Fashion is the vehicle people use to express who they are and who they would like to be. Today, the ever-changing world of fashion is one of the greatest economic forces in the world and the fashion industry provides careers for millions of individuals in design, manufacturing, retailing, marketing, advertising, publishing and many auxiliary services. It is both creative and scientific, with careers at every point in between.
During this exciting three-week course students will try on many roles including fashion designer, stylist, product development specialist, buyer, and fashion show director. One half of the course work focuses on the business side of fashion and the other half focuses upon design. Culmination of the program includes creation of garments and a fashion show staged and produced by participants. Participants also learn how to publicize the fashion show and to create the program.
Each day of the three-week session will start with a morning of merchandising. Students will learn about the various segments of the fashion business and about possible careers in the fashion industry. Activities will include a product development project; creation of an inspiration board; and organizing, producing, and promoting the fashion show to be held on the last day of the Intensive. Students will have an opportunity to learn about the business side of fashion and how merchandisers contribute to the world of fashion through, not only their creativity, but also their abilities to plan, analyze, and operate as leaders in the fashion industry. Students will have an opportunity to explore their own desires to become fashion industry leaders and executives.
In the afternoon of each day, students will learn about design and design principles. Activities will include the creation of a garment to be worn in the fashion show.
Holly Price Alford is a professor in the Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She holds degrees from UVA, FIT, and VCU in Fashion Design and in Costume Design. She teaches twentieth-century clothing history and technical design techniques at VCU. As a designer and patternmaker, she has designed evening and bridal wear for the past fifteen years. She has been commissioned by several social organizations, such as the Levinson Foundation for Heart Disease’s annual ball, as well as retail stores throughout the Virginia area, such as Short Pump Mall. As a costume designer, she has worked on such critically acclaimed plays as “Angels in America,” “A Few Good Men,” and “Two Trains Running.”
Alford has made numerous presentations locally on fashion history at schools and various state and local organizations. Her passion, however, is research in African American clothing, textiles, and styles. She has been passionate about the study and knowledge of African American clothing and styles since she was a child. Her passion has led her to become a well known facilitator of knowledge about African American styles and clothing. She has done presentations of her research nationally and internationally, as far away as Denmark and Australia. Her article entitled “The Zoot Suit: Its History and Influence” was published in the prestigious Journal of Fashion Theory by Berg Publishers in London. She serves as a consultant for local-area newspapers, including the Richmond Times Dispatch, on fashion-related articles requiring historical and factual verification. She was interviewed by the British Broadway Corporation (BBC) for its news series on how hip-hop influenced American youth to expose their underwear. Her knowledge of clothing history led her to become an active member of the top organizations dealing with textiles and design, such as The Costume Society of America and The International Textile Association. Her knowledge of construction and clothing history has presented her with invitations to hold and judge a variety of contests. For example, she was a first-round national judge in the prestigious “Air France”/Arts of Fashion competition.
Rosalie Jackson Regni joined the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia in January 2002 after completing a distinguished 30-year career in retailing and manufacturing in New York City. She holds a degree in Fashion Merchandising from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and began her career at the J.C. Penney Corporate Office in Manhattan. Following her 15-year tenure there, she became Divisional Merchandise Manager and then General Merchandise Manager at Montgomery Ward. She then spent 12 years in the manufacturing side of the fashion business, including a stint as President of the Sanmark Division of the Movie Star Corporation.
Just prior to joining the faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University, Ms. Regni spent six years as Vice President of Sales for Character, Inc., a worldwide manufacturer of ladies’ sleepwear with headquarters in New York City. During her career, she traveled extensively thorough out the United States, Far East, and Europe doing trend research, product development and international negotiations.
As professor of merchandising at Virginia Commonwealth University, she teaches classes in Fashion Forecasting, Product Development, Senior Seminar and Advanced Store Development, a class which simulates the process of opening a new small apparel store from business plan to turn-key development.
Regni has delivered several papers since joining Virginia Commonwealth University, including one at an international conference in Australia in July 2002, one in London in 2004, and another in Hawaii in 2006. She is the co-author (with Karen Guthrie, Department Chair) of a textbook for Fairchild publications: Perry’s Department Store: a Product Development Simulation. She is currently working on her second textbook, whose subject is Retail Entrepreneurship.