Stars arise out of LCC fashion program
The LCC fashion program is an expanding program that works every day to bring student designs to life.
The program has partnered with the Knapp’s Centre, 300 S. Washington Square, to help students gain hands-on experience through internships and classes.
The Knapp’s Centre is home to one of Michigan’s premier fashion incubator and retail showrooms, The Runway, where everything from blouses to bathing suites dangle on hangers.
Quinn Stinchfield, manager of business incubation, said The Runway has two programs: the Designer and Residents Program, and the Associate Designer Program. Both give local designers a chance to get their brand out to the public eye.
“Having designs on display is a great way to test the market without doing a full-blown production,” Stinchfield told The Lookout this past summer. “If a designer wants to see how the public will respond to a piece they can put it in the showroom and receive feedback.”
Stinchfield said The Runway’s biggest goal is to tap into universities. LCC currently has interns who are involved with The Runway; students who help organize events and soon-to-be fashion classes at The Runway.
“Internships are a great way for students to test the waters and get a sense of The Runway,” Stinchfield said. “We are start-ups helping start-ups.”
LCC student and apparel merchandise major Paige Frantz has been interning at The Runway since September. Frantz attends three days a week and helps coordinate events.
“I tried nursing school before I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do every day,” Frantz said. “I always knew I was interested in clothing so I figured, ‘Why not go for something you love?’”
Frantz said she has enjoyed her time at The Runway.
“It has been really fun to learn what it is like to work in the industry,” Frantz said. “There are some things that are challenging but it’s what I love to do so I enjoy the challenge.”
Frantz said fashion is important to her because it is a way of expressing herself.
“There are always going to be things you don’t expect going into a job even if you go to school for it,” Frantz said. “I am trying to minimize some of those surprises by getting hands-on experience.”
Frantz is president of LCC’s Fashion, Arts and Design Association. She encouraged students to get involved with the program. Frantz said students can stop by association meetings every Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the fashion lab in LCC’s AOF Building.
The Runway is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is open to the public.