via Ka Leo O Hawaii: UH Manoa Student College Newspaper & Media – APDM students experience New York hands-on.

By Junghee Lee


Published: Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Updated: Monday, August 3, 2009


Junghee Lee


In a new week-long program launched this summer, UH Mānoa Apparel Product Design and Merchandising (APDM) students were given the opportunity to experience the fashion industry firsthand in New York, a city many consider to be America’s fashion capital.

While there, APDM students engaged with a fashion journalist, visited designers and toured around the facilities of Rocawear, an urban brand of hip-hop clothing co-founded by Jay-Z, and world-leading fragrance company Firmenich.

“Many students want to move to New York when finished with school, but they haven’t visited NYC and don’t know what to expect,” said APDM professor Andy Reilly.

“I also wanted the students to see the business and industry first-hand and experience all that they have been taught and read in academic courses,” he added.

As soon as their spring semester finals were over, the students flew to New York to participate in the program, which lasted from May 16 through May 22.

“I’ve never been to New York City before, but I want to move here after I grad,” said senior APDM student Kaitlyn Taosaka. “We got to meet people, have informative meetings, and learn the design process and real life.”

In addition to current students, APDM graduates, like Sasha Dominy, were also allowed to participate in the program.

“Being a grad, I realized it’s harder to get into places on your own, but with a school, it’s easier to network,” said Dominy.

One of the excursions during the trip included meeting Daniel Silver and Steven Cox, founders and designers of premier menswear line Duckie Brown. Upon their visit to the Duckie Brown work arena, the students discovered that each article of clothing is not mass-manufactured but carefully hand-tailored.

“We don’t like to follow the trend; we make the trend,” said Silver, with that statement gaining a fan in Taosaka.

“I felt that if I were ever to work with a brand, I liked Duckie Brown’s ideology of being their own instead of following the trend,” she said.

Some of these opportunities are not available in Hawai’i.

“Hawai’i has its own attitude towards fashion,” said Reilly. “Not all but many of the ideas and fashions that we see originate in NYC companies, and I wanted students to understand how fashion spread from one center to another.”

The pioneering of this program was successful, according to Reilly, as students experienced life out of Hawai’i and got a feel for New York.

“This program will be continued, no doubt,” said Reilly. “Next time, the itinerary will include different fashion houses and different auxiliary businesses, such as a mannequin manufacturing company, textile manufacturing facility, a jobber and some facets of the diamond industry.”