The future of fashion work
Jonathan Otero dreams of moving to Paris and finding work in the fashion industry.
“I’d like to live in Paris and learn the techniques of fine sewing, which is also known as haute coutre,” said Otero, Albright class of 2019.
A fashion design major who also has an interest in graphic design and photography, Otero, 23, has been drawn to fashion since he was a teenager.
“I had friends who got teen magazines and we’d sit and look at them together,” said Otero, who transferred to Albright from Harrisburg Area Community College in 2017. “Fashion has always been a part of my life.”
According to Doreen Burdalski, chair of the Fashion Department and an assistant professor of merchandising, Otero is well poised to realize his dream.
“There’s always a demand for people to work in the fashion industry, and our students get a lot of experiential learning, as well as classwork,” Burdalski said. “We have a lot of success stories from this department.”
The fashion program has always been popular, but became even more so after being named one of the top private fashion merchandising and fashion design schools in the country.
“That seems to have really put us on the map,” Burdalski said.
Highlights & Accolades
Albright has been named as one of the top schools for four years in a row by Fashion-Schools.org, a website that provides resources for students seeking information about college fashion programs.
In choosing, the website cited opportunities available to fashion students, including study abroad programs in fashion hubs such as France, Italy, the United Kingdom and South Korea. It also highlighted internship opportunities with prestigious companies and frequent trips to the fashion districts of New York City and Philadelphia.
“Students leave here with an understanding of what it really means to work in the fashion industry,” Burdalski said.
Highlights of the program are the annual design challenge, a Project Runway-type event in which students have a limited time to shop for fabric and produce an outfit, and the annual Spring Fashion Showcase, which highlights the work of senior fashion design students.
Otero’s three-piece collection of circle skirts and crop tops earned him a “best in show” designation in this year’s showcase.
Fashion students also each semester publish Fashion Lion, an award-winning magazine, and many are members of Club Vogue, a professional fashion student group that hosts fashion shows, resume workshops, alumni panels and guest speakers.
Fashion forward career path
Graduates have gone on to work for companies including Urban Outfitters, Under Armour, Lilly Pulitzer, Disney, Michael Kors and others. Albright also has strong partnerships with local businesses that offer internships and employment opportunities.
Students in the fashion program can major in costume design, fashion design, design and merchandising — or earn a fashion merchandising degree in three years. Many opt to co-major in fashion, combining it with a related curriculum, such as business.
“Fashion students have a lot of options, and that’s intentional,” said Burdalski. “We want them to be creative and think outside the box.”