Before starting her exciting career with Urban Outfitters in 2002, Gianna Cosentino '02 earned her degree at Philadelphia University as a fashion design major. She chose PhilaU because it offered her a chance to develop her own style without trying to force her talent into a category.
As a PhilaU student, Cosentino studied abroad in London, and in her final semester secured a technical position with Urban Outfitters. She advanced quickly and became a knit designer for Free People, a division of Urban Outfitters.
Cosentino really responds to freedom which Urban Outfitters allows their designers. She and other design professionals are given the freedom to find inspiration for their designs on their own. As a designer, Cosentino says she is constantly seeking new inspiration and remarks, "If I ever felt like I wasn't learning, I wouldn't be happy."
Cosentino is now the Director of Free People's New Romantics line. As a distinguished alumna, she has come full circle and is an inspiration to current PhilaU students. On October 13, 2012, Cosentino returned to campus to discuss design and product development as the first speaker in PhilaU's Fashion Alumni Lecture Series.
To read the PhilaU today article about Cosentino's visit click here.
Bianca DePietro and Rachel Wendling are the geniuses behind the new whimsy-inspired Bianca-Rachele fashion line. With recent shows of their 2012 spring line premiering in New York including collaborative work with PhilaU Textile Design alumni Katherine Labate '11, these designers embody the entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit that define the PhilaU Fashion Design program.
While at PhilaU, both Rachel and Bianca worked hard to establish themselves as designers, pushing design boundaries and creating exceptional work. Both designers won various awards while at PhilaU including the Frank Agostino Best Evening-Wear Award, which went to Rachel for her floor-length gowns featured at the 2010 Annual Fashion Show, and the first place award at the 2010 American Heart Association Red Dress Competition, which went to Bianca for her red dress design displayed in the Macy's display window as part of the American Heart Association's heart disease awareness campaign.
In addition to their awards both graduates were featured along with three fellow PhilaU graduates, Meg Dewey '10, Jillian Garvey '10 and Amanda Vereb '10 in a recently published book, Emerging Fashion Designers 2, which showcases the work of young, talented designers from around the country.
In the short time since graduating, Kaitlyn Doherty has won an international handbag contest and had her work featured in InStyle magazine. Not bad for her first few months in the real-world.
During her time at PhilaU as a fashion design major, Doherty won various awards and held a few coveted internships. Her senior year, she was the first runner up and People's Choice Award at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market "Project OR" competition and won the Young Spirit Award for Excellence in Childrenswear at the 2011 Fashion Show.
"My four years at Philadelphia University have convinced me that this is one of the best fashion design programs, and I am proud to say I am an alumna," Doherty said. "I am so thankful to all of my professors for their advice and expertise."
While at PhilaU, she interned with both Macy's and Gypsystyle Bags and this past summer she interned with the Laboratory for Engineered Human Protection (LEHP) in a patternmaking and garment construction positions. Doherty is quickly making a name for herself and we're waiting to see what's next for her.
To read the PhilaU Today article about Doherty's recent win, click here.
In 2008, Breanna Wagner graduated as a textile design student specializing in knit. With what they considered an unusual specialization, Breanna's parents were curious about what her future might hold. However, after a summer internship with Nike during her senior year, Breanna realized that applying her textile skills to performance-based footwear was an exciting fit for her.
When Wagner returned to PhilaU after her internship with Nike, she shared how refreshing the passion the Nike professional was, now five years later she is one of them. Upon graduation from PhilaU, Wagner was offered a position with Nike. She accepted and is now the Global Materials Design Manager there.
One of her recent projects had her recently highlighted in Runner's World magazine for her innovative knitwork for Nike's Lunawear sneakers.
For the Lunawear sneaker, Wagner was charged with making a soft and friendly mesh that would help to make the sneaker distinct. The knit that Wagner developed is now the first running-wear textile to be an exclusive Nike textile; it looks thick, but is actually 96% more breathable than many of the other Nike mesh. Thanks to Wagner's ingenious mesh, the Lunawear sneaker rose to Nike's number-one seller in the first year.
