Texas Tech alumna and head football coach Joey McGuire’s daughter, Raegan, not only designed her wedding dress, but a dress worn by Taylor Swift on The Eras Tour.
Can I go where you go?
Can we always be this close, forever and ever?
And ah, take me out, and take me home.
This serenade is fitting for not one, but two special occasions that changed Raegan McGuire's life this year.
The most important event was last Saturday, when she walked down the aisle in a wedding gown she designed (alongside bridesmaids who also modeled her designs) and married her best friend.
“My husband and I were engaged for more than a year and a half, and I worked on the dress for that long along with a fantastic seamstress pattern maker,” said McGuire, a senior designer at clothing label AMUR and an Apparel Design and Manufacturing (ADM) graduate from Texas Tech University's Department of Design.
The second moment also involved a dress McGuire designed, but not for herself.
It happened last month in Arlington, Texas, when she heard that specific song, “Lover,” played live by artist Taylor Swift.
“We were all like shaking and screaming,” McGuire recalled. “I'm pretty sure I cried because I was so excited.”
These reactions were not just because McGuire and her friends are “Swifties”: the trademarked name of Taylor Swift's fans.
The happy tears were caused by what was onscreen behind Swift as she performed: a virtual Swift who twirled in unison with the music in a vibrant yellow dress McGuire designed.
“It felt really amazing that the dress I designed was important enough for her to wear on her biggest tour to date,” McGuire said. “I'm still blown away.”
A Swift Opportunity
McGuire's ecstatic response was combined with the element of surprise, but not entirely. She had hopeful suspicions Swift may use her dress after a request AMUR received several months ago from Swift's team.
They enclosed a picture of a previous dress worn by Swift and asked for a similar style.
“Of course, we made a bunch of assumptions,” McGuire said. “They didn't tell us what it was for or anything, but the Swiftie I am, I knew what it was for.”
She recognized the yellow dress in the picture as the same one Swift wore in her “Lover” music video, which released three years ago. Swift's team needed a reimagined version of the dress ASAP, but that was not a problem for McGuire.
The dress that came to mind was one she had just designed for AMUR's spring market that was already being produced for release in April. Called the Viv Mitered Pleating Dress in Yellow Tang, it is described as a solid pleated charmeuse midi dress with mitered pleats on the bodice. The material is 100% recycled polyester, which McGuire said is produced from recycled water bottles – part of AMUR's commitment to using sustainable products.
“It's this gorgeous, really bright canary-yellow dress,” McGuire said. “It's pleated, it hits around your ankles and then the bodice of it is a V-neck low back, but it has this mitered pleating that makes this interesting chevron effect.”
McGuire never questioned if the dress would be a good fit for Swift because of its whimsical aesthetic.
“I was like, ‘This is even better than the first. This is going to be amazing for her,'” McGuire remembered thinking.
AMUR heard back from Swift's team the same day McGuire's dress was shipped. The email informed AMUR that they produced content with Swift wearing the dress, but McGuire knew it would be a while before she saw it.
“Taylor Swift is a very confidential person and we really wanted to respect her privacy,” McGuire said. “We never really talked about it. We just were sitting there, anticipating.”
McGuire knew that long wait could be over when she heard the beginning notes of “Lover” during The Eras Tour.
“I turned to my best friend and was like, ‘This is what she borrowed the dress for,'” McGuire recalled. “I said, ‘Wouldn't that be so cool if right now in person, I got to see it?'”
Sure enough, as Swift performed “Lover,” she stood in front of a virtual dollhouse set that featured Swift in a pink room, dancing in McGuire's dress in front of a full-length mirror.
“One of my friends knew which dress it was and pointed it out,” McGuire said. “We couldn't believe it. My aunt and my sweet little cousin were next to me and they were taking videos and texting my parents.”
The dress made a perfect addition to the magical ambiance and left McGuire breathless.
“It blew me away seeing it on the screen,” McGuire said. “I obviously have always loved the dress but seeing it on her and the way she moves so theatrically, it really made the dress come to life on a whole other level.”
McGuire shared her reaction to the dress in a TikTok video with the caption “POV: you designed the yellow dress in Lover.” It has received more than 931,000 views.
“It happened in the best way I could have imagined,” McGuire said. “It was amazing.”
High-profile individuals have worn McGuire's designs before, such as President Joe Biden's granddaughter while on the Today Show in 2021. But to McGuire, Swift modeling her yellow dress stands out as her proudest accomplishment to date.
“I am just really fortunate she picked it,” McGuire said. “Taylor Swift is one of the most important persons to me not because of how popular and famous she is, but purely because how thoughtful and meaningful she is with every single thing she does and puts out into the world.”
Chasing her Wildest Dreams
In the height of this surreal moment, McGuire could not help but think of her own Eras.
She has come a long way since her time on the Texas Tech campus from 2014 to 2018, but she still appreciates the knowledge she gained there.
“There's really something special and unique with the Texas Tech program that puts it above all others,” McGuire said. “I feel very fortunate to have been able to go to Texas Tech after meeting so many different interns and coworkers that have been to many different schools because it seems like I had a far better experience when it came to school.
“I never had a class that was boring, where I didn't have anything to do. They were always making sure that when you were in class, they were going to take up all your time. They were going to make sure you were learning as much as you could.”
One of McGuire's favorite experiences was the annual TechStyle Fashion Show, which is why she serves on the advisory board for the program.
The TechStyle Fashion Show is a unique opportunity for senior ADM majors to showcase a collection of their original pieces. The show also features pieces created by ADM students that were selected by a panel of judges.
Unfortunately, this year's show was on the same day as her wedding.
“I love it because it's such a great experience for students to create something and carry it out through the entire process,” McGuire said. “When I was in school, we created an entire collection and a huge part of my job today is creating a cohesive collection that merchandises together.
“It also was such a milestone in my career as a fashion designer. I am still very proud of that moment, with my friends and family seeing my collection. I think it's the perfect way to end your degree and start your career.”
McGuire's appreciation for her alma mater only grew stronger when her father, Joey McGuire, was hired as the Red Raider head football coach in 2021.
“I went to almost every game last year and I might not be as fortunate to get as many days off this year because of my wedding, but I will try to make as many games as I can,” she said.
McGuire's consistent support and success since her graduation is applauded by Ashley Rougeaux-Burnes, the ADM program director and assistant professor.
“We know Raegan as an exceedingly talented and hard-working person,” Rougeaux-Burnes said. “The recognition she has recently received shines light on her extensive body of work and highlights her amazing contributions to the industry. We would like to say congratulations to Raegan. The Apparel Design and Manufacturing program is so proud of your accomplishments, and we look forward to witnessing your continued success."
McGuire is living the ambitions she once had as she works in her office cubicle in New York City. But she did not get there overnight.
She encourages students to get “scrappy jobs,” wear multiple hats in lower-level positions and put in the work to go above and beyond. That was her approach, and she said that commitment has her years ahead in her profession.
“In these younger years, try your best to grind it out,” she said. “I know it's hard, and you want to do all the fun things. But it's these years, from being a first-year college student to five years out of college, that you really need to put your head down and get after it. I promise it'll pay off and open so many doors for you.”
What is behind the next door for McGuire? A honeymoon, for starters.
As for herself, she will continue to be a creative designer, a Lover, and a Swiftie.
“Having Taylor Swift kickstart our spring season really helps us push for that next big move,” McGuire said. “I just want to keep looking for opportunities like this and other ways to grow more and more.
“I've always been a bit of a dreamer.”