Think of where fashion flourishes and big cities like Paris, Milan, London, and New York come to mind.
Now add Blacksburg to that list as Virginia Tech’s apparel program has been ranked 15th in the world by Fashion-Schools.org. The status is based on the quality of programs offered, job and internship placements, industry reputation, teaching facilities, and tuition costs.
“Our faculty, students, and alumni are outstanding and it is wonderful that the apparel program has been recognized accordingly,” said Julia Beamish, professor and chair of the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
Students in Virginia Tech’s apparel program concentrate their studies in an option called “Apparel Product Development and Merchandising Management.”
“Our program is designed to give students the best preparation for a wide range of positions,” said Doris Kincade, who serves as professor, area leader, and career advisor in the department. “We provide students with information and skill sets in both the design and product development arena as well as in the business and merchandising side. Successful businesses now need employees with well-honed abilities in both aspects of the industry. Recent alumni have said that the courses they take in our program are right on target.”
Courses in the option include textile evaluation, apparel production, multichannel retailing, merchandising strategies, global apparel production and trade, small business management, apparel quality, and clothing behavior. Fashion-Schools.org notes that the program focuses on new technologies and consumer-centric industry information “ensuring that students get a well-rounded education.”
Students have opportunities to engage in undergraduate research and internship experiences with recent placements including Kenneth Cole, Seventeen Magazine, The Limited, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Macy's, and Oscar de la Renta. They can also study abroad in major academic programs around the world or engage in international and domestic field-study experiences. Select courses incorporate components from the Oris Glisson History Costume and Textile Collection, an integral resource in the apparel program at Virginia Tech.
“Another important aspect of the undergraduate experience is student participation in the Fashion Merchandising and Design Society, the undergraduate organization for apparel students,” said LuAnn Gaskill, professor and the group’s advisor. “The group’s annual highlights include the student-produced fashion show and the spring gala.”
Jessie Chen-Yu, Jihyun Kim, and Marjorie Norton also provide faculty leadership in the program with strong support from staff members Peggy Quesenberry and Janet Wimmer.