Kellie Jennings always knew she wanted to be a fashion designer. She would never be happy with the clothes her Barbie’s came with, so she would make new clothes for them out of scraps of cloth leftover from her mother’s sewing room. “I’ve really never wanted to do anything else. Some little girls want to be princesses or school teachers, but I knew from the beginning that I had to go into apparel merchandising,” said Jennings.
|After graduating from the AMDP, students have several career choices, such as:
The choice to come to Auburn University to study for her dream job was also a given. “My parents met at Auburn and my sister graduated from here, too. There was no question of where I would attend college, but it’s not just my family history that made the decision clear… Auburn has a fantastic design program.”
Cassy Flowers has a similar story, “I don’t think my dad would have let me go anywhere else, so it’s good that I already wanted to come here!”
Flowers and Jennings are both seniors getting their Bachelor of Science in Apparel Merchandising Design and Production Management. If you thought that getting a degree in fashion is easy, think again. With classes like Textile Industrial Complex and Global Sourcing in Textiles and Apparel, these AMDP majors have a lot on their sewing table.
Other than being ranked 13th in the nation among Apparel Merchandising programs, what’s really so great about Auburn’s design major? According to Jennings:
The thing I like most about Auburn’s design program is that we get to go out of the classroom and into the real world. For instance, two years ago, I go to study abroad in Italy for three months. While there, we got the chance to work with many Italian design houses, and I actually got to work with an Italian wedding dress designer Cairo Valentino. I was able to learn many aspects of the fashion industry, from the beginning of an idea to the end product.
At Auburn University, it is recognized that effective career preparation for the apparel and textile industry for future requires an understanding of the consumer-driven textile/apparel/retail complex, from textile fiber to design and production, to sourcing and merchandising. Through courses taught by faculty members who are experienced in the industry, students in the AMDP major gain this understanding, giving them an edge for success in whatever area of the apparel, textiles or accessories field they choose to enter.
Classroom learning is supplemented with field trips and speakers from the textile/apparel/retailing field. Speakers include corporate CEO’s, internationally recognized designers, product developers, store managers, merchandisers, and industry representatives. Optional study tours to Atlanta, New York, Italy and other areas of Europe provide students with a global perspective on international trade laws, fashion trends, and the impact of culture and economics on consumer preferences.
These “out-of-the-classroom” experiences are what makes Auburn’s program unique, and it is also what attracts students to the program. According to Flowers:
The teachers really prepare us for our future careers by taking time out of their schedules to take us on field trips to let us better understand the product and where they come from and how they’re created. This summer we actually were offered the chance to go to New York to learn more about the industry and see different companies and different jobs that are available in our major. We visited retailers such as Calvin Klein, Jones New York and Tommy Hilfiger. There we got to see the entire process, from how they picked out colors and swatches to how they picked out outfits they’ve created. We also got to see some of the showrooms. We also went to fashion forecasting show rooms to look at the books the designers give to different buyers. It was a great experience.
Auburn’s AMDP prepares them to take on any of these careers with ease.