Students Immersed in Fashion and Textiles in Summer Workshop


Keyonna Butler practices draping at the PhilaU Fashion and Textile Career Discovery Workshop.

For four days, 15 young fashion enthusiasts got a taste of Philadelphia University’s uniquely collaborative fashion and textile disciplines at this week’s Fashion and Textile Career Discovery Workshop.

This afternoon, workshop participants will exhibit their work, including textile samples, garment designs and promotional plans, in rooms 211 and 212 of the DEC Center from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

“It’s a jam-packed week,” said Sheila Connelly, fashion design program director. “We split the time between textile design, fashion design, and fashion merchandising and management, so they are exposed to a lot, and they emerge with a very clear understanding of how the three disciplines work together.”


Carly Franks (left), assistant fashion design professor, discusses mood board creation with Maria Giangiulio.

The June 23 to 26 workshop offered high school students and others interested in pursuing a career in fashion or textile design the chance to learn more about the industries and gain hands-on experience in designing, draping and working in the CAD and knitting laboratories.

Haley Reid, a rising senior at Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown, Pa., said she plans to major in fashion merchandising and management in college. “I knew this would give me some valuable background experience,” Reid said. “There are no fashion courses in high school. Even art class doesn’t really cater to fashion design.”

Participants learned techniques for mood board creation, illustration and garment design.

“I’ve definitely learned a lot more about the fashion business,” said Sophia DeMers, a rising junior at Downingtown High School East in Exton, Pa. “My sketches have improved in just one day. This has been a great experience, and I’ll be able to carry the new skills that I’ve learned with me in the future.” DeMers said PhilaU has become a top contender in her college search.

Using textile technology, the workshop students created printed T-shirts, as well as knit and hand-woven swatches.


Workshop participants use knitting machines at PhilaU to create swatches.

Marcia Weiss, textile design program director, said PhilaU’s unique ability to focus on textile design and creation as part of the fashion apparel design process strengthens its students’ ability to work in the fashion world.

“No one works by themselves in this industry,” Weiss said. “They need to be able to speak the same language so they can be effective on the job. Fashion designers need to consider the weight and drape of fabrics to find the material best suited for their design.”

Before attending the workshop, Rebecca Meschler, a rising sophomore at Archbishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia, was specifically interested in fashion design. “But now that I see how hands-on textile design can be, I want to be involved in the entire process,” she said. “I’ll definitely be applying here in the next couple of years.”

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