Behind the Scenes Day (apparel, merchandising, and design)

Canceled: April 17, 2020

This visit day will be held on April 16, 2021.

Behind the Scenes Day is designed for both prospective students and their family members and high school fashion students and their teachers. During the day, students will participate in mini activities, hear from students about their college experiences, and interact with faculty. The day ends with a viewing of the final dress rehearsal of the Iowa State University Fashion Show and Design Competition.

Learn more about the Fashion Show.


Registration for Behind the Scenes opens mid-February. If you have questions, contact

Cost: There is a charge of $10.00 per attendee for Behind the Scenes Day, which must be paid at time of registration.

Parental permission and chaperones:   Youth program policies at Iowa State University require all students to submit a Parental Permission/Participation Agreement, which can be completed after you have successfully registered for the event. High school groups must have 1 chaperone per 8 student attendees; school groups are limited to 16 student attendees. 

Prospective students and families-Tentative schedule

8:30-9:00 a.m. Check-in (LeBaron Hall Lobby)

9:00-11:30 a.m. Welcome, program overview, and faculty conversations

11:30-12:45 p.m. Lunch (see registration form for available options)

12:45-1:00 p.m. Travel to 1:00pm session

1:00-3:30 p.m. Student panel and afternoon activity sessions

3:30-4:00 p.m. Snack and travel time to C.Y. Stephens Auditorium

4:00 p.m. ISU fashion show dress rehearsal at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium

High School groups-Tentative schedule

12:20 p.m. Check-in (Atrium of Kildee Hall)

1:00 -3:30 p.m. Student panel and afternoon activity sessions

3:30 - 4:00 p.m. Snack and travel time to C.Y. Stephens Auditorium

4:00 p.m. ISU fashion show dress rehearsal at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium


Where do your clothes come from? How do they start? How are they produced and marketed? How do clothes today compare with clothes of the 1960s? You will learn more about textile and apparel design, merchandising, production, and historic collections in these mini-presentations:

  • Computer Aided Design (CAD)
    Computers are the future for the fast and fantastic world of apparel design. Unleash your creativity with computers and explore CAD possibilities.
  • Fashion - Concept to Runway
    See the exciting evolution of creativity as seniors present portfolios and share inspiration.
  • The Wonders of Textiles
    Explore the exciting world of textiles. Investigate the ways textiles are made and why they appeal to consumers. Examine textiles at the microscopic level!
  • Clothing and Your Family Tree
    See what your parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents wore-- the "hot" fashions of the 20th century. From paper dresses to Olympic uniforms to high-buttoned shoes, the Costume and Textile Collection has it all!
  • Merchandise Planning - Stocking your Store
    Take part in a process of selecting styles that would be stocked in a store. Learn about basic concerns that need to be considered in the process.
  • Fashion Illustration
    Begin the design process as you pick up a pencil and practice sketching and illustration. Erasers will be furnished!
  • Patternmaking
    Learn the process of making a pattern using the draping and flat pattern methods.
  • Design Technologies
    Experience an introduction to digital printing, body scanning, embroidery and assorted other technologies for design and product development.
  • Creativity
    Interact with fellow students to solve a problem as you challenge the creative and critical thinking aspects of your brain.
  • Cultural Perspectives of Dress
    Draw inspiration from the colors, motifs, and techniques off clothing made and worn all over the world.
  • Visual Merchandising
    Work in teams to style a look ready for display in a boutique window.