Mairead Thompson, an alumna who majored in fashion industry management (FIM), is in the business of fashion and loving it. At Coach, she is the liaison between various teams, bridging the gap between those who create and those who market - between the designers and the business professionals.
As the design development manager, Thompson is involved in all aspects of the business. An average day for Thompson might include meeting with the designers working on the latest trends; reviewing samples of next season's products; inspecting fabrics and hardware; and checking color-board mock-ups before they go to the company executives.
Thompson uses both business skills and her design background daily, a mindset she developed as a FIM student at PhilaU and further honed through internships and work experience. "With this major, I could get some background in designing a garment and in textiles, but also learn about marketing," Thompson says.
While in her senior year at PhilaU, she commuted weekly to New York where she interned at Express, Inc., in the research and design department. Upon graduation, Thompson took a job at Bensalem, Pa.-based Charming Shoppes, Inc. where she worked to make sure garments fit size specifications. Not long after, Thompson headed back to New York to accept her position at Coach.
To read the Innovator Magazine story featuring Thompson and other PhilaU graduates click here.
Now a famed couture fashion designer and couturier, William Calvert '91 began his fashion training at Philadelphia University as a fashion design student.
In the years after he graduated from PhilaU, Calvert expanded his knowledge and explored his creativity by studying in Europe and working on the couture collections of Balenciaga, Pierre Balmain and Rochas. Gaining notoriety, he developed collections for Diane Von Furstenberg and consulted for Perry Ellis Women's Coats. Calvert began the development of his own couture empire in 1998.
His work has been acclaimed in a variety of publications from Time Magazine to Vogue. Women's Wear Daily hailed him as "the new entrepreneur" because of his dramatic and elegant designs. In 1999, Calvert was selected for the first Moet and Chandon Designer Debut; and, during the same year, received the Rising Star Award from Fashion Group International.
Recently, Calvert partnered with Melanie Fraser Hart to launch the Callula Lillibelle line of clothing, which now is showing its spring/summer 2012 line (http://callulalillibelle.com).
To read the PhilaU today article highlighting Calvert's recent work, click here.
(Photo Credit: http://callulalillibelle.com/)
Allen Sirkin '64, president and COO of Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation (PVH) and member of the Philadelphia University Board of Trustees, graduated from the University with a degree in textile management and marketing, which is similar to the fashion-related business degrees we offer today.
As president and COO of Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH), he is the head of one of the world's largest lifestyle brand apparel companies. PVH owns the Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Van Heusen, Izod, Arrow and Bass brands. Additionally, PVH holds numerous licenses in select product categories, including Geoffrey Beene, Kenneth Cole, DKNY, Donald J. Trump Signature Collection, Nautica, Sean John, JOE Joseph Abboud, Ted Baker, Ike Behar, Timberland and J. Garcia. Furthermore, with Sirkin at the reins, PVH is a recognized leader in the area of worldwide Human Rights and known for its philanthropic initiatives.
He has received numerous awards both for his benevolent efforts and industry innovation. Beyond being a member of the University's Board of Trustees, Sirkin remains very connected to his alma mater, making him one of PhilaU's most notable alumni.
To read more about Allen Sirkin's most recent visit to campus where he introduced fashion icon, Tommy Hilfger, click here.
Nearly 100 students from five programs - fashion merchandising, fashion industry management, fashion design, graphic design communication and marketing - researched, developed, designed, branded and packaged a new line of coordinated mother-and-child apparel as part of a fall 2010 semester-long project sponsored by QVC, Inc.
For this project, everything from design and sourcing to branding and marketing was addressed. Students prepared a total of twelve pieces: six outfits for mothers and six accompanying pieces for children. Their designs were produced as prototypes by one of QVC's manufacturers in Shanghai, China.
"MomMe," was designed to meet an untapped market for QVC and challenged students to come up with fabulous designs at the right price point that the company could potentially manufacture and sell on-air to its customer base.
The project is one of the largest design, engineering and commerce collaborations, embodies the PhilaU's signature approach to collaborative learning that is connected to the real world and infused with the liberal arts.
