MU might be most known for its journalism and business programs, but the department of textile and apparel management is also nationally acclaimed.
Fashionista, one of the largest independent fashion news sites, ranked MU’s department of textile and apparel management 17th on its list of the top 20 fashion schools in the country. MU was one of only three public universities included on the list.
MU's department is a unique program that offers insight into the production and business of fashion, according to Fashionista.
"It’s an award-winning department with internationally respected faculty,” the website stated.
The website compiled its list by looking at data, jobs procured, opinions of people in the industry and standout program offerings, according to the July 2011 article.
The department provides its students with an extremely well-rounded education that focuses on creativity, sustainability, globalization and leadership, academic adviser Jaime Lynn Mestres said.
“We have such a strong curriculum base and industry connections,” she said. “We offer a lot of opportunities for our students.”
Mestres also cites the school’s research-oriented faculty as another reason for its success. Professors study a multitude of topics, including economics, trade, consumer behavior, history, product development and management, socio-cultural studies, retail management and environmental issues, according to the TAM website. Professors make it a priority to include these research areas in their classrooms.
The department is also responsible for the “Mizzou Plaid” that debuted in 2006 and is now featured in several products at the MU Bookstore.
Though the department does not put on any fashion shows of its own, many of its students exercise their fashion muscles in the Columbia community.
Last year, Mustard Seed Fair Trade was a part of the "Freedom by Fashion" show in Jesse Auditorium and included several textile and apparel management students in its production. The store also hosts a few textile and apparel management interns each year.
Mustard Seed Fair Trade executive director Jessica Canfield said she enjoys the relationship her store has with the department of textile and apparel management.
“I have really enjoyed the collaborative nature of the department as a whole and the fact that they are just open to embracing fair trade,” Canfield said. “They are very amicable to work with. Our opportunities match really well with student interest.”
Canfield said in addition to providing internship opportunities to textile and apparel management students, she occasionally speaks in classes and delivers presentations regarding fair trade.
The two most popular internships for MU students at Mustard Seed Fair Trade are the buying and merchandising positions. Students in these positions play a major role in the daily functioning of the store and are an integral part of the store’s success, Canfield said.
“The MU student really takes ownership over that position and opportunity,” Canfield said. “They have a high level of excellence. It’s a great relationship both ways. Stepping into that position requires you to have effective leadership.”