Kathleen DiIorio, Alumna and Visiting Professor, M.B.A., returned home to Mount Ida in 2012 to teach about the secrets for success in the vibrant and creative industry of fashion merchandising and marketing. As a former student in the program, she was familiar with our small, close-knit community, so she decided to rejoin the college in a professional capacity. In the classroom, her focus is on management whether she’s talking about consumer behavior or fashion marketing.

Experience immersion

DiIorio’s own education was heavily influenced by her immersion in our art and design community. Her inspiring instructors shaped the career choices that she’s made from working in retail sales and customer services, to visual merchandising and design, to buying. She has held titles, such as Merchandise Coordinator, Marketing & Merchandising Manager, Associate Advertising & Promotion Director, Visual Designer, Development Coordinator, and Associate Buyer.

“Discovering what it is about Fashion Merchandising and Marketing that each individual student is compelled by can often become a focus as I often try foster learning in that particular area,” said DiIorio. “Ultimately, I hope my students walk away inspired, genuinely wanting to create something, to add value somewhere or to something with all of the knowledge that they’ve acquired.”

Following industry trends

In order to stay on top of different styles and techniques in fashion merchandising and marketing, DiIorio follows a number of online resources for fashion inspiration. She enjoys interactive social media sites, such as Pinterest, Tumblr, and Polyvore, as well as the fashion blog scene. Some of her favorite blogs include: The Sartorialist, Refinery29, and StyleList. However, she also continues to look at key fashion publications and local fashion events, exhibits, and shows. Recently, her students attended the Mario Testino Exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, representing one of fashion’s most sought-after photographers.

Mount Ida students may now study history and interdisciplinary studies, while exploring the rich diversity of American life from a variety of perspectives. From colonial America to Modern America, students receive a broad grounding in the study of the United States. Thanks to Steven Eames, Chair of the Department of History and Interdisciplinary Studies, Ph.D., students can learn about a variety of disciplines without the hassle of studying in two different departments.

Interdisciplinary training

“As much as I love history as a way of knowing about who we are today, I always believed that American studies was a better fit for our college because it provides more flexibility for students in a professional path than a traditional history major,” said Eames. “American Studies includes history, and many students are drawn to it because of an interest in that field, but it is much more.”

Endless career options

Professor Eames believes that American Studies provides a basis for many professional paths, such as secondary education and government, and is the perfect springboard for graduate work in law, history and political science. For instance, many of his graduates pursue teaching at the secondary level, and because of the major, there is flexibility to teach in more than one area.

Pursuit of history

“Since a very early age I have been a complete nut about history,” stated Eames. “I think the students appreciate the passion I bring to the subject. They all learn that history is not a bunch of dates, names, and events to memorize. History is a story about human beings.”

In addition to teaching history courses and interdisciplinary seminars, Eames pursues research and writing in history. His publications include a book on the community of Nahant, Massachusetts during the Civil War, and another book entitled Rustic Warriors: Warfare and the Provincial Soldier on the New England Frontier, 1689-1748.

Mount Ida College’s Fashion Design Program challenges the next generation of professionals to bring new technical skills to the industry as imaginative solutions are crucial now more than ever. With the latest state-of-the-art technologies in our studios, students have an advantage in the fast-paced world of fashion. Our professors teach you to question traditional industry practices with your own distinctive aesthetic sensibility. Your viewpoint matters and we are here to get you ready for successful careers.

Technical edge for graduation

“Besides creating sought after designs, students must be technically ready to enter the fashion industry,” said Phyllis Misite, Program Director and Professor, Ph.D. “Students learn industrial skills in pattern drafting and draping, as well as computer-aided design (CAD). Upon graduation, our students have the demonstrated knowledge necessary for employment since our program has more computer and technical production classes than any other in the region.”

Professor Misite’s passion lies in apparel computer applications and teaching online. In the past, she designed an online course for analog and digital portfolio development. In addition, her CAD courses allow fashion design majors to see how clothing will fit and move. Through utilizing Adobe Illustrator, Adobe PhotoShop and Gerber Garment Technology, pattern making is translated into computer manipulation to produce a tangible product.

Production experience on the catwalk

Outside of classes, students prepare for the Annual Fashion Show from the beginning of the fall semester to the end of the spring semester. All of their garments are juried by the Boston fashion community. To achieve acceptance into the show, juniors and seniors must demonstrate high quality designs and creativity. This process allows them to learn first-hand about what it takes to produce a large scale fashion show. At the end of the production, they also receive awards, including Most Creative, Best of Show, Best Ready-to-Wear and Best Use of Materials.