Stephens has many challenging and time-consuming majors and fashion design and product development is no different. With limited equipment and tight deadlines, students spend many nights working in the sewing labs, divided by class, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning.
For junior fashion design major Melinda Thiedig, late nights are no stranger. In fact, Thiedig says that as she has gotten deeper into the program, she has gotten more productive in the late hours.
“I’m not limited to my class time and work as late as I want. I would say I’m in the fashion sewing labs at least two nights a week if not three or four. Usually I’ll stay until 12 or 12:30 a.m., but sometimes it’s later,” Thiedig said.
Another junior fashion design major Jessica Yuhouse says that there’s a sense of camaraderie among designers.
“We all get along and joke but most of the time we have our headphones in and get to work. The only tense time is the few nights before our garments are due, and we have to use the same machine.”
Lights are on in each of the design labs any night of the week-usually throughout the night. Senior fashion design major Esli Navarro remembers nights she and her fellow designers made fort like structures under the lab tables before their designs went before the jury to determine what gets in the fashion show.
These late nights are not exclusive to upperclass majors. Sophomore Jada West has experiences in the labs similar to those of the juniors and seniors.
“We spend 10 or more hours a week outside of class working on projects,” West said.
West explained that she will be up until 4 or 5 a.m. Others nights, she just does not sleep.
And she does acknowledge good that comes out of working in the space.
“The best part of being in the labs is that everything is close—materials, sewing machines especially,” she said.
“There are people there to help on Thursdays and Sundays. Most people concentrate better in the labs because it forces you to work and be away from your room,” West said.
Whether failing alone in dorm rooms or together in the lab, fashion design students feel the long nights are definitely worthwhile, giving them a taste of what life after college may look like.