Senior Designer Carla Ashton-Carroll gave fashion students practical advice yesterday, urging them to brush up on geography and business and to research the companies they’re going to be working for in the future.
“Ask yourself ethical questions,” she said, referring to working conditions of some overseas manufacturers. “Unless people like us press for action, it’s not going to change.”
Born in East Africa to English parents, Ashton-Carroll talked to students about her extensive travels as a designer for Rhona Sutton LLC London & New York.
She’s also worked for Bernado and Donatella, as well as the Oscar label for Oscar de la Renta.
“I’ve seen half the world through my job,” she said. “I’ve been a lot of places I wouldn’t otherwise have gone.”
Those working in the fashion industry not only have to travel to meet with oversea suppliers and manufacturers, but many designers travel for inspiration, Ashton-Carroll said.
“Fashion is constantly changing and constantly evolving,” she said. “For inspiration, you’re always looking for new things. You don’t know where inspiration is going to strike.”
In addition to researching other cultures, Ashton-Carroll urged students to get a basic understanding of business and financial markets.
"You don't have to read business news, but keep abreast of the issues," she said.
In the meantime, she encouraged student designers to pursue their big ideas while in college.
“Explore your interests and what really excites you,” she said, noting that once a designer works for a company, she’s limited to that style.
Seniors are currently working on their designs for the annual student fashion show this spring. Ashton-Carroll is one of several industry professionals who have visited campus this fall to critique student works.
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