Providing real-life relevance

Fashion industry practices folded into fashion show preparation

Young designers who are unveiling their garments in CREO this week are going through a review process with significant industry applications, said Donna Ricco ’81, a successful designer and alumna who now acts as an advisor to the Mount Mary Fashion Department in her role as executive fellow.

They present their work before a panel of judges

A panel of fashion industry experts are meeting soon to evaluate the garments/collections and award outstanding student work during “Jury Day.”

“In industry, the concept of “jury” – to evaluate, critique and recognize – emerges in various forms,” Ricco said. The awards are an example of such validation. “Fashion is a competitive business, so designers and brands at every level must constantly prove their mission and stay relevant.”

This virtual format is a new learning experience, and grants students the opportunity to advocate for their own work towards the goal of receiving a specific award, Ricco said.

Because of the virtual format of this year’s jury process, students submitted materials and will not be present for the judging. The judges will meet to assess the work based on general impression, execution of the design concept into reality, and overall presence on screen instead of on a runway.

Award winners will be announced during the CREO virtual watch party on Friday, May 14, 2021.

They showcase their collections at “Rack Check”

In industry, Ricco explains that the development of a collection often starts with an empty rack as a place to collect fabric swatches and cuts, sketches and trims as place holders.

During this process, designers can present and review the collection as it is developing, while collaborating with creative and technical assistants, marketing, sales and most importantly fashion editors and store buyers.

“The rack of work in progress always the most important item in my design studio and I constantly analyzed, edited, and reworked its contents to ensure I was creating a cohesive collection,” Ricco said.

Rack checks enable designers to organize ideas and stage groups or develop a run of show. Everyone involved in the process of creating the collection has access to the rack to track the development of each look as it becomes a completed garment.

The year’s virtual rack check is scheduled for Wednesday, May 12. Students will present their designs to sponsors to share inspiration, process, challenges, and provide an exclusive first look at their completed designs.

The CREO 2021: Disconnect Reconnect virtual watch party will be held Friday, May 14th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at