Following is a recap of the highlights and achievements from the Fashion School’s 2013/14 Academic Year:
For the Fashion School, the 2013/14 academic year shaped up to be a keystone year in many ways -
• We are on the horizon of our new Master of Fashion Program with new graduate students starting in the program in Fall.
• AY 2013/14 was the last year in which ALL fashion design majors engaged in the full collection development process and graduated with the Bachelor of Arts (BA). Beginning with 2014/15’s students, some will be focusing on the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) curriculum with expanded focus on the thesis collection development, and others will be continuing with the modified opportunities in the BA program to delve into further coursework to support their areas of interest, such as knitwear design, illustration, technical design and technology.
• Fashion Merchandising students in the Bachelor of Science (BS) program will all be selecting a minor degree program to accompany their major as part of the revised requirements for the fashion merchandising degree.
• We have completed one full academic year in which both our New York City AND Florence programs have been offered during each academic term (resulting in over 200 students participating in our range of study-away programs last year!)
• The renovation of the TechStyleLAB and the third floor of Rockwell Hall has led to a much broader engagement of students across the university as we explore how fashion and technology connect to a range of other disciplines. Two great examples of this trend were represented in the first Fashion Hackathon, co-sponsored by the TechStyleLAB and the Blackstone LaunchPad at KSU (in which a KSU Physics major took away the first prize for the event); and the fantastic workshop hosted by “Body Architect” Lucy McRae that hosted both fashion, theater/dance and art students to visualize future product concepts for the year 2025.
• The Fashion Media Minor, shared with the College of Communication and Information, now has multiple students registered for the degree program and our first set of fashion media minor students have started participating in the New York Studio Program this year to support their coursework for the minor.
It is The Fashion School’s vision “to inspire students to become creative and resourceful fashion leaders.” In the fall of 2011, Chancellor Petro and the Ohio Board of Regents officially endorsed The Fashion School as an “Ohio Center of Excellence” at Kent State University. As a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), we are also recognized as one of the top fashion schools in the United States. We aspire to be the best American fashion school, by providing a comprehensive American-university experience, a forward looking and rigorous curriculum in fashion, an aggressive approach to the use of digital technologies, and access to a broad range of international and study away experiences. We seek to serve a broad range of stakeholders including our students, advisory board, the State of Ohio tax-payers, and the textile and apparel industry by providing a recognized center for research and advancement within our field. The Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and is now in its thirty-first year!
Faculty members Catherine Leslie, Jihyun Kim, Vince Quevedo, Margarita Benitez and Harriet McLeod at the FS2 – Fashion Show events.
Faculty The Fashion School now has forty (20 full-time and 20 part-time) active faculty/researchers across our three program locations (Kent, NYC and Florence), who are each known for achievements in their field. We will be searching for two new tenure-track design faculty starting Fall 2014 semester. Fashion School faculty have garnered a number of national and international awards for their work, are actively publishing in multiple academic and public venues and are incredibly dedicated to supporting our student learning. They truly are the key to “inspiring students to become creative and resourceful fashion leaders.” You can learn more about each of our faculty members on the ‘profiles’ page of our Fashion School website. Students
As of the fall 2013 semester, The Fashion School officially broke the barrier of 1500 (actually 1510) undergraduate majors! This is an increase of 349 students since 2009, and includes 346 African American, Latino American & Native American (AALANA) students (22% of our FDM population) as well as 58 international students from sixteen countries! We are proud of our current diversity in the school and have continued to take active steps to continue to support/increase diversity in the future.
CURRENT UPDATE – We now have 1660 students in the Fashion School in Fall 2014, with our largest freshman/new student group ever – we had nearly 500 new students this fall!! 944 are Fashion Merchandising majors, 480 are Fashion Design, 16 Master of Fashion and 220 are in our Pre-Fashion program. That makes us the second largest school also with the second largest degree program at Kent State (Nursing is the largest, and they are their own college)!
