The Boston Center for the Arts was filled with hundreds of cheering audience members for fashion design students’ Annual Fashion Show, “Manipulation.” After preparing for months on end, the show debuted on May 4, 2013 with one-of-a-kind pieces radiating down the runway. From bright-eyed juniors to seasoned seniors, all students were eager to share their many talents with the Boston community.

“Breaking the Rules of Fashion”

“For our 25th Annual Fashion Show, we gave audiences a taste of the past with a flavor for the future,” said Phyllis Misite, PH.D. “As always, our fashion design students revealed their style visions, but there was a twist on production and fashion design. In 2013, we broke all of the rules, especially with clothing construction. Students changed fabrics to challenge the impact of visual norms. On top of that, Fashion Merchandising and Marketing and Graphic Design majors helped with the promotion of the event.”

A Glimpse into the Fashion Industry

For our fashion designers seniors, the student-run event provided a glimpse into the glamorous and ever-changing world of fashion. Approximately 40 student fashion designers showed off their work to a panel of apparel industry jurists who are well known from the Boston fashion community. The student awards winners are below:

  • Most Creative Single Concept
  • Best Use of Materials
  • Best Ready-to-Wear Collection
  • Best in Show

Preparation for Fashion Design Career

“I always knew that I wanted to go to a small school close to my hometown of Melrose, MA. When I visited Mount Ida on a tour, I was drawn to the supportive environment with professors who are eager to see you succeed. They truly care about helping students become the best fashion designers they can be, which pushes me to create finished products that they will remember for years to come,” said Lizz Stepchin ’13.

When Jackie Levy ’01 came to Mount Ida, she knew that she wanted to work with animals in some capacity. Now, Levy has found her niche at the VCA South Shore Animal Hospital in Weymouth, Massachusetts where she is employed as a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) and Certified Canine Rehab Practitioner (CCRP).

Classroom to career

Levy came to Mount Ida to complete her associate degree for vet tech, while working full-time in the field. Through balancing her coursework and career, she was able to maximize her learning experience outside of the classroom with applying real-world skills to her studies. As a result of spending the first eight years of her vet tech career at VCA Roberts Animal Hospital, she had the chance to do everything from reception to surgical tech to hospital management.

“Mount Ida gave me the foundation and experience I needed to become proficient as a vet tech,” said Levy. “Being an alumna means that I invested in my education and training so that I am able to develop my skills to the fullest. Ultimately, I see myself in a teaching position in the veterinary field.”

Deciding next moves

In 2010, Levy decided to go back to college to obtain her bachelor’s degree in vet tech. She found that continuing her education created opportunities for new interests. It helped her make the move to South Shore Animal Hospital full-time in 2012 to support their rehab program and management team.

“Don’t be complacent – challenge yourself and make sure you always have goals and things you want to learn,” stated Levy. “My proudest accomplishment has been my ability to practice in all my areas of interest. In addition to being a CVT, I am also a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) and CCRP, so I have been able to develop skills associated with special interests like behavior and rehabilitation.”

Fashion Merchandising and Marketing alumna Justine Lemoine ’08 had a longtime dream of working in e-commerce for the retail industry. Today, she is the Manager of Merchandise Programming at Rue La La, an exclusive online community that offers premier-brand sales from their online boutique, headquartered in Boston. Before landing her current gig, Lemoine also worked at The TJX Companies, Inc., Talbots, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Balancing Business & Design

“The professors I had with real-life retail experience were a true inspiration for jumpstarting my career path,” stated Lemoine. “The balance of design and business classes within the Fashion Merchandising and Marketing program has definitely helped me excel in the analysis portion of my job, as well as the creative side of the position.”

As a Manager of Merchandise Programming, Lemoine is responsible for running the company’s residual inventory by collaborating with event production, merchandising and planning to create various events on the website. From her previous on-campus involvement in the Student Merchandisers and Marketers Association; she learned how to stay up-to-date on current fashion events and was exposed to other industry professionals.

Advice to New Graduates

“Have the drive and ambition to use the tools Mount Ida has provided you with, so you can get where you need to go,” added Lemoine. “Networking is a key element and it’s never too early to start making connections. Take the time at Mount Ida to get to know your professors and peers on a professional level because it’s always helpful to have an advocate when job searching.”

Lemoine’s proudest accomplishment at our college was receiving the Dorothea Taylor Memorial Award for History of Fashion and Costume during Senior Week. She is passionate about the fashion topic, which applies to her position. In the future, Lemoine hopes to continue working in the e-commerce side of retail and plans to grow her career to the executive level.