Interview with a Fashion Design student from Virginia Marti College

Fashion Design Student Interview: Colleen McGuirk

School: Virginia Marti College
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
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Why fashion?

I think that I was always going into the arts one way or another. I am very interested in fabric as a medium as well as the mechanical and technical aspects of Fashion.

When/how did you first realize you had a passion for fashion?

I guess that I have always been into it in a way. When I was little, I would stop in the middle of any store at the mall and need to investigate all of the different garments. The colors, textures, and embellishments really captured my imagination. I was recently tidying up when I found one of my middle school sketchbooks with fashion illustrations in it – I didn’t remember drawing them!

What is your proudest accomplishment thus far in your life?

Finding about the different ways I and others learn has had a tremendously positive impact on my life. I was a really horrible student; so bad in fact that after ninth grade the school I was attending asked me to leave because of my poor marks.  I worked at for a few years and by the time I got to college, I was better prepared and capable of learning; I did quite well.

What college did you attend and what is your major?

I went to Virginia Marti College in Cleveland, Ohio. I majored in Fashion Design.

What are the top 3 reasons you chose to attend this school?

  1. It was close to my home.
  2. It’s a small private technical college with courses that are precision-focused on each major.
  3. The small class sizes – students really have the opportunity to dive deeply into any given subject with their instructors.

Would you recommend this school to someone looking to go into fashion?

Yes, I definitely would recommend this school.

Although, I think it is important to understand something before you enter any program. You should decide whether or not you really want your degree. I have my Associates, but I really didn’t need to get it. Virginia Marti has a continuing education program (aka part time enrollment) that in retrospect may have been better suited to my particular needs. All in all, I was glad I went there:)

What courses in your major have you found to be most valuable?

The design course focused mainly on drafting and draping theories- which is incredibly valuable. It has become the backbone to all of my technical knowledge. Thanks to that course, I can  literally make anything –even from simply looking at a picture.

**Shout out to my instructor and department head Ms. Judy Boryczka!

Also, I found the Fashion Illustration courses to be really engaging. These were probably the two most enjoyable classes I completed.

Besides your courses, what have you done to expand your knowledge and passion for fashion?

While I was in school, I volunteered to dress for some fashion local fashion shows. I learned a lot during those events. Since I have graduated, I have been focusing more on the business end of being an independent designer. This means a LOT of reading!

Does your school offer internship connections/ assistance in finding internships? 

The school will give out occasional leads and are very helpful (if you ask for help).

What unique features does your school offer that other fashion schools may not?

The small class sizes really cultivate an intellectually nurturing dynamic between the instructors, faculty and students. I’ve really learned a lot from everyone that I’ve met there.

What advice would you give to someone hoping to attend this school in your major?

It is pretty intense. Be prepared to get little sleep. Also, much of what you learn and how much you are exposed to is up to you. This is very much a school for adults; you must take the reins!

Future of a Fashion Designer

What is next for you and what is your ultimate dream career?

Next: I have been thinking about all of the things that I’d like to learn and experiment with- and I think for the rest of the summer I would like to get back into illustration (fashion and other things). That would probably be my dream job- Fashion Illustrator. Also, I think that I would like to create cut and sew patterns- something that could equip people with the tools needed to make themselves a fine garment (that and I do really like pattern-work).

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