Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Fashion, interior design students study abroad


Fashion and interior design students experienced the Italian culture this summer while studying abroad and used newfound international inspiration for their designs.

Madeline Johnson, a senior majoring in fashion design, said she enjoyed learning about the Italian experience and getting to change up her style once she returned to the United States.

“My style has actually changed since I’ve been [back],” Johnson said. “I used to be more classic and a little preppy, but now I’m more into graphic prints, layering, and, of course, I wear more black.”

Johnson said the students lived in apartments throughout the city instead of dorms, which made it seem authentic. She said students took six credit hours – a design writing class and history of Italian fashion. They took excursions to different fashion museums, and Johnson said she wants to live in Europe after she graduates.

“One of my favorite field trips we went to was the Gucci museum,” Johnson said. “It was so awesome to be in Florence because many Italian designers are actually based there like Gucci, [Salvatore] Ferragamo and [Roberto] Cavalli.”

Lindsey Sway, a junior majoring in interior design, was able to expand her knowledge of interior design practice by immersing herself in the lifestyle of the Italian community. She said she enjoyed observing how they lived and what they value in their lives.

“The main take away for me as a designer is how they value quality over quantity,” Sway said. “As interior designers, it is important to understand what your clients need and want and to recognize they may not always want what you expect.”

Sway said she would like to work in commercial design upon graduation, specifically in the hospitality industry designing hotels, restaurants, and bars. She does not plan on moving abroad full time, but she would like to work for a firm that has international projects to allow her to return to Europe for business on a regular basis.

The students had a show that was on display in Doster Hall after their trip. It included pictures and projects they finished while abroad.

Sway said walking around Florence and seeing the big designer stores with their newest designs was a constant source of inspiration.

Casey Faulkner, an interior design instructor, said 14 students went on the trip – 10 interior design majors and four fashion design majors. Faulkner said they went on day trips to Siena and the Chianti region with their host institution, Santa Reparata International School of Art.

“They each got to experience living in Florence and visiting museums, cathedrals and participating in cultural experiences like cooking class and wine and cheese tasting,” Faulkner said. “We also traveled on the weekends to Milan, Venice and Rome.”

Faulkner said there will be a study trip to New York for interior design students during interim in May 2014 and the fashion retail faculty is working on a trip to China for summer 2014. They will return to Italy for another monthlong study abroad trip in summer 2015.

Faulkner said ultimately, the hope is that students will absorb the Italian culture and the passion with which they approach every area of life and it will be reflected in the designs students produce in the future.


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