UCLA FAST Fashion Show: The Inside Scoop

This past year, I had the privilege of being a member of one of the most unique and rewarding clubs on campus: FAST. FAST, which stands for Fashion and Student Trends, is the first and only fashion organization on campus. Because of this, and in addition to the fact that UCLA does not offer any fashion-related major, FAST is the only direct connection that the fashion industry has to UCLA.

Each year, the club works to put on their annual FAST Runway show which features the work of all UCLA FAST student designers. The show is highly professional and is sponsored by well-known brands, as well as attended by several big fashion names. Our 2019 sponsors, for example, were Articles of Society, Roundtable and Shein. Held in Pauley Pavilion, the show costs tens of thousands of dollars and requires the time and effort of all 132 members. The club consists of several committees including PR, marketing, sponsorship, production, film, finance, creative, editorial, model, design and blog. The runway show is an enormous production that I got to experience firsthand on Friday night, and it really showed me that every member of each of these highly selective committees has a specialized and crucial job on show night. None of this could have happened without the hard work and support of one another. 

This past year, I was a model on the modeling committee, along with about 60 others. We worked all year with practices once a week to perfect our walks, our poses, our facial expressions, choreography and more. It was time consuming, but the work proved to be worth it in the end. We got assigned our designers about halfway through this quarter, but the first time we got fitted for our clothes was on Work Day, about two weeks before the show. At Work Day, everyone gets assigned jobs to help prep for the show while the designers fit their models for their outfits. Then two weeks later- it’s show week.

Dress rehearsal lasted for five hours the day before the show. I was assigned to two lines: Madux Middaugh’s line and a sponsored line (Round Table). It was so incredible to get to rep a professional brand like Round Table, but it was even more inspiring to get to wear the designs of a fellow student here at UCLA. This was the first time that most models were seeing their clothes, but for one of my lines, my clothes weren’t even ready yet! So the first time I got to see them for real was show day- how crazy. I guess it's good practice though, because I hear that this is how the real world of fashion runway shows operates too- anything can happen and everything is last minute. You have to be ready for anything, and I totally learned to just go with the flow. As a model, you aren’t there to get too creative with your performance, you are simply there to clearly showcase the artwork and talent of your designer. On show day, I just stood there and let my designer fix my sizing and swap me in and out of different pieces he had until he got it just right- just how he saw it in his mind. I was proud to be in whatever he deemed suitable, because his artistic vision was something I could only begin to admire. I am still in awe of his talent.

On show day, all of the models had to get there at noon for hair and makeup. At 5PM, we began practicing, and then we were in place by 6PM, which is when people began to arrive. It was nerve-wracking waiting backstage in the locker rooms at Pauley; I kept practicing poses in the mirror with the jean jacket I had on for my first line. Everyone looked beautiful in their designs, and I remember just being in total awe that I was a part of such a brilliant and creative production.

The show began at 7PM. From the moment it began to the time I stepped off stage- it was a total whirlwind. I spent the first half of Act 1 getting fitted into my outfit and having my designer order us the way he wanted us to walk. For this line, I wore a pale tie-dye jean set of a jean jacket and matching jeans, along with a highlighter yellow cropped top underneath my jean jacket that said “safety is my business”. The theme of this line was to call attention to the ecological effects that the fashion industry is having on our planet, as most of his pieces were made of recycled goods/trash/handmade dye/reusable and thrifted clothing. As for shoes, our designer wanted us to wear none! It was amazing. It was liberating. I felt like I was making an environmental statement walking out there in the bright lights of this professional-like fashion show in no shoes at all. I have never felt so inspired.

Directly after that line, I had to sprint from dressing room A to dressing room B to change into my second line: RoundTable, which was one of our sponsored lines. For this line, I basically wore a men’s button down as a dress since it was oversized on me, and the vibe was supposed to be like I was wearing someone else’s clothing and coming home from a night out... spicy!!! It was super fun, and the only other thing I wore with this... um, shirt, were nude heels, so I got to strut my stuff almost… walk of shame style? Whatever it was, I felt powerful and I felt like I was working it. I walked off that runway feeling confident and bossy. Shout-out to my Her Campus loves for catching a video of my walk!

After my lines, there was a brief intermission, and before I knew it, it was time for the concluding all-model walk. As I walked out there for my last time, clapping and smiling into the pitch-black abyss of unrecognizable faces, I soaked up the bright lights, I absorbed the infectious and radiant energy from the crowd and I let myself succumb to the overwhelming creativity I was surrounded by. I let all of this amazing energy in, and as I did, tears began to fall.

And then it was over. I walked out of Pauley crying- hard. FAST touched my heart and allowed me to be a part of something I could never even have imagined. What an insane opportunity to be surrounded by such brilliantly artistic minds, not to mention all of the fantastic friends I made through the club this year. My heart hurts thinking that it's over for the year, but I am already counting down the days to next year. Thank you FAST for the unbelievable journey you gave me- bearing witness to your creative spirit and multitude of inspiration has forever changed me.