The Fashion School to offer its first Fashion School Academy to high school students

Kelsey Drumm

Twenty high school students interested in fashion will attend Kent State’s first summer Fashion School Academy from June 14-20 this year. 

The first Fashion School Academy will remain relatively small and accept the first twenty applications, said Marjorie Wachowiak, fashion merchandising and design lecturer and Fashion School Academy coordinator. 

Applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 18. Wachowiak said the limited number of participants should attract Northeast Ohio high school students before other parts of the country.

The idea for the Fashion School Academy formed when the Fashion School received inquiries asking if Kent State provided a summer fashion program for middle and high school students, she said. 

“I think entering the latter part of high school is such a critical time in your life,” Fashion School Marketing Coordinator Alex Parrott said. “You’re exploring your options and discovering who you want to be.” 

Fashion School Academy students will be introduced to every concept involved with bringing an idea to a consumer, Wachowiak said 

The process begins with research, followed by creation, and ends with execution or production, she said. The students will not produce any garments from scratch, but they will manipulate and repurpose something, so there will be the opportunity for students to leave with an actual piece of work. 

Wachowiak said the learning process actually begins when students search through consignment stores to find items to repurpose. Students will receive hands-on experience with the TechStyleLAB, which is the Fashion School’s undergraduate design studio, said Devine Lamar, fashion merchandising senior and student coordinator for the Fashion School Academy. 

The TechStyleLAB, he said, aims to expose academy-goers to sewing, researching and will possibly help them decide whether to pursue fashion merchandising or design. Wachowiak said it also gives students a pre-college experience because they will stay in dorms, use Flashcards and prepare them for college life overall. 

The Fashion School hopes to learn from this initial program, too. Wachowiak said the program may expand to include other ages or to dedicate the program to certain fashion topics, but that is not definite yet. 

“It will be a great learning process for everyone,” Lamar said. “Students will get to learn about the industry, and the Fashion School will gain more empathy from those participants. We will learn what is best, how we can apply that to the following year and things like that.” 

The Fashion School at Kent State holds impressive placement rates, Parrott said. More than 90 percent of students graduating with a bachelor degree in Fashion Merchandising or Fashion Design will be hired for a job in the fashion industry within their first year of graduation, he said. 

The Fashion School Academy works to encourage high school students with a passion for art to attend Kent State. 

Wachowiak and Robin Vande Zande, an associate professor of the Arts, used a grant from the university to develop the curriculum for the Fashion School Academy, Wachowiak said. 

The all-inclusive program includes six nights in a residence hall, all meals, supplies and materials for a grand total of $1,500. 

Registration began on March 15 and continues until May 17. 

More information can be found at


Contact Kelsey Drumm at [email protected].