Fashion design at UA measures up to schools in cities like New York

By Evan Edwards
Staff Writer 

TUSCALOOSA — New York, Los Angeles and Chicago are just a few of the places that might come to mind when you think of the location of a fashion school. 

However, the University of Alabama tops many people’s lists when they choose to study design or fashion merchandising. 

Despite the array of city-based art schools across the country, UA proves that bustling streets and metro cards are not necessary to receive a credible fashion degree. The sewing machines of Doster Hall, home base for the department of clothing, textiles and interior design, were actually once used by the season six winner of “Project Runway Allstars”—Anthony Williams.  

In search for a unique resume, Haley Roach, a freshman majoring in apparel and textiles with a concentration in fashion retail, selected Alabama for her higher education experience. 

“I chose Alabama because I wanted to stand out more in my degree,” Roach said. “I didn’t want to go to a big fashion school like FIT and be one of the millions.” 

Roach, a native of Nashville, understands there is more knowledge to acquire when it comes to the fashion world. 

“I’m in a lot of introduction classes right now, so it’s more of learning the basics and backgrounds,” Roach said. “Like the fabrics that make up clothes and the fibers and yarns that make up the fabric.”

Makenzie Tokes, a senior who is studying apparel design, said that it was her parents who encouraged her to attend the University of Alabama. 

“My parents wanted me to study at a university instead of an art or design school in case I ended up not liking design and wouldn’t be able to change my major as easily as a four-year institution,” Tokes said. 

Although Tokes, who is originally from Florida, did not decide to attend fashion schools like SCAD and FIT for undergraduate, she doesn’t count them out in future endeavors. 

“I know they do courses for college graduates, so I may look into some of those to keep my skills going after graduating from UA,” Tokes said. 

As for now, Tokes plans to move to Dallas over the summer and launch her own online store.

“If  I decide Dallas is a good fit for my online boutique, I am going to open a storefront there and start manufacturing my designs in my store,” Tokes said. 

Maggie Crow, a 2020 UA graduate who majored in apparel and textiles with a concentration in fashion retail, appreciates the versatile education she received as a fashion student. 

“I think the fashion program at UA is elite, of course, but I personally like how much it stays on the business track and requires so many basic courses in business,” Crow said. “I still feel like I got an extremely well-rounded education—even if I don’t end up fully in the fashion industry.” 

 Crow also credits The University of Alabama’s elite stature for the numerous employment opportunities she has encountered. 

“I’m super proud to be a Bama grad,” Crow said. “I have found, through jobs and internships that Alabama graduates have an excellent reputation in work industries.”