Discover: GSU Students are Fashion MAD

Photo Courtesy of Madeline Hite

Meg Elwood

The Fashion Merchandising Apparel Design program is another hidden gem in Georgia Southern’s massive list of majors.

“We prepare students for designing so they can be their own designers, design their own line. We have a lot of students who are in school right now and have their own lines as sort of a outside project,” said Beth Myers, FMAD Merchandising professor.

The fashion industry is very vast and can be integrated with many positions found in other majors. Fashion journalism, PR and styling are three other options necessary to the growth and function of the industry, but to become a main part of the business, one can take one of two paths: design or merchandising.

“On the design side, students are going to learn about the apparel construction and draping and pattern making. Not only how to make the clothes, but about the trends and fashion forecasting and really how to put a collection together,” said Myers.

Through this path, senior designers get a chance to live life in “Project Runway” style by bringing their very own designs to life on the runway. Senior students like Madeline Hite began designing at least three outfits last semester and are working hard for their debut in December.

“We have to have three designs, but I want to shoot for four. If we’re going to be showing them I want to have more,” said Hite.

The merchandising side prepares students to be buyers so they have the skills to take part of the market and “get the clothes to the store, purchasing clothes and planning store openings,” said Myers.

After finishing the program, some students venture off to work for Calvin Klein, Vogue or Jones New York in Los Angeles and New York City, while others decide to stay near Statesboro and work in Savannah or Atlanta.

Internships are the golden ticket to gain access to these jobs. Experience you gain in the internships always vary, you could be a simple coffee runner, but in most, students get the chance to gain hands-on experience from employees. When it comes to merchandising “many major retailers like Belk have a internship program where students are in the classroom learning part of the time and then they’re out working on the store floor as well,” said Myers.

If you’re interested in the program, try taking Apparel 1, a class all FMAD students take. This class gives you the basics to sewing techniques and information and you can meet people already in the major. Whichever path you take, you will learn how to “make it work.”