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Get Schooled in Fashion

University students looking to dress up their educational experience may want to consider a major in Apparel Merchandising and Product Development.

Around 250 students are in the AMPD program, one of the largest majors in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences, said Jean Hines, AMPD associate professor.

Hines said before the AMPD program changed in the mid-90s, its emphasis was on the history of fashion and fashion design. She said Diane Frey, AMPD coordinator and associate professor, played a big role in shifting the program’s focus to apparel merchandising and product development to reflect changes in the industry.

‘It’s really looking more at the retail side of the industry and then product development … coming up with ideas of what the product’s going to be and then deciding how it’s going to be made and where it’s going to be made,’ Hines said.

Hines and AMPD Instructor Phyllis Henry said students in the major have completed required co-ops for stores in Bowling Green and around the country, including Diversity Boutique in downtown Bowling Green, Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. and other companies in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Wisconsin.

‘We have a lot of students, of course, who will do sales associate kinds of positions, entry level positions,’ Hines said, describing the work AMPD majors perform during co-ops. ‘[Students] have been in corporate headquarters in product development, in buying, we have some who have been in quality assurance.’

Bridgett Betka, a junior in AMPD, completed a co-op with American Eagle Outfitters at The Shops at Fallen Timbers over the summer and is continuing it this semester.

‘I am basically like a seller,’ Betka said. ‘I work in the fitting rooms mostly and I’m just starting to do stock, so I’ll start learning how the stock comes in, how to process and control it.’

Betka said her dream job is working in the Big Apple.

‘I want to go to New York,’ she said. ‘Everyone wants to go to New York, but I really want to go to New York and either be a buyer or a fashion forecaster for a company.

‘I can’t stand being [in Bowling Green],’ Betka said. ‘It’s too small and quiet … I’m a really busy person, so the city that never sleeps is definitely where I want to be.’

Betka’s wish may be granted through her work with American Eagle Outfitters; she’s been talking to her manager about transferring to the store’s new location in New York City.

‘She said she would put in a good word for me,’ Betka said. ‘I’m so excited, because it would be fun to transfer over there and then become a manager and do stuff with American Eagle.’

Hines said majors in the AMPD program are required to either complete a marketing minor or spend a year at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, where they study either advertising and communications or textile development and marketing.

‘In addition to getting knowledge about that industry, the fashion apparel industry, they also have a strong background in business,’ Hines said.

Madeleine Revis, a senior who switched from accounting to the AMPD major, is completing the marketing minor. She has worked at Old Navy for three years and hopes to eventually own her own company.

‘AMPD is a lot of fun,’ she said. ‘I really feel at home.’

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