Get designs on all kinds of fashion careers here

Stacie Waleyko '12 modeling designs by Stephanie Kolanko '11

So you want to study fashion? Well, sure, you could go to a design school and get a very specific education in design. Or, even better, you could go to URI and get the breadth of a full university education, engage in a whole lot of interdisciplinary work with such other disciplines as business, theatre, and art, learn about the science of fibers and fabrics, and maybe even get an extra degree in a “fashion” language.

“Young people tend to think that in fashion, you’re either a designer or a buyer. But there is a wide range of fashion careers in between that our program prepares you for,” said Professor Linda Welters, co-chair of the Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design (TMD) department.

Young people tend to think that in fashion, you’re either a designer or a buyer. But URI’s Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design program prepares you for a wide range of fashion careers in between.

Take Stephanie Taylor ’07. She knew early on that she wanted to study fashion, and her first choice was URI’s “little known but wonderful” TMD department. After graduation, she interned with the TV crime series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit before landing her gig procuring the work of such celebrity designers as Manolo Blahnik and Norma Kamali as wardrobe assistant for Fox’s The Wendy Williams Show.

There’s also the marketing side of fashion, because after all, you’ve got to be able to sell your designs too. URI Textile Marketing (TM) majors take a third of their classes alongside URI business majors, learning about market research, consumer behavior, business law, sales and more. It’s a partnership that’s worked out very well for Amanda Miller ’08, who is not only the vice president of marketing for the Trump Organization, but also markets Ivanka Trump’s line of clothes, shoes, and accessories.

A lot of fashion happens in Europe, of course, and our TMD program is designed to prepare you for success in fashion cultures there, too. While many college language programs are shrinking, ours is doing just the opposite, thanks in part to our interdisciplinary fashion language program that lets you get a Bachelor of Science degree in TMD and a Bachelor of Art degree in French or Italian – all in four years. And if you want to study abroad, you can put your new language skills to practice at such partner schools as Mod Spé in Paris and Accademia Italiana in Italy.

If the language degree isn’t your thing, but you want to study fashion abroad anyway, our partner institution, the Universite de la Mode in Lyon, France, is waiting for you. More than half of our TMD students study abroad while at URI – with or without the language degree. Stephanie Kolanko ’11 didn’t get a language degree, but went abroad twice to study high fashion in London and Paris. Not long after graduation, she made a splash with 19 “looks,” at “Style Week Northeast,” a thriving regional fashion event that showcases new talent. One of her designs is shown in the photo above, modeled by Stacie Waleyko ’12.

Perhaps you’ll be among the 70 percent of our TMD students who do internships while at URI. Few things set you up for success better than working side by side with professionals in the fashion world. Professionals like Christine Gayant ’08, account executive for French footwear designer Christian Louboutin, and Ashley Sayers ’10, assistant shoe buyer for Italian fashion house Gucci American, who both host some of the high-caliber internships that might interest you.

Everything Jhih-Syuan Yang ’12 knows about designing, draping, cutting, sewing, fitting and, yes, even getting along with people, she learned in her four years at URI. She says was well prepared for her job as an assistant technical designer at Sachin + Babi, a funky fashion house in New York. No, URI is not in the heart of the fashion district, but that’s the point: the closeness of our TMD department allowed Jhih-Syuan to focus, focus, focus. No question went unanswered. So, yes, you could go to a design school. Or you could go to URI.


Two years ago, Amandine Umutoni Gatali was sitting at her computer in Pretoria, South Africa, trying to figure out where to go to college. She knew she wanted to study in the United States, but wasn’t sure where. A cousin was living in Newport, R.I. so, on a whim, she Googled “universities in Rhode Island.” URI popped up. She searched for civil engineering -- her intended major -- and liked what she saw: a five-year degree in engineering combined with a language, a year studying abroad and an internship. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is the best thing ever,’” says Amandine, who is now in her junior year.