PROFILE | Shelby Gifford
What is your area of study?
Fashion Design & Merchandising with specializations in Merchandising and Fashion Styling. My minors are in Marketing and Journalism. My expected graduation date is May 2014.
You have put so much time and energy into your education and towards earning a degree. Now that you’ve almost earned it, how will it enable you to make a difference in your field?
The time and energy spent at SIU has prepared me intellectually for a job in the fashion industry; however, the connections I’ve made during my time as a student will be priceless when I go out on my own. Southern’s small class sizes have allowed me to form friendships with people who are passionate about the industry, and who will be beneficial to know out in the workforce. The design competitions I have been involved in, and meeting the alumni of the program, have also opened many doors for future job opportunities.
What do you hope to do with your degree?
I plan on pursuing a career in the visual realm of the fashion industry. I hope to find a job dealing with visual merchandising, creative directing, or working for a fashion magazine styling and writing columns.
What first interested you in the SIU School of Architecture and why did you choose SIU instead of another school?
Southern was the first fashion design school I visited, followed by Columbia College in Chicago. I chose SIU over Columbia because during my visit, the professors and director of the program made me feel so welcomed and part of the “Southern Family’. The student-teacher ratio here also played a large role in my final decision.
What area of your field interests you most and why?
Fashion Journalism and Fashion Styling interest me the most because of the creative freedom both areas of the industry offer. Fashion Journalism allows me to use my photography and writing skills to report fashion for magazines or blogs. Fashion Styling can be used in photo-shoots or makeovers. Through one of my classes, I had the chance to style a person through a process much like “What Not to Wear” on TLC. Seeing how that experience can change the way people feel about themselves is very rewarding.
What is your advice to students who may be thinking about applying to the Fashion Design & Merchandising program?
My advice to anyone interested in pursuing a degree in a creative field such as fashion design/merchandising and interior design is to just give it a try. If you are passionate about the area of study you choose, then the work will not always seem like “work’” because it is something you enjoy doing. Within the program, my advice is to stay focused on what inspires you… and you will surely find success!