Monday, February 29th, 2016

Students studying fashion design at the County College of Morris (CCM) now are getting to put what they learn into practice as they cover the gamut of the fashion industry by creating a concept for a store, developing a fashion line and creating a catalog of their clothing collection.

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Crislaura Tatis, of Wharton. She led the winning team in the Design Concepts II class at CCM

“It really gave me the opportunity to see what the real world is like,” said Crislaura Tatis, of Wharton, who led the winning team in CCM’s Design Concepts II class. “I had no idea that I could do what we accomplished. When I look back at what we did, I can’t help thinking, ‘Did I really do that?’”

Professor James Howard, who revamped the class to provide students with more hands-on experience, explains that students in Design Concepts II are now assigned to teams.

Each team is tasked with developing a concept for a store, including name, location and layout; creating a signature look and a collection to match that; producing a store catalog with photos of their fashions; and building a pop-up display of their store.

The fall class was separated into three teams whose works were judged by a panel of professionals in the field. The class is offered both in the fall and spring semesters.

On her team, Tatis served both as leader and fashion merchandiser. Also on her team were Samantha Brennan, of Sparta, working as store designer; Danielle Christ, of Little Falls, as fashion merchandiser; and Daniela Burga Cabrera, of Wharton, as lead apparel designer.

The group decided to create a gender-neutral clothing collection, naming their shop Inclusion and proposing that it be located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

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The pop-up display of the store “Inclusion” created by students in the Design Concepts II class at CCM.

“What we’ve done is taken this class to a level that you don’t really see at a two-year school,” said Howard. “Not only do students now gain valuable hands-on experience, every single one of them ends up with store catalog they can include in their portfolio.”

“I never thought I would have this kind of experience,” said Tatis. “It gave me the opportunity to really learn about the world of fashion.”

As a result of her experience in the course, Tatis decided this semester to take an independent study class so she could work on designing handbags. When she graduates from CCM, Tatis hopes to transfer to the Fashion Institute of Technology or LIM College in New York, both of which are among the top design schools in the country.