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A spirit that is not afraid

A spotlight on apparel design majors

<p>A drawing of three people looking at clothing.&nbsp;</p>

A drawing of three people looking at clothing. 

When people think of Auburn University, fashion is not typically the first thing they think of, yet Auburn has one of the highest-ranked fashion programs in the nation.

Auburn offers two options within the apparel merchandising, design and production major: apparel merchandising and apparel design. Apparel design focuses on the designing of clothes, while the merchandising track focuses more on selling clothes.

The two options co-exist simultaneously, as students in both programs get to dabble in design and merchandising.

“At other fashion schools, you kind of have to pick a lane and stay in it," said Sophie Young, senior in apparel design. "Here, though, we do more overall learning. You get to learn more, and we work with a wider range of materials. We do computer design and hand illustration and so much more."

Young became interested in fashion at an early age when her grandmother taught her to sew, but she never thought she would be majoring in fashion. 

“I knew I wanted to do something creative when applying to colleges, but I didn’t think it was practical," Young said. "I applied to a bunch of business schools, but when I chose Auburn, I decided to see what all they had to offer. I thought fashion design sounded fun."

For Young, fashion is all about being able to create something. She enjoys the hands-on learning that the apparel design major offers. 

“I really like being able to design something,” Young said.

For others, fashion is a newly found interest.

“In high school, I started really getting into flashy streetwear," said Thomas Cherones, junior in apparel design. "I also got really into shoes, and then from there, I’ve just been really into fashion. I was originally an apparel merchandising major, but I switched about a year into the program to apparel design. I realized I wanted to make clothes.”

Cherones is one of few males in the apparel design major at Auburn. 

“I do wish there was more of a focus on menswear," Cherones said. "I really like menswear – I like tailoring, I like suiting, but there’s not enough of it to be the focus.

Both majors are required to intern before they graduate. Molly Webb, senior in apparel design, interned in New York and has a unique perspective on northern fashion versus southern fashion.

“People that live in major northern cities have an advantage based solely on their location," Webb said. "I think that that is probably the biggest difference that I noticed. Also, the amount of stores that we have to go shop for materials – we don’t have many. In Auburn, we only have a Hobby Lobby."

Webb also noticed that schools in the north that are known for their fashion, such as the Fashion Institute of Technology, have more funding for their programs than Auburn does. 

“Because Auburn is such an engineering and agricultural school, most of the financial support doesn’t come to us," Webb said. "I think we’re an underappreciated major. We have slightly fewer resources than schools up north."

Webb, Young and Cherones are all working together to design a collection for AMDP’s annual spring fashion show. 

“Our project is a collaboration between Schiaparelli and NASA," Young said regarding their project. "It’s kind of a crazy concept, but I think it’s really fun. Everyone in our group is pretty different, but we’ve all come to this agreement on something we’re happy with."

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The goal of the project is to assert the need for change on Earth, according to Webb. 

“I like to use the word ‘irreverent’ because we’re kinda making fun of hyper-rich people," Webb said. "We’re poking fun at the people who have the ability to make change on Earth but won’t."

Webb would like to work with luxury wear after graduation, while Cherones wants to design outdoor wear. Despite the group’s different fashion backgrounds, they knew they wanted their collection to do one thing: make a statement.

Sam Vise | Community Reporter

Sam Vise, junior in journalism, is the community reporter for The Auburn Plainsman.

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