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Case Study: A Creative Solution To Showcase DAAP Student Work


A case study in how detailed project management helped us create a dope fashion book for UC’s fashion design program.

Services: Design, Photography, Production, Project Management


The University of Cincinnati’s School of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning, also known as DAAP, is home to a variety of design majors including architecture, communications, fashion, and industrial design.

For their capstone, students go through the entire process of designing and creating a fashion collection, and each student’s collection is featured in a professional runway show that also happens to be one of the city’s largest fashion events. This year, they also wanted to create a print book to distribute to VIP fashion show guests—one that could also be used to showcase the student’s work and promote UC’s fashion program to employers, students, and industry professionals.

As the mastermind behind the Tether Sourcebook, a printed directory and portfolio for local image-makers, Tether has experience creating print pieces that showcase visual projects in a beautifully designed magazine format. We took on managing the process of bringing UC’s book from concept to creation.



Photographing the DAAP muslin critique


The Challenge

The UC DAAP program needed a creative solution to showcase the work of their graduating seniors in a professional yet fashionable manner, and in a way that could be utilized in multiple ways. The students and directors envisioned a printed book that mimicked the look of a beautifully designed magazine with bold images and creative design.

Additionally, the program needed a comprehensive plan to manage this book project including all planning, logistics, and communications to help keep the whole team on track.

The Solution

Tether spearheaded the book project by creating a project timeline to ensure delivery in time for the fashion show. This timeline incorporated design, photography, and production, as well as relevant elements of the student’s work. We took care of:

  • Talent sourcing and management

  • Creative Direction

  • Photo shoot production

  • Print design and production



Design, but make it FASHION

In order to have a beautifully designed book you need an excellent graphic design team, so Tether reached out to Tether Sourcebook designer Hannah Williams. DAAP had given Tether complete creative control with the book design project so Hannah brought on BLDG, who offered to donate hours on the project in order to meet our tight deadline.

We looped the students into the project by asking for their design input and having them create mood boards on Pinterest to show the style and mood they were envisioning for their collections. From these boards, we developed creative direction for hair and makeup based on the common themes in their inspiration.


Finding the right talent

Using the Tether Directory to find local talent, we presented the client with options for photographers and models, and worked with a producer to begin booking hair and makeup professionals to be a part of the photo shoot that would create the images for the book. The crew was locally based, and we managed a mix of models from Heyman Talent, Instagram, friends of designers, and even the designers themselves.

We commissioned photographer Amy Elisabeth Spasoff to capture what happens behind-the-scenes when students are creating their collections. The first shoot took place at UC during a critique, where students presented their initial designs to a panel of judges for feedback and suggestions. The second shoot took place in the studio, where students were in the process of sewing their final collections.

Amy Elisabeth Spasoff photographing the design process

Amy Elisabeth Spasoff photographing the design process


52 looks in one day? Yes, we can!

When photo shoot day arrived, lots of planning and extreme organization helped get all the looks shot in a 10-hour time frame. Tether created a schedule for models, designers, photographers Claudia Hershner and Michael Matzko, hair stylists Jessica Gordon and , and makeup artists Courtney Maier and Kristyn Kirby from Stefani Carol Makeup Academy to follow during the day to keep the photo shoot on track. Following a walk-through at Studio821, we dove into the complex shoot with 52 looks, seven models, and the two photographers shooting simultaneously throughout the day.

Quick note: the fashion photo shoot had to take place relatively late in the production timeline since the students were still making the clothes. The time we had between the shoot and sending files to the printer was extremely tight in order to make the deadline. It took immense organization and attention to detail to get the book project to the finish line on time.

This was the most organized agency we’ve ever had in here.
— Ron Pies, Studio821
Photographer Michael Matzko reviews options with the model and designer

Photographer Michael Matzko reviews options with the model and designer

Photographer Claudia Hershner captures what will become the cover image

Photographer Claudia Hershner captures what will become the cover image


Communication is a major key

No project is without it’s hiccups! When working with multiple design experts, there are always differing opinions on how the design should come together. By actively finding reasonable compromises, we were able to satisfy both parties by using one design for the cover, and the other design for the internal pages—all while maintaining a cohesive theme. Tether was able to help foster communication between all parties involved, which meant the project could continue on schedule.

Another challenge the project faced was a change to the fashion show venue. When you’re working with print deadlines, a change like this could cause a significant delay if the team is unprepared. The venue change resulted in original production deadlines being pushed back, but Tamia personally visited the printer for a press check and to ensure books were delivered directly to the venue in time for the fashion show.

Fashion show VIP attendees pored over the book. It was a big hit!

Fashion show VIP attendees pored over the book. It was a big hit!

The final word

It’s very fulfilling to see a creative project come together so beautifully, and it’s important to make note of the process it took to get there. Trying to manage the photo shoots and the production of a printed book would have been overwhelming for the DAAP fashion design program without the help of an experienced third party. Tether played a critical role in not only organizing the book project itself, but in connecting and advising the right people in the right tasks.

Work with us!

We work hard to connect incredible local talent to fun opportunities and help our clients navigate detailed project management and complex production. If you’re a talented creative industry professional, join our family of local creatives in the Tether Directory. If you’re part of an organization with a big creative project and limited time or people to coordinate all the moving parts, don’t go it alone. Tether can jump in and take over the production process so you can focus back on what you do best. Get in touch at any time by emailing Tamia at hello@tethercincinnati.com—we’d love to work with you.