UT Fashion Shows through the Years
Each year, graduating seniors in the Textiles and Apparel Division design, build and display fashion that is all new. But the history of this event goes back many decades. A common thread throughout has been student volunteers, involved to this day with everything from lighting to public relations to, of course, fashion design and production. It can be intense but as faculty member Ockhee Bego notes: “Apparel design is like foreign language and is best learned by immersion.”
You would have to go back to the year of Apollo 13 to attend the first fashion show. A new student group, started to help prepare students for jobs in the fashion industry, has its members discover and model current trends.
Over the years, the student organization is formalized as the University Fashion Group. Increasingly working with local businesses, the students also innovate their designs for the catwalk.
A UT Austin student makes a splash at the fashion show with solid-colored swimsuits with a twist: When wet, previously hidden stars and maps of Texas come to light.
Faculty member Eve Nicols – who got her start in London, forecasting fashion trends for the apparel industry, running her own design business and working with CBS records designing costumes for bands – arrives at the University and begins adding scale and drama to a fashion show she’ll go on to direct for nearly two decades. “Most people at the University had no idea about the program,” she says. “We wanted to share what our students create with the wider community.”
The annual fashion show headlines for the first time at the Frank Erwin Center, where it is held to this day.
The University Co-operative becomes a sponsor of the event. In later years, Lexus of Austin, Cotton Incorporated and Ruiz Salon will join the Co-op as sponsors.
The Austin Chronicle hails UT’s fashion show as “the best fashion event in Austin.”
Fashion show attendance hits an estimated 5,000 people.
The Longhorn Network agrees for the first time to air the UT Fashion Show, bringing it millions more viewers that year and each spring season since.
Ockhee Bego, a textiles and apparel alum, becomes the new fashion show director, and will continue to serve in the role through the present day.