Kent State Fashion Faculty and Students Featured in WWD Article
Several students and faculty from the Kent State University School of Fashion were featured in the WWD article from May 15, 2020 discussing the class of 2020 fashion graduates pivot in a post-pandemic future in the fashion industry. Students and faculty from some of the most prominent fashion programs in the country were interviewed and featured in the three-part editorial series.
COVID-19 has been particularly tough on college students studying in the fashion industry. Senior collections had to be completed in the student’s homes studios and showcased virtually, while in-person graduation ceremonies have been pushed to later dates or canceled altogether.
FROM THE ARTICLE
Kent State University’s spring graduation ceremony pivoted to an online experience held May 9, during which Kent State’s president Todd Diacon, interim senior vice president and provost Melody Tankersly, and college and campus deans spoke. Each graduating senior received individual name recognition and participated in the conferral of their degree. Each student was mailed a gradation package, which included a cap/ mortar board, tassel, alumni pin, diploma cover and more. All spring 2020 Kent State graduates will be invited back to campus for commencement when it has been deemed safe to do so. The School of Fashion’s Annual Fashion Show also went on. Back in March, after it was announced that Kent State’s campus would be closed and students were sent home to finish their classes remotely, they pivoted to a virtual show they called “Fashion Show 2.0.” Students made final tweaks to their garments in their at-home makeshift studios and held at-home photo shoots in backyards and against brick walls, tree limbs and fences. Then, the senior merchandising team took those creations and turned them into a digital experience featuring more than 100 pieces by 45 students that launched online on April 24.
Career counseling has continued digitally, with the internship team meeting with students daily via Zoom and chatting over the phone to offer career counseling and guidance. Some students have been able to secure remote internships, but because many summer internships have been postponed or canceled altogether due to the uncertainty in the fashion industry, many students have been offered full-time jobs once offices reopen. Academic advisers have also been available daily for remote counseling.
“I think the best way to get through this uncertainty is to keep an open mind. Yes, it’s a rough time for all of us in the industry, but if we take a step back and work together we can get through this. The fashion industry is ever-changing and now is the time to look at how everyone involved can make a difference. This is just one hurdle that myself and my peers will experience. And after, we will see that the world can take a better approach in a slower fashion — along with taking life in a more positive direction and thinking about our family and friends more than our material possessions. Just keep your head up!”
— Zachary Tatoczenko, fashion design senior, B.F.A.
“To answer this question, let me get all of the clichés out of the way first. It’s all going to be OK. We’ll get through this together. It may be hard now but you’ll come out on the other end stronger. Now let’s get real. Before this pandemic began, I was already having a rough year personally, so when all of this happened it kind of felt like I was in a minefield where no matter which way I turned everything kept blowing up in my face. I quickly realized though that everything that had happened to me this year was something I could use to my advantage. One of the most insightful things someone ever told me about the fashion industry is to never stop working. If you aren’t in your desired field of work and you’re still job searching, don’t stop designing, don’t stop paying attention to trends, don’t stop whatever it is that your employer would want to see, because what they want to see is that you still have the skills and the knowledge to do your job and to do it well. So do this. Use the age we live in, to your advantage. Yes, companies may no longer be hiring, and yes, you may have to move home and live with your parents, but that shouldn’t deter you from following your dreams. Use the time you now have to boost your portfolio, work on new projects, increase your online presence or even just to create an Instagram to display your work, anything helps. You never know who may stumble on your feed or your web site (or who may receive an unsolicited email that you sent with your portfolio attached). Use this time to create your own opportunities, don’t just wait for one to come to you, because once you overcome the obstacles that you’ve put in your own way, there should be no one and nothing to stop you from following your dream.”
— Isabella Diorio, fashion design senior, B.F.A.
“Everyone in the nation is facing similar challenges and coming to terms with a new normal in modern times. When you are applying for jobs in the near future, use this experience as an opportunity to highlight your adaptability and creativity on how to overcome these challenges to complete your degree and showcase your work in an innovative way. Take this time to challenge yourself to think outside the box!”
— Chanjuan Chen, assistant professor, Kent State University School of Fashion
“Fashion voices are needed now more than ever! Opportunities for innovation abound despite the obvious obstacles associated with the current crisis. The intimacy of fashion need not be compromised, for example, but can be reconsidered via virtual interfaces. In addition to providing access to new market segments, online Zooming invites emerging designers to tend to an almost microscopic scale of craft and detail. Curation, performance and choreography are also being transformed.”
— Sue Hershberger Yoder, assistant professor, Kent State University School of Fashion
Kent State students, faculty and staff may access a free subscription via the Kent State Fashion Library by logging in with their KSU FlashLine credentials.
LOOK 1: A look from Isabella Diorio's Best in Show award-winning collection in Fashion Show 2.0. Photo by Emily Warfield.
LOOK 2: Two looks from Zachary Tatoczenko's collection. His collection won the Sportwear Award during the Kent State School of Fashion's Fashion Show 2.0. Photo by Gabriella Kingston.