To read more about the project, click here.
This past fall, Philadelphia University fashion merchandising and fashion industry management students produced the 2011 Philadelphia Bike Expo Fashion Show. The show, sponsored by Road Holland Cycling Apparel and Eastern Mountain Sports, featured around 50 sponsors and 200 vendors of cycling apparel and accessories. The show was part of the weekend-long Bike Expo held annually in Philadelphia.
During the show, models walked down two catwalks showing off the biking apparel and accessories to the crowd. The apparel and accessories were classified into themes, such as "Mountain Biker," "Commuter/Car Free," "Punk Messenger," "Roadie," and "Cyclo Tourist." The accessories and apparel shown were proof that there's an outfit for every kind of cycling enthusiast; several of the helmets looked like hats and several biking skirts resembled flouncy party dresses. Highlights of the show were apparel suitable for commuters biking to either work or school; there was a cute blazer paired with a trendy messenger bag, and a simple striped t-shirt accessorized with a fashionable black backpack. Graphic tees, hooded sweatshirts, scarves, shorts, and Philadelphia University gear were also featured.
For the PhilaU students involved, producing the event allowed them the opportunity to apply their education to an unusual real-world fashion setting.
To learn more about the show, click here.
Philadelphia University's Annual Fashion Show is a major highlight of the academic year. The show is a student-run collaboration, where fashion business students produce the show and fashion design and textile design students have the opportunity to present original lines of work.
The theme of the 2012 Fashion Show, "Fashion in Motion," captured the spirit of the event, in which scores of innovative student designs were modeled on the runway before more than 2,000 audience members at the Academy of Music on April 28.
Part of the Verizon Philadelphia University Evening of Innovation, the Fashion Show, is the largest event of its kind in the region. It is the culmination of years of study and hands-on experience for Philadelphia University's fashion and textile design students. The event showcases the best of each year's fabulous, colorful, creative and innovative fashion designs.
The show represents true collaboration among students from various disciplines, a hallmark of a Philadelphia University academic experience. It is produced by Fashion Industries Association (FIA), and the show's production included students in fashion design, fashion merchandising, fashion industry management, interior design and graphic design.
To read more about this year's fashion show, click here.
To promote heart health, the American Heart Association partners with Philadelphia University to hold an annual competition as part of the Go Red for Women Campaign. The PhilaU Red Dress competition is a unique event as it is the only annual school competition geared to raise heart disease awareness.
Past year's show was held at Trust in Center City Philadelphia and NBC10 meteorologist and 10! Show host, Bill Henley, served as the commentator for the evening.
Christina Brzozowski won first place in 2011. Caitlin Quirk won the second-place and popular-choice awards, and Kim DiPrete took the third-place prize at the event.
The winning dresses were displayed at the Go Red for Women Luncheon on May 20and in the Center City Macy's Go Red window from May 23 to 27. This past fall some of the Red Dresses were also features as part of the Philly Fashion Week "Imagine" exhibit.
To read more about this year's competition, click here.
Last winter, after months of research, design and collaboration, the FXI Student Design Competition project finalists showcased innovative products that were developed to uncover the next great design utilizing memory foam.
Teams were judged by FXI senior research and development engineers, product development designers and new business development directors, as well as industry experts and School of Design and Engineering faculty. Projects were judged on features and benefits, commercial viability, and innovation.
Textile design majors Lily Kubiak '12 and Joanna Lee '12 won the top prize of $4,000 for their glove design that helps promote muscle mobility and dexterity. Other product designs included a multi-use pillow system for pregnant women to improve posture while sitting and sleeping; a vest to help lift and move disabled people; and a head scarf to improve sleep while sitting and/or traveling.
FXI is headquartered in Media, Pa., and is a leading producer of innovative foam products for the home, health care, electronics, industrial, personal care and transportation industries.
To read more about this year's competition and winning design, click here.
