It is spring semester, or if you are a graduating senior, the final semester of your undergraduate education. While finishing classes and graduation are forefront in our seniors’ minds, so are prepping portfolios for interviews and finding post-graduate employment. In the Fashion Design Department at Thomas Jefferson University, faculty and staff want to provide graduating senior students with some tools to help elevate their portfolio presentations. One way they do this is organizing a professional photoshoot of each senior’s collection. Looks from each graduating senior’s collection, developed during the fall semester, are photographed by a team of professionals for students to use for their professional advancement. The Fashion Design faculty also play a massive role in the production of this shoot, facilitating behind-the-scenes preparations and modeling direction to ensure the student garments look their best.
On the day of the photoshoot, fashion design faculty arrive early to steam and prep garments. At the same time, professional models hired from local agencies also arrive early for hair and makeup by a professional make-up artist on site. Fashion Design faculty facilitate the dressing of each model, trying to ensure the best fit where possible and keeping with the authenticity of the designer’s intended styling. As the models and faculty prep in the dressing room area, next door, professional photographer Gary Schempp and his assistant finalize their photo studio set-up. Lights are adjusted, live monitors for photo viewing are set-up, and last minute backdrop adjustments are made. Once the first models and photographer are ready, the real reason for the day begins.
Backstage, fashion design faculty orchestrate quick outfit and styling changes, picking out shoes and directing make-up changes as needed. A number of last minute adjustments ensure each look is showcased in the best light. By the afternoon, it is time for male models to arrive. Senior fashion design students that include menswear looks in their collection provide their own male models for the photo-shoot and fashion show. Usually, these are friends or classmates of the designer, and with a little direction from the photographer and faculty, some of these participants may even discover a hidden modeling talent.
After usually at least an 8 hour day, the photo-shoot wraps to a close. These days can be long and stressful days for our fashion design faculty to produce professional, portfolio quality images. In the end seeing the excitement on students’ faces when they first see the photographs makes the whole process worthwhile. These photos are given to our students to use freely for portfolios, websites, and interviews. Below is a gallery of only some of the amazing work from the graduating class of 2020.