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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA revamps minor to focus on fashion, retail

Colin Prenger
Colin Prenger / Daily Wildcat Amy Jesionowski, owner of Collette, a clothing boutique on Univeristy, discussed the new fashion minor that will be offered this upcoming summer session at the UA. Jesionowski is a UA graduate and said her clothing store is steadily growing.

Trendy UA students might be able to turn their love for fashion into a degree with a proposed minor.

The fashion and consumers minor, if approved by the UA, will start this summer with online courses that deal with fashion economics and research through the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences with the help of the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing.

“We have a lot of retailing students as well as family study students who, through the advising process, indicated that they would be interested if we ever offered some sort of fashion option,” said Anita Bhappu, an associate professor of family and consumer sciences and division chair for the retailing and consumer sciences minor. “We currently don’t offer any sort of fashion-based curriculum within the retailing program.”

The fashion and consumers minor will be an updated version of the current family and consumer sciences minor, which provides outreach classes to students online.

“We are modifying the courses set under the current minor,” Bhappu said. “We are taking an existing minor and focusing it on fashion.”

The school received $40,000 in grant funding from the UA to begin the development of more online outreach education. The school plans on using this money to begin its fashion and consumers minor with the goal of possibly expanding in the future.

“It is a great opportunity for anyone in the retail department or anyone wanting to pursue a career in fashion or anything related to the industry,” said Monica Vincent, a senior studying family studies and human development. “It’s a huge industry, people are always going to be shopping and caring about how they look because it is a representation about themselves.”

Amy Jesionowski, co-owner and manager of Collette, a clothing store on University Boulevard, said she decided to go into fashion retail after owning an antique store by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

“My sister-in-law started a Collette by Purdue and wanted to see if her concept would travel,” Jesionowski said. “I was looking for something new to pursue and thought it was a good idea. It was a leap of faith picking this location but I’m happy with the traffic I get with the students and parents.”

Since opening the store’s doors in January 2011, Jesionowski has been stocking shelves with clothing trends that are vintage-inspired. Though she has never received any formal training in fashion merchandising, Jesionowski said she would have benefited from taking fashion-related courses during her education. She said part of showing an interest in fashion is understanding how the industry works, something that is not always stressed to aspiring fashionistas.

“I don’t think creativity always translates to a good business mind. You have to have more than one person involved so you have those two sides of the equation, or you have to find that unique person who can do both,” Jesionowski said. “It needs to make financial sense for it to work.”

Students who are interested in learning more about the developments of the fashion and consumers minor can sign up for its Listserv through Family and Consumer Sciences. Bhappu said 70 students have signed up for the Listserv, surpassing the projected 50. If approved, the minor will only be open to take online and during summer sessions for the next two years.

“For me, I think taking the classes online during the summer would not have been a problem,” said Dishae Sanchez, a senior studying retailing and consumer science. “Because they are online, it would have been easy to have a work schedule or an internship and still take those classes.”

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