By Shelby Townsend
A new undergraduate degree in Fashion Merchandising has launched this fall. In the 129-credit degree program, students will complete a variety of classes that deal with a wide variety of the aspects in the fashion industry, while gaining out-of-classroom experience as well.
LIU Post first introduced a minor in Fashion Merchandising last spring, and it is the first university on Long Island to offer a four-year degree in Fashion Merchandising, according to adjunct professor Cherie Serota, who teaches the Introduction to the Fashion Industry and Business of Fashion Merchandising.
Professor Abby Dress, Director of the Public Relations program and the current director of the Fashion Merchandising program, said that the New York State Department of Education’s approval of the new program was much quicker than usual, accepting it only a few weeks after its submission rather than the typical three to six months.
Serota said that her classes have already doubled in size compared to last year’s classes when just a minor was offered.
LIU Post is utilizing its location to New York City and Americana Manhasset, the high-end shopping center, to help students gain valuable, out-of-classroom experience. For example, Serota said she likes to try to take her students to the city “at least once a semester to visit the hot exhibitions at the time,” so they can apply what they are learning in class to the real world of fashion.
Last semester Serota’s class visited Donegar Group, a fashion forecasting company in New York City, the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum, where they observed works by Yves Saint Laurent, and the Killer Heels Exhibit in Brooklyn that displayed high heels throughout history.
This semester, Serota plans to take her students to the Fashion Institute of Technology to look at different clothing through the centuries. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to hear, to see, to learn everything about the industry,” Serota said.
Monica Peralta, a junior who works at The Student Body on campus, immediately switched her major from Public Relations to Fashion Merchandising as soon as she got the opportunity. “There are so many career paths I can pursue, like entrepreneurship in fashion, social media consultant for a fashion company, or even a stylist,” Peralta said.
Peralta said her each of her professors has many years of experience in the fashion industry, so “they teach from real life experience and have connections that help all of their students.”
Serota was at Saks Fifth Avenue, working her way up from the retail-training program to eventually become the fashion director. She also worked at Henri Bendel as a special events director, and she built her own multi-million dollar women’s fashion company from the ground up.
Peralta said that she is excited to go to each class because they are all so different, ranging from math to business to the basic introduction course.
Although only three Fashion Merchandising classes are currently offered this semester, Dr. Barbara Fowles, Chair of the Media Arts Department, said “new courses will be rolled out each semester until there is a complete course of study for the major.