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

Bama fashion is in right now

From Project Runway to Say Yes to the Dress, the University of Alabama fashion program is headed toward stardom one student at a time.

This October, Rachel Wilkins, a senior majoring in fashion retail, will head to New York for an internship with the well-known reality television show Say Yes to the Dress.

While the show is aired in the fashion capitol of the world, Wilkins said she is looking forward to a lot more than pretty dresses.

“I am interested to see how the internship will work,” Wilkins said. “I’d like to have a better understanding of both sides of the business – the glamorous and the executive side.”

Wilkins explained that when she began looking for an internship, she wanted to choose the one that would be the most beneficial and interesting.

“I was given 12 interviews in New York and four in Atlanta,” Wilkins said. “I wanted to be realistic about jobs after my internship and I’ve always watched the show and loved it. New York is a place where I can make my dreams come true. It’s an opportunity that I don’t want to miss.

“I am not nervous at all because I learn quickly and adjust easily. The key is to adjust wherever you are.”

She said she found out about the internship through a research intern option, which led her to email Joan Roberts, the bridal manager from Say Yes to the Dress.

“She immediately emailed me back and offered me the internship in New York,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins is not the only UA student to land an internship with a high-end organization in New York City.

This summer, Caroline Jacoby, a senior majoring in fashion retail, was able to intern in New York City with Splendid and Ella Moss’ East Coast Wholesale team.

“I was able to really excel in this internship because of the course work I have completed so far,” Jacoby said. “This is a fast-pace, intense industry and I have been able to be successful thus far due to the courses and faculty members that have been exceptionally wonderful to me.”

She said the fashion program at the University makes an extra effort to help their students prepare for their future endeavors.

“The faculty and staff within the fashion program are wonderful in willingness and availability to help students in any way they can,” Jacoby said. “They offer classes specific to resume building, internship experience, and portfolio opportunities. The program is one of the smaller ones at the university, therefore creating a very close community amongst the faculty and students.”

Within the fashion program at the University, students can choose between two concentrations – fashion retail and apparel design.

“The fashion retail program focuses more on the business aspect of the industry,” said Shirley Foster, interim department head of the College of Human Environmental Sciences. “Students should seek a program that teaches merchandising mathematics with Microsoft Excel, requires marketing and business courses, and offers an internship program for students to gain valuable on-the-job experience.”

The second concentration, apparel design, is focused more on creativity.

“Apparel design students should look for an undergrad program that teaches construction as well as conceptual sketching and digital design,” Foster said. “Make sure you find a faculty with a wide range of age, experience, and scholarship. Creating apparel is so much more than fashion. Apparel is part of the material culture of our society and understanding the nature of ‘costume’ informs the best design, always.”

She said fashion is more than the reality shows make it seem.

“Understand that fashion design is serious business,” Foster said. “Ralph Lauren designed men’s ties when he started. He did not become a household name because he dressed well or lived in New York. He created ‘lifestyles’ with his design, which required an understanding of people and how they wanted to live. The reality shows make succeeding in fashion seem arbitrary, but it is hard work, dedication, as well as talent.”





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