The Fashion School’s Annual Fashion Show (FS2) has come to a “Crescendo” in 2016! We have continued to increase the submission and review of individual looks from students at every stage in their academic career as entries to this juried fashion show event. In addition to the BFA thesis collections, have had a variety of both collections and individual entries from students at the undergraduate and graduate level in the Fashion School. Please note that we have added listings of the class standing, program and potential study away location of each of the students who has had work accepted into the fashion show and presented in the catalog. Our continuing goal is to strengthen the context of the annual fashion show to represent examples of the best work being created at all levels and locations in the Fashion School.


We use the construct of the Fashion School’s Annual Fashion Show to integrate a critical learning experience for our students. As a professionally juried venue, only the strongest collections and individual entries are accepted for presentation in the show. This form of review and selection is intended to mimic the realities of professional juried selection processes as a means to support the reflective learning that we believe each designer should experience. It will undoubtedly be a part of their lives as professional designers once they leave KSU. The Fashion School intentionally places the review and selection process in the hands of the designer critics and the external juror team, as they each come to review the student work with completely fresh eyes and have great experience in design selection for industry success.


It is the Fashion School’s vision “to inspire students to become creative and resourceful fashion leaders.” As a member of both the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI), we are also recognized as one of the top fashion schools in the United States. We aspire to be the best American fashion school, by providing a comprehensive university experience, a forward-looking and rigorous curriculum in fashion, a modern approach to the use of digital technologies, and access to a broad range of international and study-away experiences. The Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising is now in its 34th year.

NYC Studio

The NYC Studio is key to our growth and reputation as a nationally and internationally acclaimed fashion school. Our locations in Kent, New York, Florence and Paris make us incredibly unique in incorporating an understanding of real American markets and aesthetics while also exploring international perspectives. Over 120 students in fashion design and merchandising study at our NYC Studio each academic year; most engage in an internship experience while there.

Kent State University Florence

Once again, we offered the Florence fashion program during both fall and spring semesters in 2015-2016. This program continues to grow in numbers and quality thanks to our fantastic staff and faculty in Florence.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Our long-standing exchange agreement with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University has led to our hosting as many as five Chinese students in Kent and sending five Kent State students to Hong Kong to study during the spring semester each year. Continued expansion of offerings in East Asia and India will ultimately strengthen our core purpose
and vision.

Paris American Academy

During the summer, Kent State fashion design and merchandising students may earn 6 credits while taking approved Fashion School courses at the Paris American Academy in France. The month-long program includes field trips, onsite experiences, hands-on workshops, lectures and activities designed to expand an understanding of fashion.

IFFTI and China Fashion Week

This spring, through a gracious donation from Tom and Barbara Cole (Fashion School Hall of Fame inductee from 2014), we were able to send a group of six graduating fashion design students to China to showcase their senior collections in China’s Fashion Week in Beijing! Abby Steger, Ana White, Calvin Brant, Camille Winslow, Dior Delophont and Kara Kroeger saw their work on the runway as we partnered with the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT) to be a part of their Fashion Week presentation. BIFT is considered to be one of the top fashion institutions in China, and is often shown high on the list of world-ranking programs, as well. We were very proud of these great students, and grateful to the Coles and BIFT for their partnership.


Additionally, six faculty members attended and presented their research/creative work in Beijing as part of the IFFTI annual conference. This group has institutional members from almost all of the best fashion schools in the world, and this year, first-year, tenure-track faculty member Ja Young Hwang, Ph.D., received the Best Paper Award for junior faculty at the conference! Congratulations, Dr. Hwang.




By next fall, the Fashion School will have 56 (31 full-time and 25 part-time) active faculty/researchers across our three program locations (Kent, New York City and Florence). All of them are known for achievements in their respective fields. Our faculty members have garnered a number of national and international awards for their work, are actively publishing in multiple academic and public venues and are incredibly dedicated to supporting our student learning. They truly are the key to “inspiring students to become creative and resourceful fashion leaders.” You can learn more about each of our faculty members on the ‘profiles’ page of our Fashion School website.




The fall 2015 semester brought another record-breaking increase in students to the Fashion School; we now have nearly 1,800 students! This includes 413 African-American, Latino American and Native American (AALANA) students (23 percent of our FDM population) as well as 106 international students from sixteen countries! We are proud of our current diversity in the school and have continued to take active steps to continue to support/increase diversity in the future.


Our students are totally engaged in their learning. Over 70 percent of our current students participate in one of our study away experiences; nearly 50 percent in our NYC program alone! Junior-year internships are required in the curriculum, and they are happening in locations across the globe, including Amsterdam, Paris, London and Florence. Fashion School students currently have organized and support two student organizations, the Fashion Student Organization and Modista, which boast over 300 and 100 active members, respectively. We believe that engaging in an intense set of experiences while at Kent State University will best prepare students for occupations in the evolving fashion industry.


We have our first set of graduating students from the master’s degree program this year – congratulations to this inaugural group of students, who will be graduating with an M.A. in fine arts (fashion concentration).



Fashion School Scholarships

We are greatly enhanced through the generous support of numerous donors and foundations who provide support to the Fashion School. We now have more than 50 scholarships that have been created specifically for Fashion School students through donor support that allows the school to provide over $115,000 in scholarship funds to students each year. We sincerely thank all of the Fashion School’s donors and supporters. We hope we can count on your assistance in the future to help us become the best fashion school possible.



