We all have friends or know people who have studied at Kent State’s New York City or Florence campuses. I had the pleasure of studying in Florence last spring (further solidifying my jealousy and angst this current spring semester). However, little did I know, there are so many more study abroad opportunities open to students that aren’t publicized to the same degree.
I talked to Paige Meacham, a senior fashion design major, who can be considered, at this point, a sort of world traveler. Meacham has studied in New York, Florence, Paris and is currently studying in Hong Kong.
EF: Can you describe Asian fashion in three words?
PM: Bold, daring, unique. Asian fashion is unlike anything I’ve seen before. People put outfits together that I never would have imagined.
EF: In your classes, do your teachers suggest a different approach to designing clothing?
PM: My classes here are unlike any of the study abroad classes I’ve taken. The teachers praise you on how “out there” your ideas are, and how you can push the comfort zone of your audience. When we make 3-D samples, they have you place it on every inch of the dress form until you find the spot that “speaks to you.” I love learning here, and I think that the teachers are expanding my brain into different directions.
EF: Can you remain true to who you are as a designer?
PM: I think I have truly found myself as a designer. I have been pushed in ways I never thought I could be pushed. I have tried things I never would think about trying. And I have always been pretty confident in my work and my love for fashion, but that has grown even more since being here.
EF: Can you see yourself working for an Asian designer someday?
PM: I would love to work for an Asian designer. I think it would be the hardest job I would ever have to do, but I know I would learn so much from them.
EF: Do you think fashion in Hong Kong is ahead of U.S. fashion or just different?
PM: I don’t necessarily think it’s “ahead.” I think they like different things than the U.S. U.S. fashion is a little calmer than the fashion here. You see everything from all black to crazy color to mixing fabrics that normally wouldn’t be mixed to lots and lots of volume. I think if there is one thing that is ahead of the U.S., in terms of fashion, it would be silhouette.
EF: How is Hong Kong different than other places you’ve visited?
PM: It’s kind of indescribable! It’s not just a big city, or a beach or mountains. It’s everything. There are things I can pick apart in every place I’ve lived that maybe I didn’t like because it was too big or there wasn’t enough green space, but Hong Kong is different. I can’t think of one thing that makes me sad. You can basically find everything here, so you’re never homesick. The people are incredible, inviting, warm and school is fantastic! In Europe, I wanted to travel every weekend, but in Hong Kong, there are so many things I would like to do that I am only taking two or three trips because I still won’t finish everything by the time I leave. I think this is a beautiful place. Anyone who can, should try to come here. It’ll change your life. I can truly say I will be back.
After all of the positive feedback I received from speaking with Meacham, I have decided that I must visit Hong Kong at some point in my life. For any freshman or sophomore out there who is still deciding if or where they would like to study abroad, I would highly recommend looking into Hong Kong as an option.
As Meacham said, “This place will change your life.”
Contact Ellen Freeborn at [email protected]