Our students are totally engaged in their learning. Over 65% of our current students participate in one of our study away experiences; nearly 50% in our NYC program alone! Junior-year internships are required in the curriculum, and they are happening in locations across the globe, including Amsterdam, Paris, London and Florence. Fashion School students currently have organized and support two student organizations, the Fashion Student Organization and Modista, who boast over 300 and 100 active members respectively.
Elizabeth Heibertshausen receiving award from Mindy Grossman, CEO of the Home Shopping Network
Either way, all of our students are fantastic. For instance, this year, Elizabeth Heibertshausen, one of our very-own FS2 student managers, (pictured above) competed in the National Retail Federation Next Generation competition and came away with a specially-created “runner-up” award – a $15,000 scholarship!
2013/14 YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Winners attending the presentation ceremony in NYC.
We strive to continue supporting, embedding confidence and responsibility in our students who are engaging in an intense set of learning experiences to prepare them for occupations in the evolving fashion industry.
Fashion School Scholarships:
We are GREATLY enhanced through the generous support of numerous donors and foundations who provide support to the Fashion School. We now have more than fifty scholarships that have been created specifically for Fashion School students through donor support that allows the school to provide over $110,000 in scholarship funds to students each year. Focus this year has been on creating and soliciting support for a new Mentor Program, which also has fantastic donor leadership from Rex and Geneva Damron in creating the Mentor-Scholarships. This year they have increased the number of Mentor-Scholarships by fifteen!! In addition we have received phenomenal support for our technology, study away and museum-collaboration initiatives that truly have made the school what it is today. We sincerely thank all of the donor/supporters to the Fashion School, and hope to continue to be able to ask your assistance to keep funding initiatives to help us become the best school we can be!
Margaret Clark Morgan Scholarship Recipients at the Scholarship Ceremony with Marie Erb and Suzanne Morgan.
The NYC Studio is a key strength to our growth and reputation as a nationally (and internationally) recognized fashion school. Our locations in Kent, NYC, Florence and Paris make us incredibly unique in spanning an understanding of real American markets and aesthetics while exploring international perspectives. Over 120 students in fashion design and merchandising study at our NYC Studio each academic year; most engage in an internship experience while they are there.
KSU Florence Fashion:
Once again, we are offering the Florence Fashion Program during both fall and spring semesters in 2014/15. This program continues to grow in both numbers and in quality thanks to our fantastic staff and faculty in Florence.
Hong Kong Polytechnic and other international partnerships:
Our long-standing exchange agreement with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University has led to our hosting as many as five Chinese students in Kent and sending five KSU student to Hong Kong to study during the spring semester each year. Continued expansion in offerings in Asia and India will ultimately strengthen our core purpose and vision.
Paris American Academy:
In 2010 we expanded our relationship with the Paris American Academy! During the summer, fashion design and merchandising students may earn six (6) Kent State credits while taking approved Fashion School courses at the Paris American Academy (PAA), in Paris, France. The month-long program, held in July, includes field trips, on-site experiences, hands-on workshops, lectures, and activities designed to expand an understanding of fashion.
Both student and faculty utilization of the TechStyleLAB has continued to increase as they become more aware of the possibilities of the technologies. This year, many courses integrated projects that required students to engage in the “TSLAB,” including some in which our 3D body-scanner has been used to create custom-fitting garment designs! Digital textile printing, digital embroidery and laser cutting/etching continue to grow in use.
Kevin Wolfgang demonstrating the possibilities in the TechStyleLAB
Kevin Wolfgang demonstrating the possibilities in the TechStyleLAB
Fashion School Store:
The Fashion School Store was launched in downtown Kent in May 2012. This exciting venture functions as a ‘live retail laboratory’ by engaging our students in the process of planning, selecting, designing, producing and selling products in a boutique retail environment. Fashion students, led by Dr. Nancy Stanforth, help manage the store, conceptualize the ‘brand’ of the Fashion School, and present unique product concepts created mostly by our students, faculty and alumni. The newly-completed Kent State University Esplanade now leads from Downtown Kent to campus directly connecting the Fashion School Store and the KSU Conference Hotel with Rockwell Hall via the walkway.
