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The Fashion School, An Ohio Center of Excellence



J. R. Campbell  Welcome to the Fashion School website!


The Fashion School is a great place.  The Ohio Board of Regents has endorsed the Fashion School as a "Center of Excellence" at Kent State University and in the State of Ohio.  As a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), we are also recognized as one of the top Fashion Schools in the United States.  We aspire to be the best American fashion school, by providing a comprehensive American university experience, a forward looking and rigorous curriculum in fashion, an aggressive approach to the use of digital technologies, and access to a broad range of international and study away experiences.

We have a large and excellent group of faculty and staff members in the Fashion School who are dedicated to our students' success!  The Kent State Fashion School faculty define fashion as "a unifying lens focused on creating, and investigating the  individual and collective phenomena of products and services that are related to the appearance, style, identity and behavior of consumers  within a visual culture." We believe the 'fashion lens' is distinct as a collective set of disciplines that impact how we see, act and create in our world.

The Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising was created at Kent State University in 1983 due to a generous gift from Rodgers and Silverman to the university.  Their gift of their entire collection of garments and designs also initiated the creation of the Kent State University Museum, and through their support the Museum and the Fashion School have been strong partners since their creation.  Here are a few of the Fashion School's successes that I like to brag about:

  • The Fashion School's mission is to serve a broad range of stakeholders including our students, advisory board, the State of Ohio tax-payers, and the textile and apparel industry by providing a recognized center for research and advancement within our field.  As such, in 2009 we created a concept that we have titled the "TechStyleLAB," which functions as a teaching/learning, research and commercial service environment.   The TechStyleLAB brings together a broad range of digital design and production technologies into one integrated space.   The TechStyleLAB has already received some initial funding to launch the concept, and is positioned to be important in bringing technology applications  into our  educational offerings.
  • The Fashion School is the sole disciplinary occupant of our building on campus, Rockwell Hall.  Within the building we also host the extensive June F. Mohler Fashion Library, housing a range of fashion resources, collections and subscription services for  students and faculty.  The Fashion Library is part of the Kent State University Library system. 
  • The Fashion School is symbiotically and architecturally linked to the American-Museum- Association-Accredited KSU Museum, which houses an exceptional collection of fashion items ranging from 17th Century gowns to contemporary designers' pieces. 
  • The Fashion School has its own satellite campus in New York City, in the heart of the Garment District, which allows for over 120 Fashion School students annually to study design and merchandising for a semester while participating in study tour visits to key fashion businesses in the city.
  • The Fashion School also sends about 45 students each Fall semester to study in our Florence Italy campus, which is housed in a 15th century palace (the Palazzo de Cerchi).  The Palazzo is within just a few minutes walking distance of the Duomo Cathedral in Florence and is in the heart of many luxury market retail brands such as Ferragamo and Prada.
  • We also have an exciting partnership with the Paris American Academy in France, in which our students can take KSU courses on the PAA campus near Luxembourg Gardens, studying with masters of couture fashion techniques and business.  In addition we partner with the Institute for Textiles and Clothing (ITC) at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to exchange as many as four students between our campuses each year.  Our students also regularly engage in fashion study opportunities in London, Milan and other European cities. These programs extend the experience of our undergraduates as well as the School of Fashion's recognition on a national and international level.  Our goal is to include these study away opportunities for our graduate students as well.
  • The Fashion School has an established Industry Advisory Board. These board members, which include designers, merchandisers, CEOs, and owners and presidents of a variety of fashion businesses volunteer to share their industry experience based on the belief in the quality and promise of our program.
  • The Fashion School has a large donor base and the highest amount of endowed scholarships (with an annually awarded total of over $56K) within Kent State University. This is a clear indication of external support from the community and industry for the education and service provided by the Fashion School.
  • In collaboration with the College of Business at KSU, an accelerated BS/MBA program was implemented in the Fashion School, allowing high-performing students to complete both the undergraduate and MBA degree in five years. Starting Fall of 2010, the Fashion School began offering graduate level courses in fashion theory, design management and fashion research methods as part of the professional MBA with a Fashion Concentration from the College of Business.
  • Our undergraduate program graduates approximately 200 students a year in fashion merchandising and design, with a placement rate in the industry that is still over 90%

These are just SOME of the reasons that the Fashion School at Kent State is so great.  I hope you will visit us and find out more.

 - J.R. Campbell