshman majoring in world bachelors of business and a member of the FIA outreach team, is most excited about the reception before the show and the general social scene expected at the event.

The outreach team has invited surprise VIP guests to attend, which Chou shares she is genuinely excited about. The event is an opportunity for USC students to mingle and connect with members of the fashion community.

FIA also opens the opportunity for USC students, alum and designers in the L.A. area to design for their fashion shows. Designers can apply through a Google form, then the FIA team considers the designer’s previous work, style and vision for the show, according to Chou.

“I’m really excited for people to see, of course, the designs because I have been able to see the iterations of what the designers are working on,” Brown said. “I’ve been able to see them go from sketches to actual pieces.”

The casting team held two casting calls for students to audition and become a model for the FIA fashion show, two months ago.

Models were asked to wear dark, form-fitting clothing for the audition along with heels for female-presenting models.

Students lined up in the PED hallways in order to audition and be cast as part of the show. They walked in small groups demonstrating their runway walk to the casting team.

Rui Zhang is a freshman and was selected as a model for this year’s FIA fashion show, which will be their first time ever walking in a real fashion show.

“[The casting team] asked us to walk, which is nerve-wracking. Especially because there are definitely people there who have actually walked in a fashion show before,” Zhang said. “So it’s kind of scary, but a pretty cool experience.”

The modeling team has been rehearsing their walks as a group, often rehearsing in empty practice rooms and outdoors. They have also been working closely with the designers, going through fittings to ensure the clothes fit properly before hitting the runway.

The casting team was responsible for selecting a group of over 30 models to walk the runway at this year’s show.

“I think our show is really, really diverse, which I thought was so cool and there’s, I think, a really great variety of people who have some experience modeling and some people have never done it before.” Zhang said.

With no official major and only a few fashion courses offered, there are limited opportunities for the fashion community at USC. However, FIA offers opportunities for students to gain real-life and first-hand experience with running a fashion show.

For the members of the FIA, their love for fashion pushed them to create a community.

“I was really interested and really wanted to do something hands-on with fashion, so that’s why I applied this semester,” Chou said.

Zhang recalls not having the chance to do much stuff on campus yet as a freshman, but is grateful for the people they’ve met through this project.

“I feel this experience really exposed me to this whole other group of people on campus that I didn’t even know existed. They’re like the coolest people ever, so it’s been great,” Zhang said.

Brown agreed that there are limited opportunities for people interested in fashion at USC, but is proud to be a member of one of the campus’ biggest fashion clubs including their diverse team.

“I’m really grateful that our club is very diverse and open to anyone, regardless of age or background.” Brown said.

As the annual fashion show vastly approaches, FIA continues to prepare for its big night of “wonder.” The event starts this Saturday at 7 p.m. and will be held in downtown L.A. Tickets are available in their bio on Instagram, @uscfia.