Arts & Humanities
Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design
Pamela Thompson found her calling in the fashion design when she was only 13 years old. To acquire the skills needed to get her foot in the industry door, she earned an Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design at the University of Wisconsin. Her education, combined with raw talent, enabled Thompson to make a name for herself in the cutthroat world of fashion. She has been a head designer at Betsy Johnson, Dollhouse, and Heatherette, served as a freelance designer for L.A.M.B., and worked for Anna Sui as both a fashion and Web designer. Today, she runs Tiny Frock Shop, an online resale shop for vintage doll clothing.
Why did you choose to major in fashion design?
I have wanted to be a fashion designer since I was 13. I loved having creative outlets as a kid and figured I should try and find a profession to aspire to that allowed me to be creative and support myself. Fashion design turned out to be that avenue.
What did you like/dislike about majoring in fashion design?
I loved being able to design something wonderful on 2D paper and be able to turn it into a 3D, tangible object. The hardest part of majoring in fashion is the long hours to create the clothing. In school, you are responsible for the entire process from start to finish, unlike in the real design world where you have assistants, sewers, and patternmakers.
How has your major impacted your career or influenced your career path?
I was certain that this was the path I wanted to take and knew that majoring in fashion design was the first step to acquiring the skills I needed to get my foot in the door. Without that base knowledge, it is hard to compete in an already competitive industry.
What knowledge/skills did you obtain from majoring in fashion design that you put to use in your current position?
I put into use all skills I learned in college and life! From the obvious ó drawing, sewing, patternmaking ó to management, organizational skills, responsibility, loyalty, etc.
What advice would you give to students thinking about majoring in fashion design?
Make sure it is your true passion. It is an extremely cut-throat industry (much like Hollywood), and in order to survive, you must really want and have the innate need to design clothes. I think much of what is shown on reality TV shows about how the industry works is not reality. The work is long hours, competitive, heart breaking, and exhilarating all at the same time. My passion runs so deep for this career that all the down sides are outweighed by the up sides.
After you decide this is your calling, work as hard as you can, stay driven, be responsible, loyal, and kind, as this will make you stand out aside from your creativity. Make sure to do at least one internship while in school so you can secure some real-life experience in the industry before looking for your first paid job.