Madison Stoneman, a second-year graduate student in the School of Communication, along with 16 other students from universities across the country, had the opportunity to attend the famous invite-only New York Fashion Week (NYFW) earlier this February.

Stoneman is the graduate assistant for trademark licensing in University Marketing and Communications. She manages the licensing Instagram account (@ISURedbirdsShop) and works closely with Illinois State University licensees and local retailers to create social campaigns to promote Redbird-branded products and apparel. Additionally, this trip gave her the opportunity to meet with licensee Giii and get a behind-the-scenes look into their design process.

Illinois State’s licensing agency, Learfield IMG College, and IMG’s fashion events division collaborated to provide a one-of-a-kind educational experience for the students at NYFW. This unique academic enrichment program provided an in-depth look at the fashion industry, including entry into select runway shows, panel discussions, and networking opportunities with industry leaders, as well as on-the-job shadowing with retailers and collegiate licensees.

Stoneman attended four fashion shows, Chiara Boni, IISE, Lie and Amelia Wang. She was also treated to a backstage tour where she experienced the production and execution of a fashion show. Through a partnership with Bloomingdales and Giii, Stoneman gained insight into retail buying, merchandising, design, and production.

“Being able to meet leaders in the industry was one of the most beneficial parts of the trip. I was exposed to a variety of positions that I did not know existed beforehand and it allowed me to see potential career paths,” Stoneman said.

The students also sat in on a panel discussion, “Passion Meets Purpose,” which highlighted designer Carly Cushnie, stylist Meredith Koop, activist Paula Mendoza, and Constance C.R. White, editor and author of How to Slay.

“My trip to New York Fashion Week was a dream come true. Being able to represent Illinois State University at such a prestigious event was an honor. Branding has such an influential role in the fashion industry! To fully gain insight on the process and production of Illinois State University merchandise was extremely eye-opening. The knowledge that I gained from this experience has not only helped me in my current role as a graduate assistant in trademark licensing but will greatly help me in the future as I strive to work in the fashion industry one day,” Stoneman said.

Stoneman shared her experience on Instagram using the #UofNYFW hashtag. Be sure to check out @ISURedbirdsShop on Instagram to see more behind-the-scenes photos from Stoneman’s experience at NYFW and for all the latest Redbird gear.

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