Fashion school nearing end of inaugural summer fashion academy

Brittany Anderson

To help high school students obtain a more advanced perspective of fashion, the Kent State Fashion School started its first ever weeklong, all-inclusive academy on Monday.

The summer fashion school academy brings 20 high school students who have completed their sophomore year together from states that include Missouri, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Ohio to study fashion, and learn with Kent State students and faculty.

Marjorie Wachowiak, the academy coordinator and Kent State fashion lecturer, has been in the fashion field for over 20 years and helped organize the key areas students focus on in order to get the most out of the program.

“We are really talking about fashion and how it relates to society,” Wachowiak said. “I want students to understand and comprehend all of the options that are available to them in the fashion business. It is so much more than just being a buyer or designer and working in a retail store.”

The students are being introduced to key components in fashion, including textiles, art education, fabrics, logistics, sewing, and the evolution of fashion. Wachowiak said this academy gives the students a broader view of what studying fashion has to offer while exploring their own personal styles.

 “We introduced the students to the final project dealing with problem-solving that we call the upcycle project,” Wachowiak said.

The upcycle project has the students create a garment from six other garments, and students will display their creations on Saturday.

Collectively, this is the first weeklong academy for fashion at Kent State.

“There have been many instructors in the school that have worked independently, either through upward bound or the YMCA, but this is really the first that we have launched through the Fashion School,” Wachowiak said.

Robin Vande Zande, an associate art professor, has a research area of design education for K-12 that brought her to working with the Fashion School. She has over 13 years of experience teaching art education on all levels.

“Students need design taught all across the country,” Zande said. “We are surrounded by design. Everywhere you look something has been well thought out and designed. Fashion is also linked to architecture.”

Zande feels there is a social responsibility students should be aware of after leaving this week’s experience.

“We all have a social responsibility to consider our resources, economy, and how this involves the environment,” Zande said. “Can we recycle our old garments? Where do these articles of clothing end up? Our landfills? What about the garments we buy? How long will they last?”

As consumers, the students in the academy will be able to understand silk and fabric quality, the color theory, and colors’ warmth and comfort. Students will get the opportunity to work with current Kent State students and see what they could be doing in a few years.

The College of the Arts awarded the academy a Catalyst Grant of 2500 dollars to pay for Art Education undergraduates in the teaching.

Half of the students in attendance have fashion or design offered in their school, but some have no exposure to it and are interested in pursuing it as a career.

Jackson Tankersley, 15, from Kent, Ohio and in the STEM program. Although Tankersley is in the STEM or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics school, he wanted to explore his lingering desire to study fashion. “I was always interested in shoes and sneaker design so I wanted to further my interest in fashion to see if it was something I could do as a career,” Tankersley said.

Other students, like Marisa Kreinbihl, 17, are more familiar with some of the lessons that they have been learning.

“I am most excited to be very creative, my school offers design and other art classes and I love to express myself,” Kreinbihl said.

Contact Brittany Anderson at [email protected]