NC State Student Goes Behind the Scenes of New York Fashion Week
By Sarah Stone
Manhattan becomes the center of the fashion world each spring for New York Fashion Week (NYFW). And this spring, sophomore Jasmine VanBlon was at the center of it all.
She spent three days exploring all sides of the industry through the U of NYFW program. A partnership between the Wilson College of Textiles and NC State University’s Trademark Licensing Office made the all-expenses-paid experience possible.
“Attending New York Fashion Week has always been a really big dream of mine,” says VanBlon, who is pursuing a bachelor’s in fashion and textile design (FTD) with a concentration in fashion design.
In addition to attending two fashion shows, including a look behind the scenes at hair and makeup, VanBlon also had the opportunity to explore other parts of the fashion industry. She toured Champion headquarters, where she got a sneak peek at the brand’s 2025 collection, learned more about their creative design process and even designed her own set of custom sweats. The most surprising part of the experience, she says, was learning that she already had developed some of the skills used every day by Champion’s designers.
“My mind was like, blown because Champion’s 3-D animator was talking about how she uses Clo 3D software every day at work,” she says. “I use that program at school right now for my big projects. I’ve never really thought about how much I’m actually going to use these programs outside of school. It was so cool to hear from a professional that she’s doing the same thing that I’m doing.”
Learning from executives
U of NYFW also held two different panels with executives from across the industry to allow students to learn and ask questions. VanBlon heard from professionals in the design, merchandising and marketing fields.
“I met the talent manager for Gigi and Bella Hadid. It felt like I was basically meeting them,” she jokes.
Once she got over the star shock, VanBlon walked away from the panels with valuable connections and a better understanding of the power of networking.
“I felt like I learned a lot from the trip itself by taking notes from the other students around me,” she says. “I learned a lot about networking, and the panelists gave a lot of great advice about how to interview and follow up with connections.”
Connecting with alumni designers
VanBlon says her favorite part of the trip was made possible by the Wilson College community: an invitation to designer Celine Borthayre’s (B.S. FTD ‘21) NYFW debut.
When Borthayre learned about VanBlon’s trip to NYFW through the college’s Instagram account, she reached out to the fashion design student and invited her to the runway show.
“The shows the program set up for us were so cool to experience. It felt so exclusive and professional. There were celebrities there, like Brooke Shields,” VanBlon says. “But when I went to Celine’s show, I felt so included. Her parents even came and talked to me before the show.”
Borthayre says it was meaningful to have the support of her Wilson College Wolfpack during this pivotal moment in her design career.
“I was just in a new element. I was in New York during New York Fashion Week. And even though my parents were there, I knew it would make me feel better to see somebody from NC State.”