NYC Studio

The NYC Studio continues to be a key strength to our growth and reputation as a nationally (and internationally) recognized fashion school. This year marks the 10th year of our NYC Studio program. We continue to be grateful for the range of donors who helped make it happen, especially Linda Allard, our largest supporter in the creation of the studio. Our locations in Kent, New York City, Florence and Paris make us incredibly unique in having an understanding of real American markets and aesthetics while exploring international perspectives. Over 120 students in fashion design and merchandising study at our NYC Studio each academic year; most engage in an internship experience while they are there.



KSU Florence

This year marks a big step forward in Florence; we have moved to a new location on Via Cavour – the Palazzo Vettori. Classes started in the new location in spring 2016, allowing all KSU programs in Florence to be housed in one large (and beautiful!) building right in the heart of Florence.  We will have 101 students studying in Florence during the Fall 2016 Semester, and at least 65 in Spring 2017.



Paris American Academy

During the summer, fashion design and merchandising students may earn 6 Kent State credits while taking approved Fashion School courses at the Paris American Academy (PAA), in Paris, France. The month-long program, held in July, includes field trips, on-site experiences, hands-on workshops, lectures and activities designed to expand an understanding of fashion. A total of 26 Fashion School students participated in the PAA program in summer 2015 with another 20 committed for summer 2016.




Student and faculty use of the TechStyleLAB has continued to increase as everyone becomes more aware of the technologies and possibilities. This year, many courses integrated projects that required students to engage in the “TSLAB,” including some in which our 3D body-scanner was used to create custom-fitting garment designs! Digital textile printing, digital embroidery and laser-cutting/etching continue to grow in use and played a major role in our third annual Fashion/Tech Hackathon. Co-produced with LAUNCHNet, this hugely successful event hosted 150 students from 20 different colleges/universities across the U.S. to compete to create innovations in wearable technologies in less than 36 hours. The TechStyleLAB has secured its position in leading the innovation climate at Kent State, co-hosting the third annual KSU Maker Faire, Cleveland Botanic Garden Orchid Fashion Competition, supporting the University Innovation Fellows program and continuing to provide access to leading-edge digital technologies for our students and faculty.



Fashion School Store

The Fashion School Store was launched in downtown Kent in May 2012. This exciting venture functions as a ‘live retail laboratory’ by engaging our students in the process of planning, selecting, designing, producing and selling products in a boutique retail environment. In 2014, Jihyun Kim, Ph.D., took the lead as the faculty coordinator for the FSStore curatorial team. With students’ help, they manage the store, conceptualize the ‘brand’ of the Fashion School, and present unique product concepts created mostly by our students, faculty and alumni. We recently hired a new FSStore manager, Marguerite Loomis, to help manage the daily operations of the store and help bring it to new heights. We will miss former manager, Cindy Cianflocco, as she moves on to new adventures, but are very pleased to bring Marguerite into the mix as we continue to grow.



Kent State University Museum

With now almost 40,000 pieces in the museum collection and eight phenomenal exhibition spaces, students, faculty and members of our community have direct access to one of the best fashion and costume collection in the country! Over the last four years, Noel Palomo-Lovinski, Vince Quevedo and Linda Ohrn-McDaniel have all had solo exhibitions of their work in the museum, in addition to the excellent exhibitions that make use of items held in our collections. In 2013-14, Margarita Benitez and Noel Palomo-Lovinski co-curated the “Shifting Paradigms: Fashion + Technology” exhibition, and in May 2014 an exceptional invited exhibition focused on felting techniques was curated by Sherry Schofield, Ph.D.


Coming soon, an exhibition curated by Tameka Ellington, Ph.D., “Disabled Beauty,” will focus on the design and diversity of prosthetics and corresponding trends in fashion

and technology.



Fashion School Alumni

Thirty-four years after the official creation of the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, we have graduates from our programs that are involved in every aspect of the fashion industry, at every level. I have had the great pleasure of getting a chance to meet many of our alumni in Ohio, New York, California, Florida and even internationally – every place I go, our Fashion School graduates have a reputation for their open-minded motivation to work hard and learn more to be the best they can in their profession. It’s exciting to receive this wonderful feedback.



Hall of Fame

In 1989 Shannon Rodgers, Jerry Silverman, Bob Broadbent and Shirley Goodman became our first inductees into the Fashion School Hall of Fame. Since then, many other notable designer/fashion icons have accepted this recognition, and travelled to Kent to receive their award. They include Linda Allard (formerly of Ellen Tracy), Estee Lauder, Anna Sui, Charles Kleibacker, Elsa Klensch, Ralph Rucci, Isabel and Ruben Toledo, Oscar de la Renta, Michael Weiss, Leonardo Ferragamo, Dana Buchman and Yeohlee Teng! In 2014, we welcomed Tom Cole, former chief administrative officer for Macys Inc. (and KSU grad) into our Fashion School Hall of Fame. In 2015, we paused to reflect on the passing of 2007 inductee Oscar de la Renta, to whom we dedicated our show that year.  In 2016, we are very excited to induct Josie Natori into our Hall of Fame!


Congratulations to ALL of our senior design students and underclassmen in the Fashion School; and thank you to all of the students and faculty who have put careful thought and countless hours into the production of this event!  I’d like to also say a special thank you to Meghan McCarthy and Morgan Hall, the 2016 Student Co-Producers for this year’s show – they have been amazingly professional, flexible and visionary in their roles. They have played the greatest part in bringing this show to a “Crescendo!”






800 E. Summit St., Kent OH 44240


P.O. Box 5190, Kent, OH 44242-0001


The Fashion School