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Student Success

Bringing NC State Pride to New York Fashion Week

Wilson College of Textiles student Lainey Volz spent a weekend networking with industry leaders and exploring New York City through the U of NYFW program. 

Lainey Volz wears a black dress with fabric flowers and stands in the bike lane of a New York City street.
Lainey Volz in New York City in a dress of her own design.

Taking in Badgley Mischka’s Fall 2024 runway show marked the achievement of a lifelong dream for Wilson College of Textiles sophomore Lainey Volz. 

“Since the second grade, when I first expressed interest in fashion design to my parents, my mom and dad would sit with me and play Project Runway on the TV,” Volz, who is pursuing a degree in fashion and textile design with a concentration in fashion design, says. “So before I knew anything about the fashion industry, I knew that New York Fashion Week [NYFW] was the representation of everything it stood for. Besides wanting to be a fashion designer when I grew up, attending Fashion Week was my first ever big dream.” 

NC State University’s Trademark Licensing Office turned Volz’s dream into a reality earlier in February. Through the U of NYFW program, she spent a weekend immersed in the fashion industry during Spring 2024 NYFW. Not only did Volz have the opportunity to attend a runway show, she also explored backstage, toured Champion headquarters and heard from a panel of professionals working in all areas of the fashion industry. 

Keep scrolling to see photos from the weekend and read more about Volz’s experience. 

The trip to Champion headquarters included the opportunity to customize her own crewneck.
Volz in the famous Mood Fabrics.
“I got to meet one of my biggest style inspirations, Carolina Vazzana, and it was a dream come true,” Volz says.

Why were you interested in attending U of NYFW?

When I was a prospective student, I was so inspired by seeing Wilson College students attend fashion week and the opportunity amazed me. At my first advising meeting when I was a first-year student, I asked my advisor about how to apply to the U of NYFW program.

In addition to dreaming about being immersed in NYFW, living in New York City has always been a dream of mine. Since I have never been there before, I was also so excited for the opportunity to learn more about the city and see if I could picture myself living there! 

What was your favorite/most memorable experience of the weekend?

That is an extremely hard choice, but I think I would have to go with attending the Badgley Mischka runway show. From the moment we walked into the venue the experience felt like a fantasy, and I could not believe I was truly there. As I found my seat I kept thinking to myself “this is the world I’ve always wanted to be a part of.” 

I loved the buzz of photographers snapping photos and the sea of people in extravagant outfits. The show was exhilarating, and as a fashion design student attending shows is such an amazing form of active learning. 

The collection was breathtaking. I loved the use of jewel tones, sequins, belts and plisse fabric. This was Badgley Mischka’s Fall 2024 collection, so in addition to finding each look stunning, I also loved analyzing them from a trend forecasting perspective. I’ve already used my observations from this runway show to justify my fabric color choices for an upcoming fashion design project.  

What stood out to you about your visit to Champion?

At Champion it was so incredible to see how everything we learn at the Wilson College mirrors industry practice. We got to see the apparel designers walk us through fabric selection, mood boards, color stories, samples, technical flats and three dimensional simulations, all of which are part of our fashion and textile design curriculum. It was such an exciting moment to be able to see that the incredible education at Wilson is preparing me for my dream job of being an apparel designer! 

I loved how at Champion the designers told us that even though Champion’s classic crewnecks have continued to be successful for them, they never stop innovating. They continue to strive to design cutting edge athleisure products to impress their customers, and I find that drive extremely inspiring.  

How did you feel like you were able to apply your experience from the Wilson College of Textiles during U of NYFW? 

One of my favorite aspects of the fashion and textile design degree is that my education takes me beyond garment construction and teaches me about the fabric I design garments with. 

Crewnecks were initially designed to keep football players warm on the sidelines, which led to Champion’s signature “roomy shoulder” fit, as the crewnecks were originally intended to fit over shoulder pads! I love being able to discuss the role and importance of textile selection in apparel design, and I owe it all to my classroom experiences at the college! 

What was your biggest takeaway from the weekend?

For a while now when asked about my aspirations for after college, my answer has been that I want to get as much industry experience as possible and continue to learn. Then after years of learning from – and being in – the industry I want to start my own brand! This trip solidified my desire to one day have my own brand, because I got the overwhelming fulfilling sensation of “this is me!” whenever I was in space learning from fashion designers about their own companies. 

An industry panel at Champion headquarters gave Volz the opportunity to learn more about career paths open to her after college.

However, this weekend completely revitalizatized my thinking about where I want to start my career, as it immersed me in the infinite possibilities of how to be a part of this industry! I was exposed to so many different facets of the industry and I had exciting thoughts of “this could be me!” everywhere I went. Unlike anything else before, this trip has helped me reflect, dream, brainstorm and envision all of the possibilities for my future. 

Growing up, I have always been someone who loves to have a plan. Yet returning from this trip I feel refreshed and inspired, having learned about the countless ways to enter the fashion industry and my desire to explore all of them!