By KIRBY MCMAHON
While the development of CREO focused on unification of the artistic departments, branding and location, other changes in preparation for the event affected individual departments, which had to make accommodations for the off-campus location and the sheer magnitude of the event.
“Moving off campus required a lot of preparation and consideration,” Aeran Park, fashion chairperson, said. “When we held our fashion shows in the theater at Mount Mary we were able to accommodate for many different problems. Say a zipper broke; we could run up to a fashion room and fix it. Now we have to prepare for problems like this in advance.”
Park added that while her department was nervous about moving off campus last year, they are much more excited this year. “Last year’s experience has made us a lot more confident,” she said.
With any growth, price increase follows. “Any time you go off campus, you’re spending more money,” Susan Seiler, director of marketing and public relations said. She added that the venue allows each fashion show to have approximately 100 more tickets than last year, which is beneficial since all shows sold out last year.
Deb Heermans, fine arts chairperson, said the money invested in the show has great potential.
“There are two goals. First, we’re giving our students an opportunity on a different professional level. That in itself is going to be a success. Sharing the visibility of the college, I feel it will [be successful], but we’ll find out. If both of those elements are established, I think the money invested will be well worth it,” Heermans said.
Another change to this year’s events is the involvement of students. While previous shows may have been senior-focused, CREO will encompass all the grade levels.
Park explained that sophomores will have one dress in the show, juniors and seniors will have three outfits from collection I and collection II classes, and there will be additional garments from tailoring and special occasion classes featuring children’s wear.
“The art students in the show are freshmen through seniors, so you really get to see the development of students as they progress through the program,” Heermans said.Students have mixed views relating to the show and the way it has been constructed.
Chelsea Hassi, senior fine arts and education student, is looking forward to the event.
“I’m actually very excited for the upcoming CREO show,” she said. “There have been some negative comments going around about it, which I’ve heard through the grapevine, but I’m confident that as long as things go well, everyone’s doubts will be relieved.”
Most of the controversy revolves around the branding of the event and the creation of the invitations. In prior years, graphic design students were in charge of creating invitations for the fashion show. Some students expressed disappointment because of the outsourcing of the branding and invitation manufacturing.
Jennifer Foster, senior graphic design major, has mixed feelings about the change.
“My question about this event is why the graphic design students were not allowed to do the branding and invitation – why the college felt the need to hire an external design firm to complete the work when we have studied for four years to be able to do that exact type of design work,” Foster said.
Hassi had similar views relating to the development of the invitations.
“The one thing I was disappointed by was hearing that all of the publicity and marketing was being placed in outside hands. We have a whole group of capable students at Mount Mary that could have produced amazing work for the show’s marketing. It’s a student-focused show, so the promotional materials should have been another opportunity for students to showcase their talents,” Hassi said.
Seiler explained the decision. She said that 2-Story was brought in to finalize the invitations based on timeliness and efficiency. Additionally, 2-Story provided economical, money-saving tips related to paper stock, sizing, folding and mailing costs based on their expertise and experience with promotional materials.
“The creation of the invites was a give-and-take process that required many trade-offs. Each department was used to doing things their way, so it required compromise,” Seiler said. She added that students were involved in the creation of the invitations. Students’ artwork is featured in the invitation and they received initial drafts and provided feedback.
Nancy Lohmiller, graphic design chairperson, added that graphic design students were very involved in the development of the invitations.
“Sometimes when you’re so close to something, you’re not objective. So I understand [the need to outsource], but the graphics department was very involved in the process. We did all of the concept work, form and format,” Lohmiller said.
Seiler said the conflicts and challenges faculty and staff faced throughout the development process can be best described as growing pains.
“The event is, in fact, growing. The planning required many long discussions, compromise and collaboration, but overall I’m really happy with the amount of cooperation and teamwork the departments put forward to create a great event. I’m really hoping we can walk away from the event with positive feelings,” Seiler said.
An evaluation meeting will occur after the event to discuss challenges, problems and suggestions for future improvements.