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Student Success

NC State Wolfpack Take on New York Fashion Week 

Adaline Griffin (center) stands with three models at the end of the runway. Behind that group, the rest of the models in the collection stand in a line.
Adaline Griffin (center front) and her collection at NYFW. Photo Courtesy: Photos by Nina.

By Sarah Stone 

Every fall, the guest list of New York Fashion Week (NYFW) also serves as a list of the industry’s leading talent. It should be no surprise, then, to find a number of students from the Wilson College of Textiles taking part. 

From designing and modeling to attending panels and flexing their content creator skills, each Wilson College student had a unique, impactful experience at NYFW. 

Adaline Griffin sends a Van-Gogh inspired collection down the runway

Most fashion designers will say it’s a dream of theirs to debut a collection at NYFW. Not many can say that they’ve done it. And Adaline Griffin is one of a select few who can say they did so before completing their first semester of college. 

“I was bawling backstage when the intro video started for my collection. It was really surreal in the best way possible,” she says. “It was a lot of gratitude that I was feeling throughout the entire process.” 

The first-year fashion and textile design student first found her love for the arts in an elementary school classroom learning to paint “Starry Night.” She paid homage to that young artistic spark through a collection she categorizes as art infused fashion. Each design featured in Griffin’s line is a portrayal of a different Van Gogh painting. 

Throughout the months-long process, Griffin says she not only learned the power of her own resilience and drive, but also gained a new appreciation for the thought and preparation that goes into being an established designer. 

“There was a lot to consider when thinking about painting on the fabric. Once you paint linen or another apparel textile, it really becomes something new and begins acting like an entirely different textile,” the Centennial Scholar explains. “And then when you’re cutting out a pattern, you have to keep in mind it will hang on the body in a certain way. You really have to keep the placement of the painting in mind, which impacts which sewing techniques you use.”

Although hundreds of miles from campus, Griffin felt the support of her NC State community. Wilson College alumnus Dominic Celemen, now a designer for Ralph Lauren, and student entrepreneur Anthony Adams both attended her show. 

Photo Courtesy of: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Runway 7

“It was heartwarming, especially because I only met Dominic a few months ago,” she says. “The fact that our 15 minute-or-less conversation meant that much for a person to come and see this show and bring along one of his friends from the Wilson College meant a lot.” 

Griffin, who runs her own modeling agency, also walked the runway herself for KötKomm by Kathy Harris. 

However, she says the most memorable moment of the trip happened off the runway: a photoshoot of her collection in New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

“It timed out perfectly. Because when we first got to the MoMA, the employees at the front desk told us, ”Starry Night’ isn’t going to be here. We loaned it to the Met.’ But then we walked in the museum and went up the escalator, and there was ‘Starry Night’ in all of its magnificent, breathtaking glory,” she says. “The security guard told my dad that we came in at the right time,the perfect time actually, because they had just put the painting back up.” 

Adaline Griffin wears a blue floor length dress. The bottom of the dress has a reproduction of "Starry Night" painted on it. Van Gogh's original "Starry Night" can be seen hanging on the wall in the background behind her.
Adaline Griffin wears her own “Starry Night” inspired design in front of the original piece in the MoMA.

Jada Williams networks with all sides of the industry 

As a participant in the U of NYFW program, Williams was introduced to professionals in marketing, design, merchandising and more. A partnership between U of NYFW, NC State University’s Trademark Office and the Wilson College of Textiles made the expense-free experience possible.  

Over the course of two different panels, executives at both IMG and Champion emphasized the same simple, yet valuable, piece of advice: network, network, network. 

“People were telling their stories of how they got to their role and how many connections they had to make and leverage to get to that point,” Williams, a senior in fashion development and product management, says. “And a surprising amount of those connections didn’t even work directly in the fashion industry. Some were accountants!”  

She had plenty of opportunities to do that over the course of three days of programming with fashion students from across the country. Her favorite part, she says, was visiting Champion headquarters. 

Williams at Champion headquarters, where she also had the opportunity to design a custom Champion sweatshirt.

“There are a lot of changes happening at Champion because of their new Global VP of Design, Jay Escobara-Fontaine, and it was really cool to hear about his thought process and the direction he wants to take Champion in while keeping the brand authentic,” Williams says. “We got the chance to talk to him, and I was able to  ask him a question; it was really valuable to hear his perspective.”

Grabbing a video of the runway during Son Jung Wan’s show.

Of course, attending Son Jung Wan’s fashion show was pretty memorable, too. 

“Even before the show it was so cool to see everyone getting in their seats and to be able to feel how excited and anxious the crowd was. It was such a surreal experience,” Williams says. “It also sparked a lot of creativity in me, as well, to see her designs and get a new perspective on how I want to approach my collection for Threads this year.” 

Emalee Watson keeps shows flawless from behind the scenes 

As an intern for a modeling casting director, Watson learned firsthand how much thoughtfulness, hard work and coordination go into making a fashion show look effortless to the audience. 

Emalee Watson (right) poses with another person in front of a wall with black lettering.
Watson (right) during her internship with Communa-K.

“Designers, stylists, models, production teams, and beauty artists collaboratively contribute to its realization, revealing that it’s far from a swift and straightforward undertaking,” Watson says. She’s a junior earning her bachelor’s in fashion and textile management with a concentration in brand management and marketing. “NYFW serves as a dynamic platform for fashion trends, innovation, and creativity, unveiling emerging styles, the fusion of technology with fashion, and the ever-evolving influence of culture on this industry.”

During her internship, Watson made sure models arrived at fittings on time, stayed in contact with those models’ agents and also directed and dressed models before three different fashion shows: Son Jung Wang, Bishme Cromartie, and Bibhu Mohapatra.

Two rows of photos are pinned with thumbtacks. Each shows a photo of a model in a black top holding a sign with their name on it on the farthest left image before a series of photos of that model in different outfits.

She also had the opportunity to work in Bibhu Mohapatra’s studio where she was able to sit in on fittings and learn more about how designer looks are styled for runway shows.

“Being surrounded with such talent and opportunity only makes me more eager to work my way up in the fashion industry and potentially work in NYC as a stylist or a fashion buyer,” she says.