The one-year mark as the Fashion School Director!

On July 1st, I will have completed one full year as the Director of the Fashion School at Kent State University.  What a year! Here are some of the highlights since January 2010:

Peter Carman and the Paris American Academy:

To spend more time discussing our partnership between the Fashion School and the Paris American Academy (, Peter Carman visited us in Kent.  Starting in the Summer session of 2011, students from the KSU will be able to take approved Fashion School courses at the Paris American Academy, which is located very near the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens.  Two Fashion Design and two Fashion Merchandising courses have been developed and approved, thanks to assistance from Dr. Catherine Leslie, for students to take for credit towards their major.  It’s a great partnership, and Peter is a fantastic guy.

Peter Carman, President of the Paris American Academy, visited the Fashion School in April. When we had a bit of spare time, we took him to see President Garfield's memorial in Cleveland.

Peter Carman - visiting Garfield memorial

Garfield Memorial

Modista’s “Dreamland” fashion show:

The Modista Student Organization put on a great fashion show

Kori Fields presenting 'Dreamland' - a fashion show produced by the Modista Student Organization

early in the semester that presented designs from regional businesses as well as design work by Fashion School students.

Meeting Tim Gunn:

Tim Gunn gave a great presentation as part of the Burton D. Morgan lecture series at the Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, OH.

On April 6th, I was graciously invited to join the Burton D. Morgan Foundation staff and the administration of the Western Reserve Academy in Hudson to hear Mr. Tim Gunn give an excellent presentation to the WRA students.  We then had a lovely lunch with Mr. Gunn, hosted by the Head of School, Christopher Burner and his wife.

Stark County’s “Tie One On” competition and exhibition:

Fashion School Alumnus Christine Peterson and a team from Community Services of Stark County approached the Fashion School to assist on manufacturing the results of a competition that they have held called “Tie One On/Scarf One Up”, in which area school children and local artists could submit designs online.

Tie One On - entries on display in Canton

Two winning designs were selected for production and are being produced as short-run/limited edition silk scarves and ties.  We are printing the silk here in the Fashion School’s TechStyleLAB and the organizational team is working with a tie company in Vermont to have them sewn and assembled.  Last month, the group displayed a range of the submitted designs, as well as the prototypes for the tie and scarf, which were very well received.

Tie One On - Christine Peterson (Fashion School Alum) watching digital printing of the silk satin

On the 26th of June, they will hold their Gala event for Tie One On, in which the locally designed scarves and ties will be available for purchase!

Tie One On - digitally printed silk scarves

Tie One On - digitally printed silk tie

Jenny Barnett, Contributing Editor of Harper’s Bazaar lectured at KSU:

In the middle of March, we were able to bring Jenny Barnett, Contributing Editor of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, to KSU to help facilitate discussions around fashion communications, and how we might approach the connections between the Fashion School and the College of Communication and Information.  We had some good discussion involving students, faculty and administrators.  Then Jenny gave an excellent presentation about her experiences and the types of roles in a fashion publication that bridge between journalism and fashion. I hope to continue these conversations and see how we can get these connections to best filter into our curriculum for our students.

The Fashion School’s Annual Fashion Show:

There is so much to say!  The Fashion Show was a great success this year, even with all of the changes.  We showcased some exceptional student work. I think it can be best shown in the range of photos posted in the gallery at the bottom of this blog, which includes a range of photos from the 2010 Re:Create Fashion Show. Thanks to Bob Christie for a number of the photo credits. Students: sorry I didn’t have time to properly label everyone’s designs… please let me know which ones are yours and I will gladly update their captions.

SP 2010 NYC Study Tour:

Although I didn’t go along with this group, I thought it might be useful to show some photos from the Spring 2010 NYC Study Tour group, which were taken by KSU Photographer Bob Christie. Check out the full photo gallery below! The NYC Studio is going strong. This summer marks a transition to working with Educational Housing Services to provide housing options for our students while studying in NYC.

A brief explore into the surrounding regions:

I got a chance recently to take a quick trip with friends and family over to Pennsylvania to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s house called “Falling Water”.  This region has so many impressive histories.

I also was able to visit Columbus, OH a few times – Once to meet some Fashion School donor/connections; once for the Ohio Women’s Summit conference to help display Noel Palomo-Lovinski’s work; and once for a more sombre reason – to attend the memorial event for Charles Kleibacker at the Columbus Museum of Art.

Dale Chiluly exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art

JR + JR = CUTPRINT – workshop held at our NYC Studio in June:

JR+JR Workshop: Julian discussing approach with participants

The JR + JR = CUTPRINT workshop went very well at our NYC Studio this June. We had 15 participants in the class, including faculty from Parsons, Stephens College and the University of Delaware; KSU Fashion School students; and industry professionals. The course was designed to demonstrate Julian Robert’s techniques for “subtraction pattern cutting” and to combine them with my approaches to engineered digital garment printing. Participants created one complete subtraction cut garment; and will be able to create their own digitally printed version following the workshop. See the full range of design work and our collaborative process for the workshop shown in the image gallery at the end of this blog.

Margarita Benitez will be joining us as a tenure-track faculty in the Fall 2010:

Just a quick note to say that we are eagerly anticipating Margarita Benitez’s arrival at the Fashion School this Fall 2010, following her experiences at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Margarita will be working closely with our TechStyleLAB concept and will be exploring teaching and research in digital fashion and wearable technologies. Check out her website at

What’s next:
Over the summer we hope to greatly add to and enhance our recent website redesign for the Fashion School and to focus on finishing the first stage proposal for our graduate programs, continuing to discuss and improve the undergrad degree program curricula, continuing to improve our communications strategy and to get the good-word out about the accomplishments of the Fashion School faculty and students, and focus on strategic planning both within the Fashion School and as part of the College of the Arts at Kent State University.

The full photo gallery:

  • Jay Frye 07:25 on June 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply

    It looks like it’s been quite a year. Congratulations!!!

  • Charlie Dale 17:32 on July 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations on such a great and busy year. Nice to see the new post as wellasI am in this site very often


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