In the spring 2013 the Sy Syms School of Business will introduce a new business elective course, Fashion Fundamentals. As part of its entrepreneurship and leadership focus, the goal of this new course and others to follow is to provide students with knowledge of the basic functions of fashion and its impact on the business environment. The planned fashion sequence will be open to Stern College and Sy Syms students. Fashion Fundamentals will meet one day each week on Monday afternoon in the FG hour from 4:40-7:15pm. A second course Applied Concepts in Fashion Merchandising is planned for the fall 2013 semester. Fashion Fundamentals will be a prerequisite for the Applied Merchandising class. Additional courses may be introduced after student evaluation and course assessment.
Dr. Fred Palumbo, Chair of the Management and Marketing Departments at Sy Syms reported that syllabi for both initial courses are under construction. Fashion Fundamentals will provide a basic introduction to the terminology and fundamentals of the fashion industry, and examine the development of merchandise from concept to consumer. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of the industry in the global marketplace.
Examples of the impact of fashion are everywhere within our economy. They include industrial design where creative staffs develop the concepts for manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and toys; a combination of art, business, and engineering to make products that people use every day. And, the obvious impact in the design of clothing and home décor.
Applied Concepts in Fashion Merchandising will prepare students to understand strategic concepts that are utilized within the fashion industry. Concepts such as costing, quality control, marketing, sourcing, manufacturing and logistics, and expanded research techniques. These skills are essential tools for next generation design specialists and for those interested in careers within established organizations or starting their own enterprises.
Dr. Palumbo noted that in the past Beren students were able to enroll in fashion classes at FIT. However, it became more and more difficult for students since they were not able to register until after FIT students and often were closed out of classes. Courses moved online, many available only on Friday or Saturday, and the FIT academic calendar differed from Yeshiva University. This was problematic as exams and presentations often conflicted with the YU holiday schedule.
In researching alternative solutions, the best choice was to find qualified adjunct instructors who have taught fashion related courses at local colleges and to bring control within Sy Syms.
To launch the first course, Dr. Palumbo has recruited Professor Michael Londrigan, the Interim Dean of Academic Affairs and Chair of the Fashion Merchandising Department at LIM College in New York City. Professor Londrigan has 30 years of experience in product development and marketing, holds an MBA and is author of the textbook, Menswear: Business to Style which has been used by a number of colleges offering courses in fashion marketing. The LIM College was founded in 1939 with a focus in the businesses of fashion merchandising and visual merchandising. Its campus is in midtown Manhattan.
Students should be aware that the Center for Career Development Center’s website posts information regarding careers after graduation under their “Explore Career Fields.” Within the Industry Overview students can learn about specific fashion related careers along with links to professional resources and organizations that support the industry. The CDC website states that “On the business side of fashion, one must be attuned to customers, be comfortable with numbers, have vision and be able to make predictions based on research, and be able to work collaboratively with diverse personality types. An undergraduate degree in any major can allow one to enter the field though internship experience is essential. For many companies, working at the retail store can be helpful in order to later work on the corporate side. A background in business, marketing, management and merchandising are all helpful too.”
The fashion industry is one of New York City’s largest and prominent business sectors. Included are many start-up firms and next generation retailers and designers. The NYC Department of Labor reported that in 2010 over $9 billion in total wages and over $1.7 billion in tax revenue was generated; and NYC is headquarters to over 900 firms. Fashion Week in NYC is a semiannual event that attracts over 225,000 total attendees at many shows throughout the city. The event generates almost $500 million which translates to almost $800 million in total economic impact per year.
Dr. Palumbo is hopeful that the addition of these fashion electives will interest students and provide a platform for them to launch business careers in established firms or entrepreneurial ventures. The fashion sequence of courses will also complement the activities of the Stern College/Sy Syms Fashion Marketing Club. Students interested in the Fashion Fundamentals business elective course should plan their schedules carefully; it will meet only on Monday afternoon during the FG section in spring 2013.