Lee Raver, a fourth-year poses for a modeling shoot, this is his first year modeling. Credit: Courtesy of Lee Raver

Fashion Week Columbus is just around the corner, and among the local models and designers participating are some of Ohio State’s very own.

The annual fashion expo is celebrating its 10th year as a hallmark of the local fashion industry with events every day next week. Ohio State students Maren Primm and Lee Raver will both model in events throughout the week.

Primm, a second-year in music education, will hit the runway twice during the fashion festivities. As a Hilliard, Ohio, native, Primm is no stranger to the Columbus fashion industry. She said she began modeling when she was 15 years old. However, Primm said she considers modeling to be more of a hobby than an actual job. Her first priority is completing her education.

Maren Primm, second-year at Ohio State, walks down the runway during Fashion Week Columbus for headlining designer Laurel DeWitt in Fall 2018. Credit: Courtesy of Maren Primm

“Modeling is unfortunately put on the back burner during the school year, so I can rightfully focus on my education,” Primm said. “I am fortunate to be able to do some events and shoots throughout the school year, but they usually mean me missing some study time, and in some cases, school events.”

Although Primm said she hopes to continue modeling on the side, she plans to move to New York to pursue her passion for teaching music.

“My life goal is to be a high school teacher and then eventually get my doctorate in conducting to be a collegiate-level conductor for band,” Primm said.

Primm said she has been busy this fall after participating in the Easton Fashion Show and will be in two events during Fashion Week Columbus, including the opening runway show Sunday and the finale Oct. 19.

Raver, a fourth-year in psychology and German and a newcomer to the modeling industry, said he began his modeling career earlier this year for an Ohio Union Activities Board fashion show with New York-based designer Laurel DeWitt.

Through his initial experience with DeWitt, Raver said he was able to contact the leadership of Fashion Week Columbus, providing him with crucial access to the industry. He also walked the runway at Easton Fashion Night and will be modeling for the fashion week finale.

Raver said he’s set his aspirations high for his future and hopes to turn modeling into a career after graduation. He said he hopes the experience is evident in his portfolio after fashion week ends.

“Short-term, I would be staying in Columbus, probably. I want to finish my degree because if modeling doesn’t go well I need to have a bachelor’s degree to fall back on, you know?” Raver said. “But the goal would be to get signed in New York and then go to New York because that’s the fashion capital.”

While it may seem like student models such as Raver and Primm have ample opportunities in the industry, Raver said getting into modeling is not an easy feat. Similar to other careers, networking with people in the field is the first step toward making it, he said.

“Getting into it is the most important thing, and then once you’re in it, you are going to meet people who have been in it for a while, and they know what they are doing, and you’ll learn a lot from those people,” Raver said. “That’s actually what I would say is the most important thing for learning how to get into the industry is just knowing someone who is already in it.”

For students interested in modeling, Primm said being open to smaller gigs is an important part of paving your way into the industry. She said Columbus has a lot to offer upcoming models, but she hasn’t let that get in the way of her academics, advising others to manage their priorities as well.

“Definitely start small. Start in Columbus. It’s a great place. We are not as big as New York but it’s a really good hub for fashion and the arts and everything,” Primm said. “It’s a great place to be, but definitely put school first. Get all that out of the way, and then kind of roll with it.”

Fashion Week Columbus starts Sunday with its 10th annual High Fashion Tea runway show. There will be an event every day, culminating in the final show Oct. 19. Visit www.fashionweekcolumbus.org for more information about ticket prices and proper attire for attendance.