Each fall, students line up early to sign-up for MAT 480, the annual Merchandising, Apparel, and Textiles (MAT) study tour to New York City. MAT 480 focuses on the entire process of the fashion industry, from design to presentation. Students in the class stay in New York for three days and go to various seminars, visit different sectors of the fashion industry, and attend fashion shows at the infamous tents in Bryant Park. They also take a walking tour of retail stores to examine window displays and examine particular sections in department stores to understand how they are merchandised.
Highlights of this year's study tour included visits to the flagship stores of Niketown, Abercrombie & Fitch, Kate Spade, and Jovani (the world's largest producer of prom dresses). "The visits to well merchandised and visually planned stores allowed students to gain an understanding of how important merchandising and store layouts are to the success of the business," said Deena Cotterill, a graduate student who was part of the study tour this year.
The hottest event in town was a fashion show celebrating Barbie's 50th birthday. Fifty designers, including Donna Karen, Michael Kors, and Calvin Klein, showcased their Barbie-inspired designs at the runway show. Due to overselling tickets, students did not see the Barbie show but did enjoy an exhibit of 50 years of Barbie at Bloomingdales.
Kristina Verenich, an undergraduate who attended the study tour, very much enjoyed and appreciated the experience. "This was by far the best class I have taken at UK and would recommend it to all MAT majors," she said. "It was such unique way to experience New York City and we were very fortunate to get so many behind the scenes tours of a variety of companies. The trip is also a great time to network and make contacts for internships and future employment."
Elizabeth Easter and Scarlett Wesley, both professors in the Merchandising, Apparel and Textiles department, supervised the study tour this year for MAT students. Easter stated, "The study tour requires a great deal of planning in advance, but I enjoy watching our students gain firsthand knowledge as they experience the fashion industry from a totally different perspective."
For more information about the study tour, contact Dr. Elizabeth Easter at 859-257-7777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.