Auburn University remains one of the top schools in the region and country for fashion merchandising.
Nationally, Auburn is ranked second behind the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and www.fashion-schoo.org has named Auburn the top fashion merchandising school in the South.
This is the fourth year Auburn has earned the top spot in the region for fashion merchandising.
“It’s great to be recognized for all the efforts the faculty has put in,” said Dr. Wi-Suk Kwon, human sciences professor of retailing and the coordinator for apparel merchandising. “We put so much emphasis on making the curriculum and making sure the students are prepared for the real world.”
Kwon primarily teaches merchandising courses for both undergraduates and graduates and is the coordinator for the apparel merchandising program and the internship program.
Students are required to participate in a full-time semester internship, which can help them gain the experience they may need to set themselves apart in the industry said, Kwon.
“We encourage our students to engage with the industry as much as possible,” Kwon said. “Not only do we require them to obtain a full-time internship but we also highly encourage them to gain any kind of retail experience or to participate in mini-internships here and there so they can build their resumes.”
Many students have chosen to intern abroad. A student of the fashion program interned in Spain and another in London.
“We encourage them to find an internship that works for them,” Kwon said. “Students have found great success too, working in some of the most fashion-focused areas in the country like New York and Los Angeles.”
Kwon said what sets Auburn’s program apart from the rest is their faculty and the academic rigor they have instilled.
“Our faculty is very distinctive from other fashion programs because up until last year in the apparel merchandising department, we had almost 100% tenure-track faculty members,” Kwon said. “You can’t find that in a lot of schools.”
Kwon said the program takes deep care in recruiting faculty who are highly qualified which makes a lot of difference with the continuity of the program and how the courses are designed.
Along with the academic responsibilities students must take on in the program they have to focus their attention on keeping up to date with the fashion industry.
Auburn’s industry connections have grown tremendously over the years Kwon said.
“The last two years we have been happily focusing on building more industry connections because that becomes more and more important,” Kwon said. “We try to listen to what the industry says a lot and respond in the best way possible.”
Kwon said in the past industry members will come to campus looking for Auburn students specifically and sometimes companies will come together and compete for the students.
"We keep hearing the same positive feedback from our industry partners,” Kwon said.