Fashion Program at Baylor University Earns High Praise by Influential Fashion BlogJuly 19, 2011
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Baylor University's program for apparel merchandising, design and product development has been ranked among the country's 20 best fashion schools by Fashionista, an influential blog which focuses on trends, events, companies and personalities in the fashion world.
Fashionista weighed factors such as jobs procured, opinions of people in the fashion industry and standout program offerings, ranking Baylor 19th. The program is part of Baylor's department of family and consumer sciences.
"Thanks to some generous donors, Baylor has the largest collection of fashion design, merchandising, and product development software and technology of any university in North America, including a state-of-the-art fabric printer so students can easily make their own fabrics," Fashionista noted.
Dr. Lorynn Divita, associate professor in Baylor's department of family and consumer sciences, said that Fashionista's assessment reinforces comments she hears regularly.
"It's very important to note that they used a scale that included opinions of people in the industry," Divita said. "Wherever I go -- New York, Dallas, Houston, on any kind of a corporate visit -- I'm always told that Baylor alumni are the best."
One of Baylor's best-known fashion graduates is Jodi Arnold, who designed a collection for The Limited stores. She earned a bachelor's of science degree in 1988 in home economics in the field of fashion design.
Baylor is one of two U.S. universities to own a digital fabric printer, which handles 5-foot-wide bolts of cloth and produces accurate color reproduction and photographic imagery to show how patterns will appear on clothing. The $50,000 computer-aided design tool was provided though a donation by the Phil Parker family as well as funds from the department of fashion and consumer sciences and from the office of the dean of College of Arts and Sciences.
Students create their own designs and use printed fabric to cut, sew and produce them. The inkjet printer saves time because conventional methods require waiting for sample swatches of printed fabric to be returned from manufacturers, Divita said. It is environmentally friendly because no paint is wasted, unlike with traditional screen-printing methods, and it allows for greater creativity by students because "the number of color choices are infinite," she said.
Baylor also has a Rotowash industrial washing machine that replicates the effects of five cycles of a typical washing machine in one 30-minute cycle, which allows students to learn how various fabrics and colors react in terms of fading, "bleeding" colors, "pilling" and shrinkage, said Dr. Rinn Cloud, associate professor of family and consumer sciences and Mary Gibbs Jones Endowed Chair in Textile Sciences. The knowledge is vital for designers, buyers, manufacturers and retailers, she said.
Many Baylor fashion graduates are employed by major companies, among them J.C. Penney Co., Neiman Marcus, Fossil Watch, Academy, Pier 1, Jones New York, Dillard's and Macy's.
"Because of the close ties we foster with students while they are at Baylor, our alums want to give back to current students and will travel to Baylor to speak with them through our professional organization, Baylor Apparel Professionals (formerly called Fashion Group)," Divita said. "Our New York alums met with the students in my New York summer study tour in June when we were out, and they are always willing to help the department. We are so grateful for our alums. They are what makes the program so strong."
Adrienne Walker, a textile designer for Jones New York and a 2007 Baylor graduate, praised the fashion program as a well-rounded one. Although she earned her bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising, she was able to get a job in textile design because "we learned a bit of every part of the industry," she said. "You have more options and opportunities when you graduate."
Lijia Zevada-Quetz, account executive for Macy's in New York who earned her bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising from Baylor in 2007, considered several Texas universities before choosing Baylor.
"It was very hands-on, and every class had no more than 30 people," she said. "That was important, because I really wanted one-on-one. That distinguished Baylor. We were always very up to trend on topics, and it was very applicable to what I do now."
Contact: Terry Goodrich, Assistant Director of Media Communications, (254) 710-3321