Formerly located in the McAninch Arts Center, the program recently moved into its new home on the first floor of the Student Resource Center. With additional classroom space, better lighting and improved display areas, the space allows the program to show off its style while providing for enrollment growth.
"We now have more visibility on campus, and the students just love the new amenities," said Sharon Scalise, program coordinator. "We're also attracting more visitors, as people can walk down from the Bookstore and view our displays."
The Fashion Studies program provides courses to students interested in fashion illustration, textiles, clothing construction and fashion show production. Degrees are offered in Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising and Fashion Apparel Production, while students can earn one of four certificates.
Formerly a lounge area that was part of the College's Student Life program, the new space was renovated specifically for the Fashion Studies program. Three classrooms include a lecture room, a dedicated sewing lab and a textile design lab, each with a wall of windows that provides natural light. Looms that have been in storage for 10 years are set up in the textile design room for weaving and knitting classes.
"With two dedicated lab locations, we can continuously teach textile design courses and offer even more of them," Scalise said.
Outside of the classrooms is a hallway with three professional-grade showcases that give visual merchandising students hands-on experience while allowing other classes to display their creations. For example, when the space opened, the display in the large showcase featured work from the fall draping class. A second, smaller showcase displayed dresses made from coffee filters in the Design Principles in Apparel class. The windows currently promote the annual fashion show.
"We now can take student work and immediately highlight it in a way that incorporates a variety of fresh ideas," Scalise said. "The cases contain the same professional-level lighting that is found in actual retail store windows. The hallway also gives students more room to complete their projects, especially as they prepare for our annual fashion show."
The space also allows for expansion. For example, the new Fashion Apparel Production degree is the only one of its kind at a community college in the Midwest and features hands-on studio courses that focus on creating, producing and marketing a collection.
"Our entrepreneurship design students wanted to learn how to take a fashion collection to market and how to produce it on a large scale," Scalise said. "It's just one of our programs that is preparing students for rewarding, real-world careers. Visual merchandising is an area that is growing in job demand, and our students go to places such as Stratford Square as part of the program in order to hone their skills.
"Students come to us for a variety of reasons. Some have experience in fashion design and are pursuing a certificate. Others are new to the field and want a degree. Whatever the path, this new location provides us with unlimited opportunities to teach our students."
For more information about the Fashion Studies program, call (630) 942-2502, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.cod.edu/programs/fashion.