Despite misconceptions, fashion degrees go beyond design

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Studying fashion in college can lead to many career opportunities after graduation, despite common misconceptions about the industry. Credit: Julianne Kerver I Lantern File Photos

Graduating can be daunting no matter what degree you earn, but with misunderstandings about the opportunities offered by a fashion degree, life after college can seem particularly uncertain for fashion students.

Caroline Farrell, a fourth year in marketing and fashion and retail studies, said that people sometimes have negative associations with fashion degrees, such as working a lot for low pay. However, the Ohio State Fashion and Retail Studies program is designed to prepare students for the industry through opportunities within the university and the chance to gain real-world experience prior to graduation.

“I think there’s definitely a stigma about being underpaid or, like, overworked in the fashion industry, and it’s also not a very sustainable industry,” Farrell said. “If it’s something you’re passionate about, it’s never a waste of time.”

Studying fashion in college can lead to a number of career opportunities after graduation, said Alexandra Suer, senior lecturer in fashion studies and retail. With a degree in fashion, students can choose from many different career paths, ranging from the design to the business side of the industry.

“With our program, in particular, merchandising, then becoming a merchant or a buyer, is probably the best,” said Suer. “A lot of them will likely fall into manufacturing and procurement roles, therefore doing a lot of logistics and costs of all product components. Finally, product development is where I can see a lot of them fall. “

For students interested in deepening their knowledge of the fashion business, adding a business or communication minor is a useful way to broaden their degree. Pete Rex, consultant manager at the College of Education and Human Ecology, said.

“Anytime you can add, you know, some additional academic experience in something like business, it will be useful,” Rex said. “It will be a good talking point during interviews and skills that can be used in the daily workforce. It’s definitely something that can grab someone’s attention as they are starting the early stages of their career. “

Graduating with a fashion bachelor’s degree from Ohio State requires an internship, and Rex said Columbus comfortably hosts large fashion companies, such as the Express fashion brand, where Suer previously worked, and small businesses and boutiques.

Making the most of student organizations while in college is also a good way to gain fashion experience and make connections, Suer said. Joining the Fashion Production Association at Ohio State while in graduate school encouraged her to change her career path from architecture to fashion.

“I, you know, ended up changing career paths. It was because of a student organization that really opened my eyes, “said Suer.” I think getting involved in student organizations is based on that network and is based on understanding who you are, your happiness and how you want it to be. be your future “.

Farrell said she recently accepted a job offer as a buyer assistant for Ross Dress For Less in New York City, which she said she was largely able to secure thanks to internships and networking she completed in college.

“I know it sounds like a clichéANDbut that’s the best way to get any job, ”Farrell said. “It really uses the guest speakers that come in as well. They are more than willing to help, and that’s how I got my internship for last summer. Also, the professors are so thoughtful that if you stay after class and talk to them, they too are very connected. “

Networking opens the door to new and unexpected opportunities, and Suer said that was why she was able to land a job as a colorist and textile technologist with Express.

“Building relationships and connecting with people can come back to really help you,” she said. “The retail world is much smaller than you might think. It starts to become a small family and the people all know each other. “

Suer said that despite the widespread belief that a fashion degree isn’t as useful or profitable as other fields, fashion students can earn competitive salaries after graduation, and the industry continues to grow.

“It’s a big, big industry, and I mean, a multi-billion dollar industry. This is not going away. Everyone needs to wear clothes. Everyone wants to feel good about themselves, “Suer said.” I think students who have this degree, the world is their oyster.

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