Thirty years later, the KSU Museum is going strong! With now almost 40,000 pieces in the museum collection and eight phenomenal exhibition spaces, students, faculty and members of our community have direct access to one of the best fashion and costume collection in the country! Over the last four years, Noel Palomo-Lovinski, Vince Quevedo and Linda Ohrn have all had solo exhibitions of their work in the museum, in addition to the excellent exhibitions that make use of items held in our collections. In 2013/14, Margarita Benitez and Noel Palomo-Lovinski co-curated the “Shifting Paradigms: Fashion + Technology” exhibition, and opening in May 2014 will be an invited exhibition focused on felting techniques curated by Dr. Sherry Schofield. To top it off, the KSU Museum hosted the Fashion School’s Annual Fashion Show in and amongst all of the exhibitions for an up-close and voyeuristic experience this year!
Views in the KSU Museum from the FS2 Fashion Show
Views in the KSU Museum from the FS2 Fashion Show
Fashion School Alumni:
We have so many fantastic Fashion School Alumni! Thirty years after the official creation of the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, we have graduates from our programs that are spread into every aspect of the fashion industry, at every level. I have had the great pleasure of getting a chance to meet many of our alumni in Ohio, New York, California, Florida and even internationally – every place I go, our Fashion School graduates have a reputation for their open-minded motivation to work hard and learn more to be the best they can in their profession. It’s exciting to experience this wonderful feedback!
Fashion School alumnus, Vicki Jennings, receiving the 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award
Hall of Fame:
In 1989 Shannon Rodgers, Jerry Silverman, Bob Broadbent and Shirley Goodman became our first inductees into the Fashion School Hall of Fame. Since then, many other notable designer/fashion icons have accepted this recognition, and travelled to Kent to receive their award. They include Linda Allard (formerly of Ellen Tracy), Estee Lauder, Anna Sui, Charles Kleibacker, Elsa Klensch, Ralph Rucci, Isabel and Ruben Toledo, Oscar de la Renta, Michael Weiss, Leonardo Ferragamo, Dana Buchman, and Yeohlee Teng! In 2014, we welcome Tome Cole, former Chief Administrative Officer for Macys Inc. (and KSU grad) into our Fashion School Hall of Fame!
KSU alumnus, Tom Cole, receiving the 2014 Hall of Fame Induction
Designer Critics Program:
Nearly 20 years ago, our Friends of Fashion group was formed and they have been going strong ever since! Two main areas that they continue to support for the Fashion School that add great value for our students and the school as a whole are the Designer Critics Program, and the Fashion School Hall of Fame. Their support in these areas has been invaluable.
As the Fashion School strives to continually improve the quality of our programs and the overall reputation of our students/grads, we have transitioned towards only accepting the strongest collections for presentation in the Fashion School’s Annual Fashion Show. This form of review and selection is intended to mimic the realities of professional juried selection processes as a means to support the reflective learning that we believe each designer should experience. It will undoubtedly be a part of their lives as professional designers once they leave KSU. The Fashion School intentionally places the review and selection process in the hands of the Designer Critics, as they come with completely “fresh eyes” and they all have great experience in design selection for industry success.
As such, only the top scoring collections will be shown on the runway. Following the two-day public critical review sessions held in mid-March with all six Designer Critics, only a portion of the collections were accepted for presentation. In some cases, for students who did not have a full collection accepted, the Designer Critics selected “Individual Looks” from some of the collections to be. Additionally, they accepted a small collection of some of the best work submitted by under-classmen to show as individual looks, as a way to showcase a taste of ‘what’s to come’ in future years! Congratulations to ALL of our senior design students; and thank you to all of the students and faculty who have put careful thought and countless hours into the production of this event!
NYC Portfolio Showcase:
This year, for the first time ever, we held a competitive submission process for all design and merchandising seniors to compete for a slot to be able to meet industry professionals at our New York City Portfolio Showcase. Held one week after graduation, 20 fashion design and 15 fashion merchandising graduates were selected to present their portfolios at the event, which was a resounding success! Scenes from the 2014 Portfolio Showcase at the NYC Studio
Scenes from the 2014 Portfolio Showcase at the NYC Studio