Students talked about the tight-knit community that was formed during their
time in the TAPP program.
Students talked about the tight-knit community that was formed during their time in the TAPP program.

TAPP’s final walk

Students bid farewell to the Textiles and Apparel Program’s Catwalk in its 32nd year


This was the word that eight of the nine Textiles and Apparel Program (TAPP) students participating in the final catwalk used to describe how they were feeling about the program ending this semester. A balance between grieving what they’ve built at UNI and celebrating all they’ve accomplished. From graduating seniors to sophomores who are wrapping up their final major courses, the current and predictably final TAPP cohort is a diverse group of students who have come together to strike a unique bond forged over their love for textiles and apparel. 

Earlier this academic year, UNI announced that they would not be accepting further students into the program, and have pushed the remaining students through their major coursework in an effort to close the program. 

The students’ work will be on display in Lang Hall Auditorium at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 20. It will be the 32nd and final catwalk show. (STEPH STARK)

But, for the remaining students, this program is more than an academic setting. Since the cohort of students is smaller, the group has become closely entwined. “It doesn’t really feel real yet,” said sophomore Lilly Munnik. Senior Jakob Watson echoed similar feelings, “When you’re spending so much time in the lab, you really get to know all of the people here. The community we have here is really special.”

While the university has not disclosed whether or not the program will officially shutter, the program will no longer accept students and the current students will finish their TAPP major courses by the end of this semester. 

Tucked away in a corner of Latham Hall lives the Sewing Lab, where the projects of the nine TAPP students participating in the Last Walk live. The lab is lined with sewing machines, tables for cutting fabric, and a machine used to print fabric. There are multiple sewing mannequins that students can use to help with measurements and dressings, and lockers for the students to store materials. 

For the TAPP students, the Sewing Lab is where they spend a majority of their time throughout the day. Senior and president of the TAPP Association, Ellie Steere, discussed the bond she has with her fellow students. “I feel like you really get to know each person. And I think it just makes it so special because you’re seeing these people every day. You’re explaining to them all ‘This is what I’m making now,’ or you just get to talk about your life when you’re in your three hour sewing lab.” Sophomore Payton Weidner echoed Steere’s perspective, “We’re very collaborative, very intertwined with each other and just it’s very nice, it’s nice to have the people who aren’t making it more stressful. Everyone’s always very uplifting. That’s just the environment.” 

“You spend a lot of time between these four walls,” laughed Weidner. 

Despite what some people may think, TAPP students don’t solely study fashion and styling. Their course catalog has offered a wide array of courses to ensure a diverse portfolio for students and prepare them for any field in the industry they may want to pursue. From merchandising, to purchasing, sustainability, textile sciences and sewing, the TAPP program has ensured that the remaining students enter the workforce with an array of knowledge. Sophomore Mia Balong believes that the program has changed to adapt to the ever-growing field that is fashion. “It started out as a home economics major, which I think is really cool, but then it morphed into Textiles and Apparel and captures everything in the fashion industry. To see it build and then just stop is really hard because it’s such a fun major, and it covers so many things.” 

I don’t know what other program on campus offer something just as hands-on as what TAPP has. This program has really been something special.”

— Lily Munnik, current TAPP major

But, for the sophomore students, some of these classes have felt a bit rushed. Sophomore Timothy Klinghammer discussed how moving through the program faster has affected him. “I’m sure there was more to the program that they didn’t take away. It’s definitely a little rushed, though. I don’t feel like we’re getting everything we should. Some of the classes are tied into two or more things so we aren’t dragging on, or we’ll get to do more hands-on stuff. So it’s difficult sometimes, but I mean, I enjoy it.” 

Munnik mirrored similar concerns to Klinghammer. “Since this is my first and only catwalk, I definitely won’t have as big of a portfolio as other students might have. I hope it won’t be a huge issue, but having less to present kind of hurts.” 

Junior Brady Thiesen worries about losing some of her progress within TAPP as she won’t be taking any other TAPP classes next year, along with the remainder of her cohort. “But I just feel like since I took so many classes my freshman year and sophomore year that then, I don’t know, I just feel like I start to forget everything. It would have been nice to have them spread out through all four years because even my friends were like, ‘what are you going to do?’”

In the light of tumultuous last semester for this cohort in TAPP, they’re dedicated to making the Last Walk one to remember. The annual event has taken place for 32 years, and has seen the work of hundreds of students gracing the stage of the Lang Hall Auditorium, and even a Zoom livestream one year. “Typically we have a theme and a set for the catwalk, but since it’s the last year we’re keeping it pretty simple so our designs can speak for themselves,” said Steere. “People are going all out. Most of the time designers will only show two or three designs. Most are doing four or five for the Last Walk, and I’m doing six pieces as a part of a bridal collection.”

The rest of the cohort agreed with Steere on the effort shown by their peers. Munnik discussed her pink jacket lined with feathers, and Weidner boasts about her two-piece denim set. “It’s about creating,” said Klinghammer. “Being able to create something from scratch … it’s really something great.” 

“I don’t know what other program on campus offer something just as hands-on as what TAPP has,” said Munnik. “This program has really been something special.”


The 32nd annual and final catwalk for TAPP will be hosted in the Lang Hall Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 20. The catwalk will feature a multitude of designs from the nine remaining students in TAPP. 

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