Pins and Needles 2018

Dwight Carter

St. Louis design competition Pins and Needles closed out its 10th and final year with panache – thanks in part to the hard work of Siba student and alumni volunteers. The annual runway show showcased the work of scores of emerging fashion designers while providing them with media exposure and awarding cash prizes to the winners.

Dwight Carter, one of Siba’s talented adjunct instructors, is the CEO of Brainchild Events, the company that has produced the show from its inception in 2008. Along the way, Retail Management/Fashion Merchandising students and grads have had the invaluable experience of helping Carter execute his vision for the annual show. Their roles have included planning and implementing marketing strategies well before the event, as well as participating in day-of activities such as setting up the venue, dressing and directing the models, working on choreography and timing of the show, and guest and VIP relations.

This year, Danielle Calcara was among the volunteers who, along with her classmates in Siba’s Fashion Promotion class, also helped organize and host the “Designer Meet and Greet” event the day before the runway show. Rather than working on a fictitious project made up by an instructor to present in a classroom, this particular Fashion Promotion class had the opportunity to work together to coordinate vendors, designers, and models; identify, procure and prepare the event space; market and promote the event; and work at the event itself. Not only was it a fantastic resume-building and networking opportunity, but it was also clearly a meaningful learning experience for the class. As Calcara reflected, “I’ve learned that planning a large event takes months of advanced planning and diligence to stay on task and make sure everything comes together.”

The students’ work wasn’t done after the meet and greet, though—the runway competition was still to come the following night! Students and alumni worked both backstage with the models and designers and front-of-the-house coordinating guests and event sponsors. Calcara was working front-of-the house, “For the runway show I welcomed and checked in all guests at the door including ticket purchases and VIP guests, handling check-in through Eventbrite and using square for credit card payments. [It was] exciting, hectic and so much fun to be a part of!”

It was a memorable way to close out ten years of “Pins and Needles.” We’re so thankful for the opportunities the competition and Dwight Carter at Brainchild Events have offered to Siba students and alumni, and can’t wait to see what Carter’s next big fashion project will be. Whatever it is, we are confident that Siba Retail Management/Fashion Merchandising students and alumni will be jumping at the chance to participate!