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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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Fashion Week Alabama showcases student’s designs

Lilly Clark

Jesselin Unger, a University of North Alabama Fashion Merchandising and Design student, was selected to showcase her apparel designs during the Fashion Week Alabama fashion show on March 1 in Huntsville. 

Unger became interested in fashion and design at an early age, and this passion came with her into her time at UNA. 

“I’ve always sewn and done things related to fashion,” said Unger. “I would take my dolls, and I would get my tee shirts and cut them up to make clothes for the dolls, so much that I didn’t have any tee shirts to wear anymore! I would always dress myself up as well. I started with hand-sewing on the dolls, but as I got older, my mom realized I could actually go into a career with fashion, so she got me a sewing machine when I was around 16.”

Looking to get more experience with fashion and design, Unger joined a theater program, where she was a costume designer and sewed most of the costumes. This role helped her to get real-life experience in the field and to confirm her love of sewing. 

Unger had many projects throughout her childhood and teenage years, including creating her own prom dress and pageant dresses for younger children. 

When looking at colleges, Unger thought about going into theatre costuming because of the lack of programs for designing at many smaller schools. However, when looking into UNA, Unger learned not only of the possibility of earning a degree in fashion, but also that they were opening up a program specific to design, which excited her. 

Unger loves getting involved in different university organizations. She is the vice president of the Fashion Association and a College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering Ambassador.

After graduating, Unger hopes to work for a corporation or small business to learn more about the business side of fashion. She then hopes to get her masters degree and open her own business, where she will focus on the use of sustainable textiles, such as hemp. 

Produced by the Alabama Fashion Alliance, Fashion Week Alabama is a yearly event that serves as a marketing platform for the fashion and beauty industry. Unger heard about the AFA through her professor, and she decided to do a showcase with the organization. 

“I think that’s what helped me get my name out,” Unger said. “I’ve realized that, in the industry, you have to get your name out. It’s very competitive. As many fashion shows as you can do, whether it’s two people, or twenty people, or two hundred people, you’ve got to get your name out.”

While she was doing the fashion show, there were complications, which meant that Unger had to take on a bigger leadership role than she originally expected. She even had to model one of her own designs, which made her stand out to organizers of AFA.

Unger then got a call over the summer of 2023 asking if she would like to showcase her fall line, to which she agreed. She showcased her designs in September. 

Unger then participated in a Style Tank competition, of which she was an Emerging Designer Finalist. From this competition, she was selected to showcase her designs at Fashion Week Alabama. This time, she was able to fulfill a more managerial role as the designer, not as a model. She showcased seven of her outfit designs. 

“It was absolutely amazing,” Unger said. “The models were so sweet. I love them. They were the sweetest people, and they helped me out when I needed it. The thing about fashion shows is that they are so unpredictable. You think everything is fine, but I had to sew a dress on a girl. We put the dress on her, and it fit, but the zipper kind of got stuck, so we couldn’t unzip it. We had to cut the zipper off, and I sewed it on her. After she modeled it, I grabbed it and ripped it, so that dress is broken. She was so sweet, and my assistant was absolutely amazing. My professor actually showed up to support me, along with some students from UNA. It just shows how amazing the UNA community is.”

Unger greatly enjoyed the amount of diversity within the event. The organizers created segments to showcase different cultures from around the world. Unger’s favorite part of participating, however, was getting to showcase her designs to others. 

“What I enjoyed the most was seeing my designs captured, and being able to show people who I am, with all the thrills and the frills,” Unger said. 

Unger will participate in the UNA Designers Showcase to showcase her senior collection, along with five other fashion students, on April 19. She has been working on her collection for nine months. She encourages anyone who is interested to attend and see the amazing pieces that the students within the department have been creating.

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About the Contributors
Kelley Peters, Managing Editor
Kelley is a junior from Tupelo, Miss. who is majoring in English literature with a minor in applied linguistics. She is currently Managing Editor for The Flor-Ala. She has loved reading for as long as she can remember, which developed her love of storytelling and the English language. Her career goal is to become an English professor at a university. She was previously a volunteer writer in the Fall of 2021, became a Staff Writer in January of 2022 and moved to being News Editor in January of 2023.
Lilly Clark, Staff Photographer
Lilly Clark is a freshman from the town of Killen, Ala. She is majoring in interdisciplinary studies and hopes to pursue her dream job of video editing. She is a staff photographer.

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