by Nicole Allen

On Tuesday, Nov. 17 two campus clubs, Elite Knight rends and the Student Business Association (SBA), hosted a fashion panel event. The panel consisted of Barbra Newman Mannix, Michael Dennedy, Nneka Cruse and Frankie K. who all worked in the business and communications side of the fashion industry.

Barbra studied advertising and marketing at Boston University, and was a part of the Macy’s buying team where she worked mainly to buy men’s clothing from different designers to Macy’s. Barbra is no longer working in the fashion industry and spent 11 years as a buyer. Since Barbra hasn’t worked in the fashion industry for a while, she was able to shed light on how different it has become. She joked about how the technology has rapidly advanced when she talks about how she had to communicate with other Macy’s offices around the world though fax. She gave useful advice to the students at Mount Saint Mary College (MSMC) about making connections in the industry as well stating, “Never meet anyone without knowing where they went to school or what you have in common with them.”

Michael started working in fashion by interning a at a private label company that hired him full time to be a sales consultant. Michael would consult stores such as Kohl’s, Walmart and JC Penny. Michael is no longer working the fashion industry but says that networking is very important in both fashion and business, stating “You need to really focus on your network and connect with people.”

Nneka is a Mount Saint Mary College alumni who graduated in 2005. After two years of trying to figure out what she wanted to pursue as a career, she attend the fashion institute of technology in New York. Even when Nneka attended the Mount she was obsessed with sneakers. It was at FIT where she decided to pursue a career at a sneaker company. When she went to visit Footlocker she was very enthusiastic and passionate about the company that she was offered an interview. Now as a an Assortment Manager for children’s shoes, her advice to the students who want to make it in fashion is to “Really focus on what you want to do, learn excel and learn as much as possible about technology especially if you want to go into the fashion industry.”

Frankie K. is a local clothing designer who is trying to start up his clothing line. He graduated Mount Saint Mary College in 2006, however it wasn’t until after trying to be an actor in New York that he discovered his interest in design. He talks about his clothes stating “I want to have wearable art that means something to me.” The Frankie K. clothing line features an assortment of T-shirts that he has local artist help design for him. Frankie’s advice for the students at the event was “If you have a passion, go for it.”

Overall each person on the panel brought a unique take on the fashion industry. This event was also made possible by the Career Center’s Kathleen O’Keefe and marketing professor Colleen Kirk.