With Kent State opening back up in the fall, incoming freshmen expressed their excitement as they prepare to enter the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion.
Kiara Moore grew up in Chicago, Illinois and plans to attend Kent State in the fall as a fashion design student. In addition to majoring in fashion design, Moore plans to double minor in human resources as well as entrepreneurship.
Most students aren’t fortunate enough to know what they want to do as a career before entering college. Luckily for Moore, she said she knew being a fashion designer was something she wanted to be since the age of five.
As a child, her inspiration stemmed from popular fashion programs, because they were the only shows of interest to her.
“I grew up watching Kimora Lee Simmons, Naomi Campbell … all the fashion brands, 'America's Next Top Model' and 'Project Runway,'” Moore said. “Any fashion show or modeling show that you could name, I watched it growing up.”
Before starting college, Moore has managed to land an internship with a company called Legendaire by Blaire in Chicago.
At the internship, Moore would style clients, do social media outreach or go to the studio to unpack merchandise.
“I’m always working on a project for her,” Moore said. “It was an automatic connection for me to do something creative.”
In her free time, Moore said she often finds herself sketching, which she is most proud of. Specifically, the sketches she drew when she went to Ecuador last year.
“I enjoyed soaking up all the culture Ecuador had to offer,” Moore said. “It inspired my sketches in my work which was pretty cool to me.”
Another incoming freshman, Dal’Zhanay Curry, has also planned to major in fashion design. Curry has decided to minor in business as well.
After tossing around multiple different career paths, Curry decided to stick with fashion design because she wants to work for herself in the future. Curry said she also loves the expressions on customer's faces when they see a product that she designed.
“Sometimes people will see pictures of unique clothing online that they love and ask me to make it for them,” Curry said. “This helps challenge my creativity and keep me on my toes.”
One project that Curry is especially proud of is a pair of jeans that she made for one of her clients. For the pants, Curry took old bandanas and cut them into patches, then glued them on. After, she placed them in an array until she was happy with it.
“Since I don’t have a sewing machine, I had to be creative and come up with an alternative plan,” Curry said. “I ended up loving the finished product, and the person I made them for was in awe.”
With her creativity constantly being challenged, Curry hopes to learn valuable skills in the School of Fashion.
One of her goals as a freshman is to learn the basics of sewing as well as how to create a plethora of different clothing items.
“I can’t wait to learn how to sew,” Curry said. “I feel like once I learn that, I’ll be able to take any project on and create whatever I want.”
In early June, Kent State sent out a newsletter discussing the future for the students. In it, they said classes will be completely remote after Thanksgiving break.
As the fall semester approaches, Moore and Curry expressed some of their concerns as an incoming freshman to a major that is mostly hands-on.
“Doing finals online for a fashion student doesn’t seem to be the most ideal thing Kent State could do,” Moore said. “However, I love the major I chose, and wouldn’t let that interfere with my choice.”
Drexton Trantina, a senior design student at Kent State, shares some advice and insight on the program for incoming fashion freshmen.
Before attending the School of Fashion, Trantina did extensive research to make sure he chose the right major and school.
Once his freshman year started, he said he had fallen in love with Kent as well as their fashion program and knew he made the right choice.
“I had always been interested in fashion, but I wasn’t sure if it was a viable career choice for me,” Trantina said. “Once I started my freshman year at Kent, I fell in love and knew it was something I wanted to stick with.”
Throughout his years as a design student, Trantina said he has obtained valuable knowledge from the fashion program that he was ready to share with incoming freshmen.
When he first started, he had little to no knowledge of the basics needed to work in the fashion industry.
As time went on, he started to obtain the knowledge provided to him by professors and now is very familiar with most of the concepts. He suggests to all incoming freshmen to not be discouraged in the first few days.
“For a four-year program, I think Kent does a great job of creating a well-rounded fashion student in terms of sewing and construction knowledge as well as design and research development,” Trantina said. “I believe myself and my peers have grown exponentially because of this program.”
In terms of the program, Trantina said he encourages incoming freshmen to practice their craft on their own time so they can perfect it. In addition, Trantina suggests for students to seek out internship opportunities so they can expand their horizons and gain valuable knowledge on how the fashion industry works.
“Fashion design is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but if it’s something you’re passionate about and love, then no matter what, it will be worth it in the end.”
Andre Claudio covers fashion. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.