Faculty Member Calls the Shots at Spring Fashion Show

At next week’s Spring Fashion Show, Sharon Phillips Waxman will be at the back of the tent, headset on, calling the shots.

Waxman is owner/president of SPW Productions LLC, the company that produces the fashion show. She is also an adjunct professor at Moore. She has taught the Fashion Show Production class each spring for more than ten years.

Under Waxman’s guidance, seniors are involved in every aspect of the fashion show, serving on various committees, from music to models, hair and makeup to backstage and lighting. One person from each committee reports on their progress each week.

“I taught modeling and self-development for many years so I love being a mentor,” she said. “It’s great for me to have young, fresh eyes on everything. Often times, the students are really enthusiastic about rolling up their sleeves. They are having real life business experience dealing with my suppliers directly. They are literally producing the fashion show with me.”

Waxman’s professional experience in the fashion industry spans four decades. She started in the industry at age 13 as a model. She worked as a fashion model, as well as a modeling instructor, throughout high school and college for clients like Gimbels and Bonwit Teller. During this time, Waxman also began choreographing fashion shows.

She graduated from Glassboro State College with a B.A. in Communications. Immediately following graduation, Waxman worked for Glamour Magazine as a freelance retail editor before being hired as the fashion coordinator for Gimbels Philadelphia. Her entrepreneurial ambitions were realized as owner/director of Phillips Models, a full-service modeling agency in Philadelphia. 

With the creation of Phashion Phest in 1993, the Delaware Valley’s premier fashion and beauty event, Waxman opened SPW Productions, with Phashion Phest as the company’s signature event. Today, her company produces festivals, parades, galas and more.

“On a day to day basis I get to work with different people doing different things,” she said. “One day it’s a gala, the next day it’s a fashion show. Every day is different. That’s what keeps it fresh and exciting for me.”

Moore’s Fashion Show, Blasting Off, will be held on Saturday, May 18 at 8 pm in a large tent in Aviator Park. The show will feature innovative collections and designs by senior, junior and sophomore students of the College’s acclaimed fashion design department. The theme for the senior eveningwear collection, Blasting Off, is inspired by “The Space Age” metallic feel of the 1960s.

Waxman typically visits Aviator Park the Friday before the show to oversee the set up, from the tent to the staging, from the runway to flooring. The night of the show, her team of five people manage the whole operation of the show. Waxman communicates through headset with her staff backstage, and is in charge of cueing the DJ, video and lighting persons.

There have been occasional glitches in the show over the years, but nothing the audience would ever be aware of. At this point in the game, for Waxman, it’s a pretty seamless operation.

“We’ve sent male models down the runway with no shoes before,” she said. “It’s better for them to go out with no shoes than have no model on the runway and dead silence.”

Published on May 10th, 2013