by Michell Wamego
Just last week Clary Sage College students and several faculty members from the Fashion Design department attended the Dallas Career Day hosted by the Fashion Group International of Dallas, Inc.
For over 40 years the annual Dallas Career Day event has been inspiring for young designers, but also provides career opportunities and insights; hands-on access to companies offering internships and entry-level jobs; interaction with industry leaders, mentors and role models; and most importantly merchandising and design competitions with cash awards and scholarships.
One of the workshop capsules attended by several of our students was Fashion Illustration hosted by Geoffrey Henning. Henning is the Divisional Vice President of Women’s Design at J.C. Penny Co., and has spent his entire career as a fashion designer, illustrator, and visual designer. He shared with the group his story of his career, and background in school. He told them what kinds of skills he looks for in applicants and during interviews. Many students took advantage of the opportunity to ask questions for feedback which can directly affect their potential at getting hired. Mr. Henning shared many of his original works with the group, tips on how he goes about illustrating and working out designs, and even gave a quick demonstration with watercolor and marker renderings.
Levi Palmer was the Lunch Keynote speaker for the Day. Levi was a former winner of the Best in Show at Dallas Career Day 2003. He currently has a very successful custom design shirt company with partner Matthew Harding, called palmer//harding, which launched in 2011. The company’s collections have been seen in the pages of American, British, and Italian Vogue, Harper’s Bazzar, Elle, Marie Claire, and many others. They even designed the official Olympics flag bearer’s shirts for the 2012 Olympics opening ceremonies. His story of starting right where so many of the student today are sitting and what has happened to him in just 10 short years was amazing and incredibly inspiring to many there. He was so open and accessible, he was seen for over an hour taking the time to meet and take photos with so many students. In fact one of our very own Clary Sage College students just came out and asked him for an internship opportunity, Levi said absolutely there are opportunities and the planning is in the works!
Several Clary Sage Fashion students submitted their design works for the design competitions. There are over more than 550 entries in all categories combined and less than 200 will ever make the runway show. We had several of our student’s designs accepted into the show; Mariano Meza’s Red evening gown, Julie Schafer’s men’s wear ensemble, and Lakeshia Freeman’s re purposed denim jacket was on display. We are so proud of all our students that worked very hard and accepted the challenge to push themselves and their design ability!