Austin Fashion Week serves as a helpful volunteer opportunity for Texas State fashion merchandising students.
While Austin may not be the typical fashion capital, the city holds a unique event each year in which designers showcase and present their collections to the public. For most people, attending these shows can be fun and entertaining, but for some Bobcats, Austin Fashion Week is a serious opportunity for gaining personal experience and networking.
Juanita Sifuentes, fashion merchandising senior, said volunteering during college was one of the most beneficial things she did to further her career in fashion.
“Being able to volunteer for different fashion shows and events helped me understand more about the industry,” she said. “It also gave me that chance to see if I was really interested in working in fashion.”
Sifuentes also said it was a great way to meet people in the industry and network.
“Volunteering has allowed me to meet so many other people with the same interests as me, and to me, making those connections is important,” she said.
Dr. Stefanie Ramirez, fashion merchandising assistant professor, said it is important for students to find opportunities for professional development before graduation, and volunteering is definitely one of them.
“Volunteering provides individuals with the opportunities to apply what they learn in the classroom as well as learn more about the industry,” she said. “It can offer students the chance to make networking and mentorship connections, increase their social and professional skills and provide opportunities to gain career and industry experience.”
Ramirez said volunteering is especially beneficial for students wanting to enter the fashion industry, as they learn through firsthand experience.
“It is important to gain as much knowledge and experience in order to be competitive in the job market,” she said.
This year Austin Fashion Week will run from April 15 until April 23. Information on volunteering can be found on the official AFW webpage at afw.fashionxaustin.com.