Student Stories: Arizona State University’s B.A. of Fashion Degree

August 27, 2017

With Arizona State University’s new Bachelors of Fashion degree officially in full swing, Urbanite Runway spoke with some of the students who will be entering the degree from other universities about their reasons for transferring (schools or majors), their goals for the school year, and more.


Photo Courtesy of Cora Tallman

Cora Tallman

Transfer School: Mesa Community College, where she received an Associate’s Degree in General Studies.

Tallman said she took a few fashion classes at MCC while originally pursuing a degree in  The Arts but then changed her degree to General Studies to align with the 90/30 program at Northern Arizona University after the fashion classes at MCC only took her so far. Tallman said she was working toward a Bachelors in Humanities degree within the 90/30 program, which was the closest she could get to fashion before ASU’s announcement.

“There was no hope for fashion design students before ASU stepped in and was like, ‘Hey, we’re going to offer a Bachelors here,'” Tallman said.

Tallman is looking to pursue fashion design at ASU, in order to create her own plus size line in the future.

“Growing up, I literally only was able to shop in the old ladies’ section of every frickin’ store, so I guess, I’m inspired to make something not old lady for people just like me,” Tallman said.

“Everybody here who has a fashion design dream never got the chance to really go any further with it besides their Associates, because no school really offered it unless you moved out of state,” Tallman said. “This is the first time Arizona is welcoming the whole fashion community and that’s crazy to like, even see it happen.”



Photo Courtesy of Aimee Valdivia.

Aimee Valdivia 

School: Arizona State University

Prior Major: Architecture

Valdivia is an international student from Venezuela who came to the United States to go to college.

Architecture was a beautiful major and career, Valdivia said, “…but it just wasn’t the thing I wanted to do in my life.”

“I’m better at designing clothes than designing buildings, if I’m being honest,” she added.

Venezuela, according to Valdivia, doesn’t provide students with many university options to study what they choose.

“The fashion programs that they offer over there, it’s more like a technical course that you’ve got and that’s it,” she said. “It’s not like an actual major, so you won’t get recognition outside. So it would be as if I just went to like a normal schooling center and I just decided to do arts and crafts or something like that.”

Valdivia hopes to first try her hand at styling then eventually move to design, particularly environmental based fashion by using recycled materials or mixed textures when designing garments, Valdivia added.

Valdivia also said she sees the discipline in both majors, since they are both design and drawing based.

“You can make fashion out of anything, and for architecture, you can use any materials you want,” Valdivia added.



Photo Courtesy of Chris Camp

Chris Camp

Year: Sophomore

School: Arizona State University

Due to family issues at home that forced him to leave ASU and return back to his home state of Illinois, Camps started designing clothes as a hobby.

“It’s kind of one of the only things that I’ve gone into without doubt. I kind of did it just for the fact that I enjoyed doing it other than thinking about the fact that ‘oh, this could come out bad,'” Camp said.

Camp said that he’s leaning toward design as a fashion track, but is also interested in learning the business side of fashion.

“I definitely do want to go into design mainly because I want to be able to create my own ideas and really put myself out there,” Camp added.

Camp said he feels that the West Coast is the best for fashion, compared to staying in his home state of Illinois.

When asked about the importance and benefits of the new fashion degree in Arizona, Camp said, “The fact that ASU’s program is just fashion and it’s not really honed in on anything is amazing…I feel like anybody who goes into fashion does not have the same mindset as the next person going into fashion…So this way, it’s a broad topic [that] allows you to really express and explore what you really want to get out of it and I feel like it’s going to be very beneficial because you’re not really limiting the students to their ideas, you’re kind of like working with them and broadening the ideas.”



Photo Courtesy of Heather Morse

Heather Morse 

Year: Sophomore

Transfer School: Northern Arizona University

Prior Major: Marketing

Morse heard about ASU’s fashion program from her mom, who works at ASU. She said she had also heard about the degree previously, but it hadn’t started at the time.

Morse was considering going out of state to study fashion after NAU, due to its close distance to Arizona, but decided to switch when she heard about the new program at ASU.

“For people that really want to pursue fashion but can’t go out of state, I think that’s really cool and if this program wasn’t open, I probably wouldn’t be going into fashion, which I’ve wanted to pretty much my whole life, so I think it’s really cool that it opened up a new path for me, I guess,” Morse said.


Photo Courtesy of Anna Barry. Photo © Tiffany Roose.


Anna Barry

Year: Sophomore

Transfer School: The University of Arizona

Track: Styling, Event Planning, or Interior Decorating

Barry’s stepmom is Sherri Barry, one of FABRIC‘s co-founders, so Barry heard from her stepmom about ASU’s new Bachelors of Fashion degree.

Barry decided to transfer to ASU because she didn’t like the environment in Tucson and the U of A’s retailing school wasn’t exactly what she was looking for, but according to Barry, was the closest thing to a fashion major.

“Once I heard of the fashion major at ASU, that was kind of the big thing that made me want to switch,” Barry said.

Barry was also considering going to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles, until she heard about ASU.

“I think that their aren’t really any programs like that [FIDM] in Arizona and being so close to L.A., a lot of people are interested in fashion, and it’s a great way to bring the fashion industry to Arizona, especially with the FABRIC building and everything,” Barry said.

Barry hopes to get an internship and do well in her classes this year at ASU, though she was able to get a leg up from Sherri this past summer, through an internship at FABRIC.

“I was working with Sherri this summer, so that helped me get kind of an ‘in’ to what it would be like,” Barry said. “I recently just helped her with a fashion show [the Brave Wings Fashion Show] and I did styling there, so that was really cool.”



Photo Courtesy of Jonah Gossett

Jonah Gossett

Year: Sophomore

School: Arizona State University

Prior Major: Business

“I really wanted a more hands on approach to fashion because the business program kind of sets you up for a ‘suit and tie’ job, which isn’t what I thought going into it,” Gossett said of ASU’s business program and why he decided to transfer.

Gossett said he looks forward to “building a network with people who have similar plans in the fashion industry as me.” Another goal, Gossett said, is, “just to narrow down the focus of my major so that I could actually build skill in the subject, and not finish my college degree and then go in blindly into the fashion world.”

Gossett first heard about the new fashion program at ASU from going to some of ASU’s Business of Fashion club meetings.

“At the time, I took it with a grain of salt, but then at the end of the year, I realized that that’s what I wanted to do,” Gossett said, “so I made moves and talked to an advisor and all that.”

Gossett said that he’s looking forward to learning from experienced fashion faculty and getting inspired, “because I’ve been on my own my whole fashion journey and it’s kind of lonely.”

Gossett has designed streetwear recreationally that he has sold to friends, but he hopes to pursue design one day as a career.

“I want to be a fashion designer whether that be at first for a brand or from the start my own brand, but at some point, I do want to have my own brand and design executively for that,” Gossett added.

When asked what fashion means to him, Gossett said, “Fashion is an expression. The ability you have through fashion to express yourself however which way you want, there’s really no limit to fashion. In the world, you can’t really be an athlete if you’re not athletic. There’s a lot of limitations, and fashion is pretty much the most freeing, the most liberating expression, because nobody can tell you what to put on your body…”

On the topic of the importance of ASU’s new fashion degree, Gossett said, “The fashion industry in Arizona is always expanding, so by centralizing a program at a school as big as ASU, it’s really important because it allows us to flood the market and put Arizona on the map in terms of fashion in the U.S..”


A big ‘thank you’ to Matt Ransom, Academic Success Coordinator at ASU, for providing Urbanite Runway with assistance in outreach to interview many incoming fashion students!

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