The fashion houses of New York City might seem a far cry from the Southwest Virginia campus of Radford University, but that didn't stop student Shelby Ruth from joining the fashion set.
Ruth, a junior fashion merchandising major from Nokesville, Virginia, is spending her summer as an intern for designer Nicole Miller. Between handling models, caring for clothes and coordinating styles, Ruth is getting a crash course in professional fashion.
"I've learned so much from this experience," Ruth said. "There are not enough words to describe how it has opened my eyes to the fashion industry."
The fashion mavens at Nicole Miller aren't letting Ruth get away with making copies or brewing coffee. Instead she is working in every aspect of the fashion world, from design labs to the sales showroom.
One of her biggest projects yet was a photo shoot for the Lord and Taylor website. The Nicole Miller web team hired a top photographer (with resume bullets from magazines like Vogue and Elle) to shoot their line for the retail outlet. Ruth was put to work preparing the clothes, coordinating outfits for the models and ensuring everything ran smoothly with the garments.
"I learned everything that goes on behind the scenes for a photo shoot," Ruth said. "It was so cool to see this entire event happening."
Radford fashion merchandising students receive a comprehensive studio-based education that prepares them for careers in management, retailing, merchandising and auxiliary fashion and interiors industries. Students are encouraged to learn how to creatively solve problems with their knowledge, ethics and skills in design.
For Professor Farrell Doss it is no surprise that Ruth has taken what she has learned at Radford and made a successful first step into the industry.
"Shelby is one of the most driven and focused students that I have had the pleasure of working with over my tenure at RU," he said. "She is an accomplished young professional that has the potential to develop great leadership credentials. Shelby is poised to chart a successful future in the fashion field."
The B.S. for merchandising in design, concentration in fashion merchandising, is housed in the RU Department of Interior Design and Fashion. The ID&F mission is to educate highly motivated, passionate and creative individuals through hands-on learning. Graduates are prepared for careers in top-level interior design or fashion industry firms.