Fashion design and merchandising majors gain real-world experience at Rockwell

Hailey Phillips Fashion reporter

Hundreds of students walk the halls of Rockwell Hall, the home of Kent State’s Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, every semester. The connection to the museum, library and professors are readily available to all students — specifically fashion design and merchandising majors.

Both fashion design and merchandising majors begin their education together, learning about the fundamentals of the fashion industry and techniques. But after these courses students start taking different routes.

Phoebe Alicardi, senior fashion design major, said design majors often take three studio courses on top of two or three non-studio courses. The studio courses include more hands-on work. Design students make a skirt, a tailored jacket, a little black dress, pants, kids pajamas and more throughout their studio courses.

“A lot of the challenges don’t have to do with the courses, but more with the amount of course work we are given,” Alicardi said. “I would go in at 4 p.m. after having class earlier that day and I wouldn’t leave until 1:30 p.m. the next day.”

Merchandising students deal with less hands-on work. The merchandising side of fashion focuses on the planning and promotion of the fashion industry.

Maria Sahlani, junior fashion merchandising major, said her “Fashion Technology” course was extremely important. Throughout her courses she’s realized how much technology and programs such as Photoshop are used in the industry.

“I’m in ‘Professional Seminar’; the professor is telling us how she communicates with professionals and higher-ups in the companies and they say we need Photoshop,” Sahlani said. “We need Creative Cloud. We need everything.” 

Jaime Hylton, sophomore fashion merchandising major, said she started to realize all that goes into the clothing and industry through her courses.

“I don’t just look at the clothing,” she said. “I look at the quality, the price and who makes the clothing. Once I realized everything that goes into the industry, I could tell other people and they could realize it too.”

The Fashion School at Kent State provides students in both majors in the school — design and merchandising — with real-world settings and opportunities in and out of the classroom. Kent’s Fashion School has one of the top fashion programs nationally and globally.

“I feel like it’s destiny,” Sahlani said. “I moved from New York, a fashion hub, to Ohio and ended up living near a top fashion school.”

Hailey Phillips is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].