What it's like to study Fashion at Centenary


Teresa Miley ’12

Fashion Merchandising major

Centenary College Fashion major »

“As soon as I saw Centenary’s web site,” comments Teresa Miley ’12, currently earning a B.F.A. degree in Fashion Merchandising, “I fell in love.” During her first year of undergraduate study, she says, “I grew even fonder of my school and everything it had to offer. By sophomore year, I had already become a Resident Assistant (RA), an Ambassador, President of the Fashion Group, and Vice President of Becca’s Closet (an organization that provides prom and homecoming dresses to underprivileged high school students), plus I’m on the Student Activities advertising team. Centenary offers so much opportunity.” Teresa explains that you know you’ve chosen the right college when you can call college ‘home.’ ”

Teresa has always known that she wanted to work in the fashion industry. “When I was a little kid, I liked to draw fashion designs,” she explains. “I’ve always wanted to be a fashion journalist, writing for some up-and-coming trendy magazine. Recently, I’ve been thinking about my goals more, and I realized I’d like to be more involved in the graphics aspect of it. I’d be really interested in working as the art director of a magazine or Web site.” She’d also like to pursue a graduate degree in art history.

“This is a great place to explore who you are and what you want to do,” Teresa says of Centenary. “If you want to challenge yourself, Centenary College is for you. Don’t be afraid to push yourself and to take chances here. In my time here, I’ve met some amazing people who have helped me to find myself and to discover my capabilities. Now I know how much I can handle, and I love Centenary for that.”

Melissa Bryant ’01

Product Development Manager

Centenary College Fashion major »

Melissa Bryant ’01 entered college knowing that she wanted to study fashion, but she was interested in an array of subjects. “Some college’s focus on the fashion design curriculum and little else,” she explains, “but Centenary, as a liberal arts college, had so much more to offer.”

Melissa, who earned a B.F.A. in Fashion Design from Centenary, currently works as a Product Development Manager at CFL NY, the Manhattan marketing office of CFL Enterprises, a Hong Kong-based apparel trading company.  “Every day at my job is different,” she comments. “I work on one major account, and on a given day I might be following up on questions about cost, graphic approvals, fit approvals, color approvals, etc. I also make sure we stay on schedule for production. I’m involved in the entire process of making a garment, from the initial sketch and measurements to delivery of the final product. I communicate with our team in Hong Kong and our customers, so I work long hours and answer late-night phone calls.”

“When I first entered the industry,” Melissa says, “I had a strong foundation in fashion design, especially in textiles—more so than many of my colleagues. I still use what I learned in Professor Virginia Elsasser’s classes. If you’re planning to pursue a career in fashion, Centenary will definitely guide you in the right direction.”

Melissa isn’t sure what the future holds for her, as she’s considering pursuing a graduate degree in elementary school special education. “I can also see myself working as the creative director of a mid-sized fashion company,” she says. “But whatever happens, I received a great education at Centenary. If you work hard there, you can succeed in whatever field you choose.”

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