By Natalie Hoelzel
Fashion Week is among the biggest fashion events in the world, and Megan Wagner, a Youngstown State
University graduate, landed herself in the middle of it.
Wagner graduated from YSU in 2008 with a degree in Fashion Merchandising. After graduation, she was hired as an intern for Bill Blass, a fashion company whose fashions were often seen on Nancy Reagan and Lynn Wyatt.
Wagner’s job during Fashion Week was to make sure the brand’s models were dressed properly for their strut down the runway. With an average of 125,000 people gathered in Manhattan, New York to view the new fashions, Wagner said she felt the pressure to achieve perfection.
“You really are forced to learn time management, along with being attentive,” Wagner said. “I had to constantly pay attention to what I was doing and make sure I did everything right the first time around. Although it was exciting to be a part of it, it is hard to take everything in while making sure all my duties were fulfilled properly.”
Priscilla Gitimu, the coordinator for the fashion and interiors merchandising program, said that Wagner has worked incredibly hard to bring her love for fashion to life.
“Megan’s love for fashion was more than obvious,” Gitimu said. “It’s inspiring to find what you love to do and go after it.”
Gitimu and Tacibaht Turel, associate professor of fashion and interior merchandising, have worked together to bring a more positive learning environment to YSU when it comes to fashion and its inner workings.
“Our fashion department represents good, healthy bodies and how to take care of them,” Gitimu said. “The fashion world is full of underlying statements such as how skinny you need to be or how you have to dress to fit in, but YSU’s program increases more positive energy. It teaches students to love the body they have and rock it.”
Students can pursue a major or minor in fashion and interiors merchandising from the department of human ecology in the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services.
All students in the program are required to complete an internship before graduation. Internships can range from working at a retail store nearby to, in Wagner’s case, working with designers and brands in New York’s Fashion Week.
After graduation, students have found jobs as fashion coordinators, wardrobe or image consultants, sales representatives, store or boutique managers, and marketing or retailing managers, as well as many more.
Turel said that the Fashion programs at YSU not only teach its students the business side of the industry, but also the creative aspects.
“We mostly teach about the business aspects of fashion, such as merchandising management or the technical aspects of textiles. Most of our classes don’t have a design focus … but I’m amazed with some of the incredible products our students produce,” Turel said. “I love the creativity students bring to class. Courses … have very long lab hours, but time goes quickly when students [love what they do].”