Philadelphia University fashion design students received second- and third-place prizes in the "Project Capucci" student design competition sponsored by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
For the competition, fashion design students from Philadelphia University and other area programs presented designs inspired by the work of influential Italian designer Roberto Capucci, who's colorful and sculptural fashions were the focus of a major Art Museum exhibition. Fashion merchandising student Andrew Van Sant '11, Fashion Industries Association 2010-11 president, produced the student fashion show.
Fashion design majors Caitlin Quirk '12 and Kaitlin Waligorski '12 took second- and third-place honors, respectively, for their smashing Capucci-inspired designs at the April 1, 2011 event. The Italian consulate provided cash prizes and the winners received the Heart of Philadelphia pendant from the LAGOS jewelry collection.
To read more about this project, click here.
Each year at the annual Design X Fashion Show, fashion design students wow packed audiences by pushing creative boundaries creating unique garments from unusual materials. This year's show is set to take place at the Downs Auditorium on January 24th from 1:00-3:00pm.
Always an exciting and visually stimulating event, Design X, produced by Fashion Industries Association (FIA), features experimental designs constructed as part of the fashion problem-solving class and includes garments made of innovative materials, everything from paint chips, to videocassette tapes.
Featuring an array of work inspired by nature, pop culture and UPS, past shows have included dresses made of latex gloves, Plexiglass, trash bags and magazines, among other unconventional materials. A few highlights of last year's show were pieces inspired by origami, Lady Gaga, a Venus fly trap, and saltwater taffies.
Tickets are $4 for students and $6 for faculty/staff and will be sold at the door.
One major highlight of each school year is the Annual Fashion Show which is produced by the Philadelphia University's Fashion Industry Association at the Academy of Music.
Each year, spectacular student designs wow packed audiences in the largest event of its kind annually held in Philadelphia.
The Annual Fashion Show was set in a garden. Surreal, lush surroundings provided a dreamlike runway on which models appeared through a wrought-iron archway and captured the whimsy of fashion. Playful yet mysterious, the show delighted the audience of more than 2,000.
Before the runway show, acclaimed designer Nicole Miller was honored with the 2013 Philadelphia University Spirit of Design Award.
The show is held in conjunction with the Philadelphia University Spirit of Innovation Gala and the student designs from the fashion show went from the runway to the highly discussed centerpieces of conversation at the Gala's cocktail hour.
PhilaU's internship program allows business to recognize the incredible potential of our students and gives our students amazing opportunities to get experience in some of the most sought after companies.
While earning University credits, the PhilaU internship experience gives students hands-on experiences and oftentimes a "foot-in-the door"; many PhilaU students end up being offered jobs with companies where they interned.
With thriving fashion and textile scenes in Philadelphia, many students remain close to campus with their internship, but some of our students choose to accept internships outside the greater Philadelphia area both during the school year and during summer breaks.
Brittany Lease, a senior fashion industry management major, currently travels to New York City two days a week to intern with Coach. Having started out as a summer intern, neither Coach nor Brittany wanted the internship to end. Brittany was able to extend her internship in the costing department through this fall while still taking her PhilaU classes on her days in Philly.
Brittany has a busy life and continues to work at the Coach store in the King of Prussia mall on the weekends. During her first week in New York, Brittany she sat in on a meeting with Kristin Michaloski, the designer behind Coach's "Kristin" line. "It all came full circle for me," Lease said, "I went from selling Kristin handbags to saying, 'Wait, there’s Kristin.'"
Phi Psi is an honorary professional fraternity open to fashion and textile students. Started in 1903, the PhilaU Psi Psi fraternity is the esteemed Alpha chapter of what is now a national fraternity. Today, the fraternity has grown to include chapters at all the major American textile institutions and is open to all textile and fashion majors (both graduate and undergraduate) with a 2.50 GPA.
Through a combination of activities, traveling, conventions and projects, the young men and women in this group develop strong innovative and collaborative real-world skills while learning more about the textile/apparel industry.
While the social function of the fraternity helps students to network and build relationships on campus, through the opportunities of travel and collaboration, friends and networks are also made on both a national and global scale.
