Please tell us about yourself

Fine arts graduate student Prerna Suri, Product Developer and Merchandiser at Byer California said she was excited to apply for the Master of Fashion program in the first round of students in spring 2014.

“If it was the first batch of some other university, not Kent State, I wouldn’t have (applied),” she said. “But I knew Kent State. I was like, it won’t be something wrong.”

Suri, 26, is an international student from India. She earned a bachelor’s in fashion design from Pearl Academy of Fashion, New Delhi, India and B.S. in fashion merchandising from Kent State.

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How did you get into an offbeat, unconventional and interesting area such as merchandising?

 She is currently working on a master’s degree in fashion through the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, Kent State. The 30-credit-hour graduate program, MFash for short, began in fall 2014. It combines curricula from both the design and merchandising sides of fashion. Most fashion graduate programs around the world look at design, or the art aspect, and merchandising, or the business aspect, separately.

 By studying the two fields together, Kent’s Fashion School is doing something few other schools are doing, said Catherine Leslie, graduate studies coordinator for the Fashion School. “We wanted the opportunity for students to see (fashion) in a more holistic way and to be able to make connections between the two (areas),” she said. “We have a good number of faculty who weren’t just (about) testing your blood to see if you’re art or business.”

 Tell us about your experiences in this degree program

 Suri said that while she appreciates the flexibility and resources of the program, not being able to receive instruction and tips from upperclassmen has been difficult.

“I wish there was a senior batch in which we could take guidance from,” Suri said. “There is a different level talking to a professor and talking to a friend.”

 As part of her coursework, Suri teaches a fashion technology class and does research in the TechStyleLAB, the fashion technology lab, and is able to receive 100 percent tuition coverage in exchange.

 Students of the Fashion School gain experiential learning from resources like the TechStyleLAB, the Fashion School Store and study-away trips, Campbell said.

“There are very few fashion schools that have the kind of resources we have here and are at the same scale,” Campbell said.

Students in the program are given opportunities to participate in an industry practicum, research project and/or individual investigation at the school’s New York City studio.

“This school has (a lot) to offer,” Suri said. “If you have ideas, they don’t say, ‘You cannot do this.’ They say, ‘Explore it.’”