Lecture Room was abuzz with chatter on Monday, April 10, as students and
faculty awaited Dallas Shaw — notable fashion illustrator and visual
consultant — to present, answer questions and sign copies of her book, The Way She Wears It.
The University of Delaware’s Fashion Merchandising Club sponsored the
event that brought Shaw, who has worked with big-name clients such as
Oscar de la Renta, Chanel and Ralph Lauren, to campus.
“I think that this was really fun because usually fashion
merchandising majors just think that they’re going to be a buyer or a
merchandiser,” Hannah Wilson, the club’s co-president, said, adding that
most events for students focus on those types of careers.
“But this is different because it’s about social media, it’s about
illustration, it’s about marketing, and we haven’t really had a speaker
like that,” she said.
Shaw spoke briefly about her decision to switch careers from
illustrating for Disney, her lifelong goal and a job she held for a year
and a half, to working as a fashion illustrator. She began her own
business in Orlando, Florida, eventually moving to Delaware and settling
in Wilmington, which serves as the base for both her home and
When starting her business, Shaw said, she cold-called big labels.
“A million people hung up on me, but DKNY didn’t,” she said. Although
overqualified, Shaw said, she spent a year working for free.
“By the end of the year, I had my foot in the door with everyone,
which was very, very quick and fast, but it was all because I was
willing to prove myself,” she said. “And that’s probably the most
important thing anyone can tell you.”
Being a hard worker— she called her own work ethic “out of control”—
is vital, she said, “but you have to be willing to prove it anywhere in
the creative and lifestyle industry.”
Shaw told the UD students that she hopes the book’s biggest takeaway is for readers to be confident and to be themselves.
Sophomore Megan Head, majoring in fashion merchandising, said she appreciated the book’s emphasis on having a personal style.
“Like she [Shaw] said, there’s a lot of pressure from magazines to
fit into one category — preppy, classic, boho, edgy, trendy, something
like that,” Head said.
Shaw cited one story from the book about a stylist who, while
dressing her for a big interview in New York, told her that she wouldn’t
get the job if she didn’t wear a certain outfit. Shaw was angry, she
said, and couldn’t believe that would determine whether she got the job.
Instead, she said, “I wore some colors and was me, and that made me
more confident. And that’s why I think I was able to get the job — just
from being myself, no matter what the style is.”
Article by Hadleigh Kindberg
April 14, 2017