Megan McDonald and Elise Knaack: Senior Co-Producers of The Fashion School’s Annual Fashion Show

The Fashion School's Annual Fashion show is finally here. Her Campus sat down with Senior Co-Producers: Elise Knaack and Megan McDonald to get the inside scoop on this years one of a kind production.

Elise Knaack

Major: Fashion Merchandising, Marketing minor

Hometown: South Bend, Indiana

Favorite spring trend: Off the shoulder tops


Megan McDonald

Major: Fashion Merchandising, Marketing and International Business minors

Hometown: Lima, Ohio

Favorite spring trend: Ruffles

Her Campus: How did you guys come into the role of Senior Co-Producers?

Megan McDonald: I came to Kent for the behind-the-scenes day as a junior in high school and fell in love with the show. Freshman year I was on the merchandising committee, sophomore year I was on the model committee, junior year I was a Junior Co-Producer and now I am a Senior Co-Producer. I haven’t sat and watched the show since I was a junior in high school because I have always been behind the scenes. Elise became Senior Co out of me asking her for help.

Elise Knaack: I was on the catalog committee last year. I was a transfer student and saw the show my first year here at Kent, then I was a committee member and then this year Megan asked me to be her co. I liked working with Megan last year, so I was looking forward to being partners in crime once again.

Megan: I recommended Elise for this role because she stepped up and did anything to help last year. She truly went above and beyond.


HC: Tell me a little bit about FS2.

Megan: The tagline this year is “Reverie” and that means having practical ideas or a daydreams.

Elise: Megan came up with this vision and I drove with it. I love the idea that when you’re little you’re drawing sketches and you dream of being a designer or if you are a little girl playing dress up and dream of being a merchandiser. The show follows the path of the students who are apart of it. Fashion is always influencing your life and you see all of this work come to life in the show. We thought of the fantasy dream world. There’s a lot of smoke and things like that make it very fantasy like.

Megan: The show really captures seeing the dream come to life. Designers seeing their collections down runways and merchandisers seeing the production unfold.

Designer Gerald Hopper

HC: What is the selection process for designers who show their collections in the show?

Elise:  There are BFA and BA designers. We fly in industry professionals to look at the BFA collections, students present their thesis and meaning behind their pieces and are given feedback and critiques.

Megan: Senior BA students, juniors, sophomores and freshman go through a jury day process with local industry people who decide which collections to put in the show.

Elise: The three jurors were from Cleveland and all have their own businesses in the fashion industry.


HC: This years' Hall of Fame Inductee is Don Witkowski, President of Men’s at Michael Kors. How were you able to bring him to Kent?

Megan: Don is a KSU grad. We always choose a Kent State graduate to be inducted into the fashion hall of fame every year. He is presenting a free lecture Friday, April 29th at noon which is open to public.

Elise: We landed Michael Kors by just talking and communicating with them. We still have other sponsors from other places that we are so appreciative of. Macy’s, Dillard’s, LBrands and JCPenney’s have been very loyal to the fashion school and we couldn’t thank them enough.

Megan: We have a lot of local support as well.


HC: Technology is taking the fashion industry by storm. What type of fashion technology will be used in this years show?

Megan: We can’t tell you about the really cool things we are doing for the production of the show, its top secret. But, a lot of designers use the TechStyleLAB on the third floor of Rockwell.

Elise: Laser cutting, creating their own prints and digitally printing were really popular this year. We have a garment from the Fashion Tech Hackathon in the show also.

Megan: Every year we have designers using the TechStyleLAB.

Elise: Each year it is used more and more. Judges ask designers if the technology was used and what was used because they know we have this resource available for students.

Designer Iman Hooker

HC: Sustainability is becoming a very prominent practice in the fashion industry. How will you be incorporating sustainable practices into the the show?

Megan: There was quite a few collections that focused on sustainability, such as using organic cotton, recycled denim or no waste garments.

Elise: Even in our single submissions, there were no waste garments.

Megan: One of the designers, Delaney Sullivan, created a pattern for ruffles that doesn’t waste any fabric.

Elise: Her thesis was about the ocean and the reefs which was very interesting.

Megan: Sustainability is present in the show as multiple uses for garments, garments that transform into another piece, or garments that are reversible.


HC: What has been your favorite or most rewarding part of this role so far?

Megan: I think my favorite part is that this is my fourth year doing the show and it is the best year in regards to having a connection with the team and that’s a first. It’s crazy it took four years for that connection. It makes working together so much better and more efficient.

Elise: Everyone has put in so much effort and rallied together during this crazy semester. People don’t realize the time commitment. Everyone is so comfortable with each other. It is rewarding to see that we put all of these people together who have created such an collaborative team. We don’t want to take all the credit, but we did put them all of these amazing people together.

Megan: The most rewarding part is going to be the actual show.

Elise: Getting to say “Presented by Michael Kors” and getting to show everyone all of top secret tricks we have up our sleeves.

Megan: The best part is feedback we receive and hearing industry professionals rave about show.

Elise: The great feedback makes it all worthwhile, especially when nothing goes wrong.


HC: What are you most looking forward to about this show?

Megan: I’m most looking forward to the last show, when its over and done with.

Elise: Celebrating with our team

Megan: And knowing we did all we could to make it the best we could have.

Designer Maame Amoah​

HC: This will be the 4th annual fashion show that I have attended. How will this show stand out for all of the others?

Megan: Michael Kors is the presenting partner. This has allowed us to amp up production. If you have been the show in the past, it is going to be very different.

Elise: We want to transform Rockwell so even the students don’t recognize it. You'll feel proud knowing that you go to class there everyday.


HC: What are your plans for after graduation?

Elise: Get a job. I definitely want to work in the industry and I want to be able to support myself. Right now you just don’t know, no one starts hiring until closer to graduation. I really want to work in product development or merchandising, the product development class got me really interested.

Megan: I’m open to anything and everything. I’m more interested in the visual merchandising aspect, I interned with Michael Kors in men’s over the summer. I also really love fashion production.

Elise: I could see her running New York Fashion Week, and then getting me tickets to the shows.


HC: What has been one of your favorite experiences of being a Kent State Fashion Student?

Megan: The show, that is definitely my number one. I wouldn't be doing it if I didn’t love it. I’ve been an FYE Student Success Leader since I was a sophomore. I love that experience of sharing what I know with new students, helping them get acclimated to Kent and showing them the fashion school. One of our team members was in my first ever FYE class.

Elise: The opportunities the fashion school has given me professionally. I got internship with Stich Fix in Pittsburgh. Hillary Stone, the fashion schools Industry Liaison and Internship Manager, has helped me so much. She’s so personable and cares about the students. She makes everyone think they’re her favorite. She has so many connections and cares so much, she will be your number one supporter. The other school I transferred from didn’t give me any opportunities like this. Kent has made me realize that if I work for it, I can have it as long as I work hard.

HC: Any last comments you want to share?

Elise: We hope everyone enjoys the show and we can’t wait to see their reactions.

Megan: Be sure to follow on social media! It is the best way to get involved with show and get a behind the scenes look. Check out our Youtube channel, it has profiles on all the designers.

The Fashion School's Annual Fashion Show is sold out! To join the waitlist, call 330-672-2787. The show will take place Friday, April 28th at the 2pm Matinee or the 7pm Awards Show. There will be a free lecture by Don Witkowski on Friday, April 28th at noon in the Rockwell Auditorium prior to the Matinee show. Saturday, April 29th at 7pm is the Sponsor/VIP Show and the Fashion School Hall of Fame Induction Presentation.

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