Life After KCAI: Maegan Stracy (fiber ’12)

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Maegan Stracy is currently preparing for Kansas City Fashion Week, February 28-March 2. Maegan will launch her new line of unconventional clothes and accessories on February 28 at the 28 event space in the crossroads. Tickets are still available online. Although this is her first time at KCFW, this recent graduate of KCAI fiber’s program has plenty of experience getting ready for the runway.

18th Street Fashion Show

Maegan participated in the West 18th Street Fashion Show both her sophomore and junior year at KCAI. Before Maegan considered participating, she was an intern for designer, Peggy Noland. Maegan assisted Peggy with creating costumes for musicians such as Fisherspooner, Peaches and SSION, as well as help with maintaining Peggy’s 18th street retail store on First Fridays. Peggy’s highly encouraging words “you should just do it, it will be fun!” motivated Maegan to give it a go. Both events have an open call for designers.

Maegan says the fashion scene in Kansas City is not concerned with big brands or ready for retail garments like other Fashion Weeks. Kansas City fashionistas are more interested in a spectacle. Avant-guard entertainment is encouraged over commercial pursuits, perfect for a budding artist like Maegan to experiment.

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So what is Maegan’s advice for a KCAI student considering a career in fashion? 

PLAN!

Scheduling is key when assembling a fashion show. You have to coordinate with a lot of people: producers, stylists, make-up artists, hair stylists, models and photographers. You also have to account that the garments will fit the models and that everyone can be available on the big night.

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Is it more than just a line on your resume?

Maegan was offered an amazing opportunity from the Nelson Atkins Museum towards the end of her senior year. Fiber professor, Alison Heryer, suggested that Maegan would be the perfect fit for a commission to design new bags for the museum’s docents. She created sketches and samples, and was able to set her own hourly rate. Maegan suggests that students be clear about how long it will take to complete the project when they accept a commission. Not everyone outside of a four-year college program understands a student’s schedule or their academic commitments. Students should provide a timeline, and also consider if the commission is worth the time and stress. Students should ask themselves before saying yes, ‘will it be a good experience with contacts that could potentially lead to future opportunities after KCAI?’

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Maegan can’t stress networking enough to students.

Maegan participated in the collegiate Artist Inc. 12 following graduation. 12 KCAI and 12 UMKC conservatory students are recruited for a four-week professional development seminar run by several arts organizations in Kansas City. Maegan expressed that the fiber department’s Professional Practice curriculum gave her plenty of preparation, but she enjoyed the refresher, and connecting with the UMKC students and her group leader, Jose Faus.

Shortly after graduation, Maegan accepted a full-time position as technician for KCAI’s fiber department. She says it wasn’t difficult to snag this job opportunity. She had spent several years as the work-study student for the department, so, she already knew everyone and everyone knew her work ethic. Although she is juggling a full-time day job and full-time art life, Maegan is happy to still be around students and especially the facilities.

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Explore and connect with your community.

Maegan and fellow fiber alumna, Skye Livingston, are using the new fiber Warehouse studios to create dynamic programing for students. Maegan’s says that the mentality amongst students is that they need to be working in their studio all the time, but forget how important it is to see what is happening in the community. So, Skye and Maegan brought the work of several alumni into the Warehouse gallery with their first curation Line, Pattern, Repeat. They will also host interdepartmental critiques on Tuesday, March 12th and Tuesday, April 16th from 6-9 pm.  These will be held in the Warehouse studios, but is open to all students. This program was implemented to give students the opportunity to talk about their work and get feedback from students in other departments in a more relaxed critique environment without faculty involvement. Sign up is first come first served. Maegan will send out an email with all the information to students very soon.  To find out more about Maegan and her events, contact her at mstracy@kcai.edu or visit maeganstracy.com

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