KSU fashion students live, learn in New York City next semester

Samantha Rainwater

New York City is more than 400 miles away from Kent. But to some students, the city life seems like a different world.

Fashion design and merchandising majors will have a chance to spend next semester studying in New York City, said Elizabeth Rhodes director of School of Fashion Design and Merchandising director.

“When professionals hired out students, they found they didn’t understand much about New York City, and New York City is essential to the fashion business,” Rhodes said.

While in New York, students will have the opportunity to take classes taught by professionals in the industry. For example, Margaret Walch, the director of the Color Association will teach a color forecasting class, and Greg Furman, president of the Luxury Marketing Association will teach a luxury marketing class.

Jerry Scupp, Deputy Director of the Business Improvement District, will teach a fashion entrepreneurship class, and Scott French, a designer with his own label, will head the design studio classes, Rhodes said.

Fashion design instructor Angela Marusic will accompany the students to New York.

“They’ll be working so close to the industry, so they’ll have the possibility of making contacts,” Marusic said.

Marusic said she lived, studied and worked in New York for eight years prior to coming to Kent, so she felt she would be able to help introduce students to the fashion industry. She said she will be there to guide, direct and show the students around.

Students participating in the New York program will stay in residence halls in downtown Manhattan, Rhodes said. The fashion school has reserved 25 double rooms for a total of 50 available spaces.

The cost for students to participate in the program is university tuition and an additional $6,500 for housing, Rhodes said. Students must make a $2,500 deposit to sign up. The program is aimed toward juniors and seniors.

Rhodes said the school has received a number of donations to help the program get under way. She also has been working to get grant proposals and find other potential donors.

“I think a lot of people see the value that would come from the program,” Rhodes said.

Marusic said she feels the program is valuable for students because they will get the experience of being in a big city.

“Eventually, they’ll need to think about relocating to New York. So, it’s good for them to get familiar with the city before working there,” Marusic said.

Junior fashion design major Victoria Somers, who is currently studying in Florence, will be participating in the New York program next semester.

“I think the main reason most of us want to go to New York is for the experience,” Somers said. “In the industry we are going into, it is a huge benefit for us to be living in areas like Florence and New York City.”

Rhodes said she has been trying to get the program started for a number of years. The idea began four or five years ago when the advisory board members were evaluating graduates and decided they needed more experience in the city.

“Our students were showing garments that were well-constructed and designed, but already out in New York City,” Rhodes said.

She said an experience in New York will help students push beyond their limits, see trends sooner and be inspired in different ways.

Marusic agreed.

“It’s the fashion capital,” Marusic said. “The students will have everything at their fingertips.”

Contact fashion reporter Samantha Rainwater at [email protected].