Philadelphia University now proudly boasts 9 nationally and internationally ranked programs. Our students’ and faculty’s commitment to innovation have increased the visibility and prestige of these programs and helped make PhilaU a competitor among elite schools. The programs are: fashion design, fashion merchandising and management, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, physician assistant studies, midwifery, communications online, and business online.
Our fashion program, ranked as one of the top 50 fashion schools in the world by Fashionista magazine, is a wonderful example of how PhilaU’s Nexus Learning signature educational philosophy gives our students a dramatic competitive advantage. We embed opportunities to work in collaborative teams and professionally engage with companies and organizations as a part of our internships and coursework. Our students flourish when facing the diverse challenges that the fashion program’s industry and organization collaborations provide. Fashion students have collaborated with Target; Laura Geller cosmetics; Johnson & Johnson; Nicole Miller; and the Philadelphia Art Museum, and many, many others.
Our fashion students’ professional excellence in external competitions against fashion students from all over the country underscores the value of a Philadelphia University education. This year, six Philadelphia University fashion students won prestigious YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund scholarships. Our remarkable fashion program is a wonderful testament to our school’s textile history. Philadelphia University has a long history of understanding fashion and the business of fashion.
Five of our YMA scholarship winners won $5,000 scholarships. They are:
- Madeline Bill ’17, fashion merchandising and management
- Maria D’Agostino ’16, fashion design
- May He ’15, fashion design
- Kristen Heun ’15, fashion design
- Courtney Hunter ’16, fashion merchandising and management
Our sixth winner, Tia Pion, won a $10,000 scholarship as one of eight national finalists in the Geoffrey Beene scholarship competition. She also won a $5,000 scholarship in 2013.
Courtney Hunter also recently won a $10,000 National Retail Foundation scholarship as one of five finalists in the Next Generation scholarship competition.
Accolades such as these are indicators of our students’ professional commitment to their disciplines and their desire to become leaders in their industries. Past YMA scholarship winners have been very successful in their careers. Casey Saccomanno ’08 is a designer for wovens and knits at SoulStar Creations LLC; Anfisa Sokolova ’11 is a color design assistant at Eileen Fisher and a YMA Scholar and Mentor; Terniqua Osborne ’11 worked for PVH and is now a production coordinator at LF USA.
But we will not rest on our laurels. PhilaU’s fashion program has also launched the New York Immersion Program. The program is coordinated by Sheila Connelly, director of the fashion design program; Beth Mariotz, director of the fashion merchandising and management program; and Nioka Wyatt, assistant professor of fashion merchandising and management. Once a week, sophomore fashion design and fashion merchandising and management students travel to New York to study the work of design studios, manufacturers, and retailers. They will also meet with PhilaU fashion alumni. This program exemplifies Nexus Learning: it gives students real-world experience in the spaces where fashion professionals do their work every day.
Later in the semester, the students will attend New York Fashion Week. Fashion design students Tia Pion and Dana Jackson ‘14 have been chosen to show their collection in the New York Fashion Week Emerging Designers Collective. They were chosen from an international pool of talented young design students. New York Immersion students will work behind the scenes at the show to give them vital experience in America’s largest fashion show.
Last Friday, the students went to Xcel Brands, the parent company of Isaac Mizrahi, Liz Claiborne New York, and Judith Ripka; Mood, the fabric store made famous by Project Runway (which PhilaU alum Jay McCarroll won in its first season); and Tiger J, a clothing manufacturer that licenses for many celebrities and designers. Tiger J has developed brands for Carson Kressley H’13, PhilaU trustee; Rachel Zoe; Serena Williams; Liz Lange; Giuliana Rancic; and Queen Latifah.
For Isaac Mizrahi, students will tackle a semester-long group project: they will design, merchandise, and market a home improvement business that is targeted toward women in a Home Depot and/or Lowes, establishing Isaac Mizrahi as a brand that allows women to live with style.
At Tiger J, students took a look at some of the fabric designs that the brand uses in their clothing; Tiger J is the force behind the proliferation of faux fur.
PhilaU students are effusive with their praise of the program and the opportunities it will provide. Fashion merchandising and management major Alyssa Tomaseck said, “All the excitement built up for this course was definitely worth the wait because this is an experience of a lifetime… not many students will be able to say they had this kind of amazing opportunity.” Kimberly Hill, a fashion merchandising and management major, said, “I learned a great amount from our visit to Tiger J… I got to see the designers, graphic designers, sewers, and the head of the department that would work with the fashion labels. This helped me to understand the various aspects of the value chain that makes up a company… This visit to Tiger J got me extremely excited for this industry.”
We treat our students as professionals from the very beginning, so even as sophomores, they possess the maturity and industry knowledge that lets them fully appreciate the significance of the New York Immersion experience. The hands-on aspects of this program, plus the visit to New York Fashion Week, will give our students an edge over their peers in the industry.
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