Fashion School: Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, IL
Future Fashion Professional: Hannah Kardux
Major: Fashion Retail Management; Minor: Marketing
Graduation Year: 2013
Hometown: Muscatine, Iowa
NIF: Why fashion?
HK: Every person has that one thing that saves them, for some it is music and for others it is writing. For me it is fashion. When I think about the things that I can do in this industry I get so excited. It is that one thing that motivates me most and just simply makes me feel so in love with life. Fashion is an industry that I know I will do extraordinary things in.
NIF: When did you first realize you had a passion for fashion?
HK:From the time I was able to dress myself I have been creative and optimistic with my style decisions. As a child I was fortunate to have a mother who did not force me to wear a certain outfit, but instead encouraged me to put together my own. Looking back now a lime green sock on my left foot and a hot pink one on my right is not exactly “stylish” but as a young child it was my way of expressing my individuality and sense of creativity. I am thankful I was given the opportunity of choice.
NIF: What is your favorite element of the fashion industry? (ex: product, designer, career, store…)
HK: This industry is impossible to get bored with. It is constantly changing. Things are always being recycled and they never stay the same. I am not one who feels comfortable staying in one place. This industry keeps me on my toes, I love that.
NIF: What is your proudest accomplishment thus far in your life?
HK: Moving up from a board member on CCFA (Columbia College Fashion Association), to Vice President, and now President all in one semester. This was a huge accomplishment for me and is something I am very proud of.
NIF: What are the top 3 reasons you chose to attend Columbia College?
HK: The opportunities that Columbia has to offer their students is outstanding and out of the ordinary. The students at Columbia College are not average college students; they are extremely talented, driven, and are eager to become something. The school is set in a city of opportunity. Chicago is a city I have been in love with since I was a little girl. It is a city with so many resources and is filled with beautiful art and people. I come from a small town, but every trip to Chicago felt right to me.
NIF: Would you recommend CCC to someone looking to go into fashion?
HK: Absolutely. The fashion program at Columbia is not like the rest. You do not learn from chapter 1 and chapter 2 in your textbooks here. You learn from a group of talented teachers who have experience in the industry that they are teaching. They know what they are talking about and you get the chance to participate in hands on projects [great for portfolio development]. This ultimately puts you a step a head of the rest.
NIF: What courses in your major have you found to be most valuable?
HK:I am a freshman so I am still in the process of completing my general studies before I can move on to taking classes that focus on my major. A couple classes I have taken that do are: Intro to Fashion Business and Visual Merchandising. I had an awesome learning experience in both. As a class we were able to go out and explore the city for multiple projects, as well as meet with well known professionals in the fashion industry. I was extremely impressed with the backgrounds of my teachers. As a student this assures me that I will succeed in my career because of their insight and experiences.
NIF: Besides your courses, what have you done to expand your knowledge and passion for fashion?
HK:I became a part of CCFA, the Columbia College Fashion Association. It is the largest on-campus student organization consisting of 400-500 general members as well as a group of board members. It is an academic and social organization that promotes general fashion interest through industry professionals, lectures, and other group activities.
When school started this past fall I applied to be on the board and became a member on the Event Committee. I then became Vice President, and am currently starting this semester as President. This has been an awesome opportunity for me to become more involved in Columbia’s fashion program, as well as network with other students who share similar interests.
I also am working as a stylist at a local Chicago clothing store called AKIRA. Not only have I been given opportunity to learn more about the industry while working at AKIRA, but I have also found something that I love to do and am good at. Nothing makes my day more than to see the satisfaction and confidence on a clients face after I have dressed them. It is amazing the way fashion can change a persons life. I love it!
NIF: Does your school offer internship connections/ assistance in finding internships? Can you receive credit?
HK: Columbia has an internship program that assists students with seeking out professionals who need interns. With that, professionals also seek out Columbia Students to fulfill those intern positions. Internships are required for graduation therefore you do receive credit.
NIF:What unique feature does your school offer that other fashion schools may not?
HK: The teachers at Columbia are completely out of the norm. They are all experienced in the industry that they are teaching. They know what they are talking about and they are able to give their students real life insight and advice because of this.
NIF: What advice would you give to someone hoping to attend this school in your major?
HK: This is a broad major therefore you can do a lot with it. Whether it be styling, designing, buying, merchandising, marketing etc. Don’t go into it closed minded or focused on just one because you may find out that its not for you. Experiment, try them all out, and ask questions. Keep trying them out until you find the one that feels the best.
NIF: What is the best advice you have been given concerning a future in the fashion industry?
HK: Do not ever act like you know it all. Even if you do, act like you don’t because there is always going to be someone in this industry who knows more than you. Read Read Read! Know what is happening in the media, be up to date on everything: magazines, television, the news etc. It is an industry that is constantly changing, if you are not ahead of what is “now” then you are behind.
NIF: Does your school host any fashion events (fashion shows, networking conferences,etc.)?
HK: There are always different group events going on. The fashion program at Columbia does an excellent job at keeping students up to date on new opportunities and events. Other Columbia fashion students and myself were able to work fashion shows this year during Chicago Fashion Week, another chance to experiment with what it is you want to do with your major. There are plenty of new student/transfer programs, as well as networking programs to get involved in.
NIF: What is next for you and what is your ultimate dream career?
HK: When I finish school I want to travel; I want to see the rest of the beauty in the world. My dream career is to be styling at the top –I want to be working for the best. I HAVE to work with people, they are my inspiration and motivation.
NIF: Thank you Hannah for sharing your experience with NIF!
**If you have any questions for Hannah, please leave a note for her in the comment box below.
To find out more about the Columbia College Chicago fashion programs visit: CLICK HERE