New Fashion Studies Major Introduced at St. John’s

Sofia Altamura, Contributing Writer

St. John’s University has just announced a new major: Fashion studies.

The global fashion industry is a billion dollar industry, and the fashion studies program will prepare students for  various careers relating to fashion as well as ways to improve the industry.

This new Bachelor of Science degree offers diverse courses such as “Fashion and Ethics,” “Legal Aspects of the Fashion Industry,” “Fashion in Film,” the “Fashion Design Process” and “Fashion Entrepreneurship.” The faculty for this program includes experienced professors and practitioners in the fashion, law, economics, management and marketing industries.

On Thursday, Nov. 8, the College of Professional Studies hosted a “Fashion Studies Celebration” to introduce what being a fashion studies major would look like. The faculty teaching the program were there to explain what the major is truly about.

One noteworthy factor about the program that was mentioned is the sustainability aspect.

Dr. Almerinda Forte, chair of the Administration and Economics division of the Fashion Studies Program, explained that our clothes end up in landfills and create waste. She wants to teach students that you can use what would normally be trash, take it apart and transform it into new and inexpensive clothing. Dr. Forte also emphasized that the program teaches students to be “green and clean.”

“We can help the environment by not buying and using up so many resources that future generations need,” she said.

Another important aspect of the new major is the social justice component.

Some available courses will tackle the topic of diversity within the industry. Some could provide an Academic Service-Learning opportunity by organizing a clothing drive for those in need of clothes. Others will look at where child labor and making clothing intersect.

Faculty members stressed this question, which they will strive to study within the program: “Who is making your clothes and how can we make a positive impact on those people?”

Finally, a third aspect of the fashion studies major is the focus on the business side of fashion. There are many business opportunities within the fashion industry, as fashion companies need accountants, risk managers, marketers, etc. Students will learn about entrepreneurship, management and how to brand as well as market a product.

In addition, Forte informed attendees that the ethics of the business aspect that will be taught includes topics of fair trade, ensuring that a company’s production factory is a safe environment and overseeing the type of color dyes used to make clothes so as to not use dyes that are toxic or unsafe for the skin.

Professor Joyce-Boland DeVito said that her course on the legal aspects of the fashion industry will also look at “the legal aspects of clothing’s ingredients.”

Professors and students alike seem enthusiastic and optimistic about the new major.

Shaianne Innocent, a sophomore, has decided to pursue a minor in fashion studies.  she said she is excited about the opportunity, “I’m looking forward to it because I think it’ll be really interesting.”