StyleLine is a fashion publication produced entirely by PhilaU students from the fashion design, fashion merchandising and fashion industry management programs. StyleLine is a unique publication centered entirely on the fashion industry. It gives students the real-world opportunities to be fashion journalists and manage a publication from start to finish.
As a publication, StyleLine offers a diverse array of articles topics including those on style and fashion trends, PhilaU alumni stories, internship and career highlights, interviews with industry professionals, and other fashion snippets for those seeking an enjoyable a fashionable read.
The StyleLine team is constantly improving, transforming and growing the publication, coming out with fresh ideas each semester and other PhilaU students look forward to seeing what the staff comes up with for each new publication.
PhilaU's distinguished Study Abroad programs are some of the most exciting opportunities offered to PhilaU students. For students studying Fashion Design, Fashion Industry Management and Fashion Merchandising, PhilaU has two established programs in Europe: one in London and one in Rome. For students studying textiles, opportunities studying in Scotland, Japan and Italy are the highlighted opportunities.
At the Philadelphia University Center for Fashion Studies in Rome, students study at the famous 13th century Palazzo Taverna, located in the heart of the ancient city. Surrounded by the rich history and classical elegance that permeate each room of the palazzo, students can't help but be inspired.
"Rome is a living museum where inspiration flourishes from classical elements and architectural wonders to the lively retail districts that are home to Valentino, Fendi and many other design houses. The 13th century Palazzo Taverna acts as an elegant backdrop for any student with aspirations of working in the fashion industry," said Clara Henry, fashion design program director.
Student truly get to see fashion through the Italian eye as they are instructed by Italian fashion professionals and get to experience the brilliance of Rome by "full immersion" as they live among local Italians and are able to explore the most lively areas that are full of markets, cafes and restaurants.
Having an international perspective is critical for fashion and textile students; everything from the fashion supply chain to fashion trends are influenced by the global fashion and textile scene.
While PhilaU's academic programs are geared to give students this necessary international perspective, our established short courses also offer students opportunities to further build their international awareness.
At PhilaU, students are encouraged to gain as much experience as they can, starting in their first year. In fact, one of our newest short courses was offered exclusively to freshmen and gave them the opportunity to experience the Parisian fashion scene in May 2011.
Other PhilaU short courses are more specific in their focus, for example the International Product Manufacturing short course in China. Open to all fashion and textile students, this faculty led tour gives students the opportunity to visit and learn from manufactures in China through a short period of full immersion in the culture.
While experiencing the culture of Shanghai and Hong Kong, students in the program visit various manufacturers. Given PhilaU's reputation, our students are often given opportunities to go behind the scenes and get exposure to private facilities. In the past few years, our students have seen everything from the manufacturing of authentic Coach handbags to the engineering of neon construction vests.
Fashion Industries Association (FIA) is one of the largest co-curricular campus organizations for students interested in the fashion industry. As in the norm in the real-world of fashion, the organization blurs the lines between management and design, and members of this organization help with various fashion events on campus and in the Philadelphia region.
FIA produces two of the most anticipated events on campus each year, the Design X fashion show and the Annual Fashion Show. Before, during and after the event, FIA Members help in the gathering, selection, and processing of student garments. They also aid in the design of both shows including everything from themes and music to lights and runway design.
During the shows, FIA members work behind the scenes directing models, acting as a liaisons between designers and models, making sure garments are kept in the best conditions and keeping everything and everyone organized. FIA members are the key to making sure PhilaU's renowned fashion shows are produced professionally each year.
Most recently, FIA president, Casey Lamke, interviewed renowned fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger during his October visit to Campus. To read more about this event, click here.
On October 11, 2011 fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger visited PhilaU to tour the campus, engage in a Q&A session with over 800 members of the University community, visit our studios, and even offer some helpful critique to some of our students. Click the image above to view the one-on-one interview with senior fashion design student Robyn Alt. To read the PhilaU Today article about his visit click here.
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Office of Admissions
Phone: 215.951.2800 Toll free: 1.800.951.7287
Phone: 215.951.2943 Toll-free: 1.800.951.7287
Office of Admissions
4201 Henry Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144