One of many questions we’re requested most frequently by younger individuals is what they must be ready for a profession in style, and the solutions most style professionals gives you are: related, hands-on expertise, an understanding of the enterprise aspect of style, and business connections.
This stuff are usually not at all times a part of a typical undergraduate curriculum, however when Lengthy Island College launched its Bachelor of Science in fashion merchandising in 2015, it determined to do issues a little bit in another way. Alongside their core educational necessities and the requisite programs on Shopping for, Import/Export, and Visible Merchandising, style college students are provided a slew of alternatives that contain them within the business and supply the enterprise background and experiential studying wanted to make it within the ever-changing world of style.
“We put collectively all the inventive facets of style, together with the enterprise finish of style,” explains Cherie Serota, director of this system, which is underneath the umbrella of LIU’s enterprise college. “We’re making ready college students for a hands-on alternative to enter the style business with a whole understanding of the enterprise in order that, in the event that they select, they’ll create their very own style start-up armed with the data, the talents and an general sense of the place style is heading. Actually, we’re making ready them for any route that they select.”
This well-rounded strategy is constructed round key initiatives and experiences that set LIU aside: College students run an on-campus boutique the place they handle the shopping for, merchandising, advertising and occasion planning; they maintain annual style reveals to showcase the designs within the student-run enterprise; they take journeys into NYC to go to showrooms and listen to from style executives; and so they tackle consulting initiatives each at house and overseas. Beneath, Serota offers us the rundown on probably the most precious alternatives this system has to supply.
Business visits are a giant a part of this system, are you able to share some examples?
We’re simply 35 miles from New York Metropolis, so we go into the town loads. We have met designers firsthand, corresponding to Rebecca Minkoff, Elie Tahari, the homeowners of Winery Vines, Shep and Ian Murray, amongst others. The Girls’s Put on Day by day Fashion Editor Alex Badia labored with our college students behind the scenes to clarify how and the place the inspiration takes place and what makes one thing necessary sufficient to make it right into a Girls’s Put on Day by day article. Our college students traditionally have labored at New York Vogue Week and recurrently attend the commerce reveals on the Javits Heart.
What about worldwide journeys?
Our purpose is to go to a style capital every year. We have been to Paris, Florence and Milan. We had a visit scheduled for London in spring of 2020, however sadly it was cancelled final minute as a result of pandemic. As part of every expertise, we tackle a consulting undertaking overseas. We’ll begin making ready for it months forward on the college, after which we are going to go on the journey with a whole undertaking temporary three-quarters of the way in which completed. Then, as soon as there, with boots on the bottom, we start to take a deep dive into the enterprise, the tradition, the aggressive panorama and different issues that encourage our senses — meals, smells, sights and sounds.
Are you able to give an instance?
Positive. We had been tasked with conceptualizing the time period “Made in Italy” for a attainable retail pop up within the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum in Florence; the crew of Ferragamo was focused on seeing what American style college students needed to say. At house, on campus, we started to analysis and nearly “go to” different style museums or museums that contained style reveals everywhere in the world. The crew assessed the aggressive panorama and used this info as a baseline for the following steps.
As soon as we had been on the bottom in Florence, we had been attempting to actually verify what it means to be made in Italy. We went to all the Italian designer retailers like Fendi, Gucci, Valentino, Prada and naturally Ferragamo. We additionally visited artisans and multi-generational companies that took delight of their heritage and their cultural roots. We ate pizza and pasta, considered artwork and shopped within the native markets; we met proprietors, individuals on the town and different college students; requested questions and listened to their solutions. Then, [the students] got here up with a whole proposal and pitch deck to current to the advertising crew on the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum. They regarded on the undertaking by the lens of Gen Z and the needs and wishes of this generational cohort that was in truth their goal buyer.
Most lately, we delivered an analogous kind of consulting undertaking for Hervé Leger. Hervé Leger was within the strategy of launching a brand new model referred to as Hervé, geared to the Gen-Z buyer with a decrease pricepoint. Our college students cherished this undertaking as a result of they had been this buyer. Consequently, they did a deep dive into who’s Gen Z, what do they need, how a lot are they keen to pay for it, how do they put on it, the place do they store, and who’re the important thing influencers they observe. In addition they offered the Hervé crew with a mock-up Instagram, a social media proposal and a bunch of stellar launch concepts.
Do all style merchandising college students get to take part in these initiatives?
The selection is theirs. College students can elect to journey and take part in that undertaking, or if they like they’ll take part in a undertaking at house, on campus, in a Model Administration class. Hervé Leger was a part of Model Administration, whereas Ferragamo was a part of the International Vogue Consulting. If you’re majoring in style merchandising, you’ll most probably be uncovered to a consulting undertaking.
Do these initiatives ever assist college students land jobs on the corporations?
Many college students have turned these alternatives into summer time internships. Let’s simply say, after we visited a showroom and have had a pupil who’s daring sufficient to ask, ‘Do you have got any jobs this summer time?’ it has at all times materialized into one thing very constructive.
College students may also get retail and fashion-show manufacturing expertise on campus. What does that entail?
We placed on a runway present yearly; the Vogue Membership oversees that and so they work in tandem with the Scholar Physique Boutique, a student-run on-campus clothes retailer. All the garments for the style present come from both the Scholar Physique Boutique, pupil creators or repurposed clothes. The Boutique is run, for probably the most half, by our style merchandising majors.
The scholars do the buys, they go to the Javits Heart and pick merchandise on the biannual commerce reveals held there. They take a look at studies to see what classes are promoting effectively and which are not, after which they create a markdown schedule. They do all of the particular occasions for the shop. They merchandise the shop. Mainly, they’re accountable for each facet of the shop from A to Z. The shop earnings are earmarked for the style merchandising program and used for scholarships and journeys overseas.
There’s additionally a giant entrepreneurial part to the curriculum. Are you able to share extra in regards to the Capstone undertaking?
Capstone is a fruits of their 4 years with us. Consequently, college students are tasked with making a style model, product or firm and taking it from conception to completion. The opposite college students function the C-suite and the category turns into the boardroom. We meet on a weekly foundation and we take tiny bites out of constructing every enterprise. It’s actually manageable… They begin with the precise thought, then the following week they work on the mission assertion, the imaginative and prescient assertion, they work on the precise design parts and so forth and so forth, till they get to the ultimate presentation, which is represented in a pitch deck to a panel of judges, some from the business and others from academia. The ultimate presentation is just not solely an oral presentation, however it’s additionally a whole enterprise proposal, a model e-book and product samples.
Do college students ever find yourself beginning these companies for actual?
A lot of them have left to begin this enterprise, or with the intention to begin the enterprise, as a result of it is actually on the level the place they may give it a inexperienced gentle in the event that they select to.
How else does the curriculum put together college students for an business that’s at all times altering and evolving?
We’re at all times taking a look at our program and amending it primarily based on what the business wants. Proper now, sustainability is extraordinarily necessary so we added that in as a requirement. We all know that inclusivity and variety are tremendous necessary, so these are touched upon in lots of, if not all, of our programs. Identical with transparency and authenticity — we take a look at blockchain and the way an organization might be clear by their provide chain.
A lot of our professors come from the business, if not all. So they’re all extraordinarily educated and are instructing what they know from on-the-job expertise. They educate what they know from dwelling by it. In fact, this additionally helps with connections, securing internships and procuring visits as much as showrooms, corporations and model headquarters to be taught firsthand what it actually means to work within the style business.