Fashion School maintains top-ranking status nationally and internationally

Hailey Phillips Reporter

The large windows of Kent State’s Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising with “FASHION” spelled across them catches the eyes of students from all over the world. 

Through the doors the seafoam green stairs sit across from a display full of fashion designs, students carrying supplies through the halls and faculty filled with information and experience.

Students aspiring to be involved in the fashion industry flock to Kent State for their top-ranking fashion design and merchandising programs, both nationally and internationally.

The Fashion School provides students with published faculty members and resources for diversity and opportunities to make themselves stand out in the industry. The Fashion Library holds thousands of books and magazines for all students, not just those studying fashion. The TechStyleLAB holds high tech equipment, such as textile printers, laser cutting machines and knitting machines. Pricing for use of these resources is listed on the The Fashion School website.

Top-ranked faculty help place Kent’s fashion program above others. Brittani Peterson, marketing associate for the Fashion School, said the faculty are not only great for the school, but are doing great things in the industry.

“We have a new director,” Peterson said. “She wants to take us to the next level. She’s definitely capable of doing that and making us more visible on an international front.”

Students also notice the faculty’s work and impact on the school. Isabelle Edwards, a senior fashion merchandising major, said one of the best qualities of the school is the professors that are experienced in the field. Edwards also believes the blending of creative classes with business and analytical classes is beneficial to studies in merchandising.

Continuously upgrading, bringing in more faculty and keeping up with the industry helps the Fashion School maintain their top-ranking status. The school has recently added more screens in the building to stay current on events going on around Kent and in fashion. With the school being more digitized, it is able to provide the students with larger amounts of easily accessible content.

“It’s a very inclusive school,” Peterson said. “We have students from all backgrounds and I think that’s one of our biggest strengths. Kent State is well-rounded and you get to experience tons of cultures and different programs.”

The fashion industry is a global industry and the Fashion School provides students with the information and resources to become a part of the industry on a global level.

Study Away programs stand as a requirement to graduate for any fashion-related major or minor at Kent State. Professor and Study Away Programs Coordinator Kim Hahn said this opportunity puts the school at a top-ranking level because Kent is the only fashion school that requires students to study away.

“Studying away provides students with self-growth and makes them more competitive after graduation,” Hahn said. “It gives them a story and an experience to talk about.” 

Students studying fashion are presented with several options to choose from when it comes to studying away. They can stay in the U.S.; New York City and Los Angeles are both available options. Or, there are international options including Florence, Paris, London, Hong Kong, South Korea and Germany. 

Hahn said the experiences and information gained from studying away often help students land jobs and internships because they have more of an open mind and are diverse in their studies and experience.

Fashionista, a trusted source for fashion news, ranks Kent State in the top 25 fashion schools globally. The ranking style of Fashionista recently switched to listing the top 25 in alphabetical order, no longer going by numerical order. In 2018, The Fashion School was ranked as No. 15 in the world and No. 5 in the nation.

Business of Fashion, another trusted source in the fashion industry, ranks fashion schools with “Badges of Excellence.” The badges recognize the school’s potential in four categories: Best Overall, Best in Global Influence, Best in Learning Experience and Best in Long-Term Value. The Fashion School for Design received three badges: Best Overall, Best in Learning Experience and Best in Long-Term Value. Merchandising received all four badges.

“The Fashion School, and Kent as a whole, is great,” Peterson said. “If you go to Kent State, you’re more well-rounded and get to experience tons of cultures and different programs. Our students are ready to work.”

Fashion Schools rank schools in categories. Kent State’s Fashion School ranked as a top competitor in four categories:

·      #1 Fashion Design and Merchandising School in the Midwest

·      #2 Fashion Design and Merchandising Public School in the U.S.

·      #3 Fashion Merchandising School in the U.S.

·      #4 Fashion Design School in the U.S.

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