Jay McCarroll (left) and Carson Kressley talk fashion, collaboration and PhilaU at Discover Fashion Day.
Some 170 prospective fashion students, parents and guests packed the Kanbar Campus Center Performance Space on Oct. 29 to participate in a conversation with Emmy Award-winning fashion celebrity Carson Kressley and “Project Runway” veteran Jay McCarroll.
Kressley, who serves on the University’s Board of Trustees, talked about the large number of career opportunities within the fashion industry. “There are so many jobs that radiate out of the fashion industry,” said Kressley, including those in textile design, fashion design, merchandising, retail, marketing and fashion journalism.
All of these positions, he said, require skills that are foundational to PhilaU’s collaborative Nexus Learning approach to higher education. “When you are in the real world working with 18 other people, you have to be a team player,” he told the future fashion students.
McCarroll, a PhilaU fashion design alumnus and current fashion design faculty member, echoed the importance of collaborative learning in obtaining a job after graduation. “It’s so exciting for me as a fashion professor to see the fashion design students working with the textile design students,” he said. “That’s Nexus Learning, and it’s working.”
“There are so many opportunities here to take advantage of,” said McCarroll, who won the first season of the fashion design reality show “Project Runway.” Because of this, many PhilaU alumni have gone on to successful careers at major fashion companies, he said, including such local powerhouses as Urban Outfitters and Lilly Pulitzer.
The day’s events, including campus tours and classroom visits, as well as the talk by McCarroll and Kressley, provided prospective students with an in-depth look at PhilaU’s fashion programs and the successful careers on which graduates embark.
“The overwhelming number of students who registered to participate in the Discover Fashion Day underscores the highly effective way in which we are preparing students at Philadelphia University to enter the field of fashion,” said Christine Greb, dean of enrollment management.
Francesco Vetrano, a Lehigh Carbon Community College student interested in transferring to PhilaU’s fashion design program, was impressed by McCarroll’s comments and said, “It seems like a really great thing to attend a school where I would be able to work closely with textile designers.”
Vetrano, who would like to design his own fashion line in the future, said he decided to apply to PhilaU after learning of the University’s 94 percent job placement rate for graduates.
Elizabeth Scott, a West Chester East High School senior who has applied for admission to the fashion merchandising and management program, said the many industry engagement and internship opportunities PhilaU offers are essential to helping her achieve her goals. “I’m most excited about getting that real-world experience,” she said. “I would like to be a buyer for a local company like QVC, and I like that there are so many employment opportunities near where I live.”
Later in the day, visiting students attended sessions on fashion design and fashion merchandising and management, depending on their interest.
Alumna Emily Wooten ’13, an assistant buyer in QVC’s handbag division, spoke to prospective students in the Lawrence N. Field DEC Center Forum. “When you come to PhilaU, you’re not just coming to college, you’re here to prepare for a career,” said Wooten, a fashion merchandising and management major who interned twice at QVC while at PhilaU. “This has been the most exciting year of my life,” she said.
In the Hayward Hall fashion studios, Sheila Connelly, fashion design program director, talked about the many opportunities available to PhilaU students through industry partnerships, which can lead to internships and careers with major fashion firms and retailers such as Target. She also told the prospective students, “There are scholarship opportunities at every level.”
PhilaU’s fashion programs are ranked in the top 50 internationally by Fashionista. Graduates go on to careers at top companies, such as Nannette Lepore, Tommy Hilfiger and Vogue Magazine.
The annual student-produced Fashion Show showcases the best of each year’s creative student designs, attracting an audience of some 2,000 students and their families, faculty members, designers and fashion and apparel industry professionals.
For more information on fashion design, click here.
For more information on fashion merchandising and management, click here.