Brenau University Fashion Programs Receive National Recognition

A model wearing an outtfit from Brenau fashion merchandising student Candice Jenkins' line 'Freedom' stirkes a pose at the end of the catwalk in the historic Pearce Auditorium on Brenau University's Gainesville campus.

A model wearing an outfit from Brenau fashion merchandising student Candice Jenkins’ line ‘Freedom’ strikes a pose at the end of the catwalk in the historic Pearce Auditorium on Brenau University’s Gainesville campus.

Fashion-Schools.org, the national online clearing house for information about colleges and universities for students interested in fashion industry careers named Brenau No. 67 in the nation in fashion merchandising and No. 75 in fashion design in its recently published issue listing the Top Fashion Schools in the United States.

Also, Education-Portal.com cited Brenau’s fashion merchandising program in the Top 20 listing of the Top Fashion Marketing College in the country. Only two other Georgia institutions, the University of Georgia and Savannah College of Art and Design, made the list.

Fashion-Schools.org stated that its goal for publishing the list was to provide fashion design and merchandising students with “a starting point” for identifying programs of interest by applying some subjective criteria for evaluating those programs. The publication considered more than 200 schools in the United States that offer fashion programs.

Its selection criteria included academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of the program and faculty, and geographic location – the latter of which, the editors conceded, showed heavily toward schools located in New York, Los Angeles and other “fashion meccas” in the country where students have networking opportunities to top professionals in the field and enormous internship opportunities in the profession.

Still, said Lori Gann-Smith, the fashion design program director at Brenau, this is significant recognition for the university.

“We are competing with everyone in the United States that has these kinds of programs, even the ‘big guys,’” she said. “This means we are on the map.”

Fashion-Schools.org provides information on fashion schools that have proven to provide excellent career preparation for fashion careers listed. On its site prospective students can review curriculum and degree information, and request information directly from the schools in its network.

The organization did feel compelled to elaborate on its criteria for making the top 50 selection.

From left, Junjun Tong who showed her line Motion & Memory, Candice Jenkins displayed Freedom and Amanda Maddox showed her collection Gehenna during the 2013 Brenau Collaborative Fashion Show.

From left, Junjun Tong who showed her line Motion & Memory, Candice Jenkins displayed Freedom and Amanda Maddox showed her collection Gehenna during the 2013 Brenau Collaborative Fashion Show.

“As we researched schools and spoke with working professionals in the industry, it became increasingly evident that the location of a school matters in the fashion industry, perhaps even more so than in many other professions,” the publication said on its website. “For example, students who attend school in a fashion mecca such as New York City, or to a lesser extent in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Chicago (to name but a few), often have a distinct advantage over students in other parts of the country in terms of networking opportunities, internships, and career specific part-time work.”

That, however, does not mean that to succeed students must attend one of these schools, Fashion-Schools.org said.

Education-portal.com indicated it based its selection on the breadth of the program offered.

Education-portal.com is a leading online resource for students and professionals looking for information about colleges, degree programs, and general career information.

Karen Garbow, assistant professor and director of Brenau’s fashion merchandising program, said the site is highly regarded as authoritative and nonbiased in its approach to present higher education and career planning information for students and professionals in the field.

“I have been impressed by their research and by their detailed articles” on fashion merchandising, which Education-portal.com calls fashion marketing, Garbow said. “They seem to focus on curriculum, career preparation and recognitions [of the higher education institution] by other organizations like U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review,” both of which list Brenau as one of the top universities in the Southeast.

“A program in fashion marketing,” the Education-portal.com states on its Website, “focuses on the relationship between fashion trends and how they are sold to the consumer. Students learn about target markets, business results and strategies in order to meet consumer demand. Courses often cover the basics of fashion and textiles, merchandise planning and finance. Graduates can work in retail buying, management, fashion consulting, advertising, product design and merchandising for apparel manufacturers.”

The fashion design program at Brenau leads to a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and the and fashion merchandising program to a Bachelor of Arts degree.

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