CMU’s apparel merchandising and design program earned high marks in rankings recently released from Fashion-Schools. In fashion merchandising, the program was ranked 34th nationally and ninth in the Midwest. For fashion design, the program was ranked 40th nationally and 12th in the Midwest.
Brad Prescott, founder of Fashion-Schools, said the website started publishing regional and national rankings last year in response to a “myriad of emails from aspiring fashion designers and merchandisers,” asking about the best schools in the U.S.
Prescott said the criteria used in creating the rankings considered a school’s academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of the program and faculty, value as it relates to tuition, and geographic location.
Maureen MacGillivray, professor of apparel merchandising and design, has seen CMU’s program increase in both size and scope over the past several years. “The expectations of a graduate are much higher today and include the competencies that come from relevant work experience in the industry, team-based learning in the classroom and co-curricular activities that demonstrate leadership ability,” she said.
CMU’s internships place students in regional, national and international workplaces, preparing them for jobs after graduation. MacGillivray, currently leading a student group in Paris, said study abroad opportunities in fashion capitals such as Florence, Milan, Hong Kong and London further enhance a student’s global sense of the industry.
Cutting-edge technology is another highlight of the program. MacGillivray said researchers continue to build an inventory of technology equipment and software that allows students to design, build, and evaluate apparel, merchandising and textile innovations. This classroom and lab work is often done with industry partners.
CMU is the only Michigan university with a body scanner to design custom clothing and owns the only environmental chamber in the state that can test clothing in a climate-controlled environment.
The annual spring Threads fashion show, one of CMU’s biggest events, helps showcase the work of many students. “Threads gives students an opportunity to demonstrate their skills in design and merchandising in a venue that brings more than 1,200 people to campus,” MacGillivray said.