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Baylor: Family and Fabric

Dec. 18, 2009

From a very early age, some people just know their calling. Be it helping your mother cook and knowing you wanted to be a culinary master or catching your first football and knowing that you had to be a star athlete; some of us just have a greater force pushing us forward towards our destinies. Dr. Rochelle Brunson, a new lecturer in the Fashion Merchandising program, says that since she was a little girl she has known that she would be involved in the fashion and textile industry. The dream of working within the fashion world first emerged during afternoons spent at the Baylor Bookstore with her grandparents and now she has come full circle, back at Baylor and passing on her passion for her craft to her students.

"Both of my grandparents worked at the Baylor Bookstore when I was a little girl," said Dr. Brunson, "and I can remember pressing t-shirts and playing with all of the clothes when I went to the bookstore with them. I know it was spending that time with my grandparents and helping them with the clothing in the bookstore that first fostered my love for working within the clothing industry." Now having returned to Baylor, Dr. Brunson says she is eager to get her students involved with the university and to make new memories.

With close ties to the bookstore, Dr. Brunson decided it would be a great place for her students to begin applying their knowledge of merchandising to the real world. She had her fashion merchandising students design the window displays for the bookstore at the beginning of the year and again at homecoming. "My students are unique because they are involved with the fashion industry as both consumers and students" said Dr. Brunson, "They understand what sells better because they are the ones who would be buying it and how to showcase it because they have studied the necessary merchandising techniques."

The next step for Dr. Brunson and her fashion merchandising students is to continue working with the university and to begin working with different organizations and companies in the community. At the beginning of the semester, Dr. Brunson was contacted by Harley Davidson of Waco about a fashion show they would be putting on in early November. Dr. Brunson jumped on the opportunity and has been preparing her students to work in the quickly approaching fashion show. "We have been so busy since the beginning of the semester with class work, projects, and fashion shows," Dr. Brunson said, "but the Harley Davidson show will be something completely different and will give the students a great opportunity to work outside their comfort zone."

While most students usually graduate with only book knowledge about merchandising for companies and how fashion shows work, fashion merchandising students this semester have already had the opportunity the gain real world experience in both situations. Dr. Brunson also explained that while she loves teaching, she has really enjoyed being able to offer her students an introduction to "Real Working World 101". Hopefully with the experiences her students have gained from being at Baylor, they will leave inspired and well on their way to figuring out their callings. And maybe, someday a few will come full circle back to Baylor and be able to share their memories and inspire a whole new group of students just as Dr. Brunson did.