A New Era for Marist Fashion

Radley Cramer, Director of the Marist College Fashion Program, retired in May, ushering in a new era for Marist Fashion. 

Marist College’s fabled Fashion Program entered a new era after program director Radley Cramer retired in May after spending over a decade in the position. An air of unease cloaked Steel Plant Studios, which houses both Fashion Merchandising and Fashion Design students. Though a replacement director has not yet been decided, Jennifer Finn, professional lecturer of Fashion Merchandising and Entrepreneurial Studies, has become the program’s figurehead since she became Department Chair of Fashion Design and Merchandising in July. Today, Marist Fashion continues to thrive, proving that the program is strong enough to sustain itself in times of uncertainty and grow in spite of change. 

While Finn believes that the “fashion program is essentially the same,” the college “...looked to adopt a department chair/program director model to better meet the needs of our students and faculty.” Finn also adds that the school will be seeking a Program Director whose experience will complement and further enhance the program. “We will look to hire a program director who can help grow and sustain the external industry partnerships that will raise the reputation of the Marist Fashion Program,” she said. 

The program itself has never felt more legitimate. Fashion Magazine At Marist (FM/AM), a publication of the Writing for Fashion and Fashion Magazine Production courses, recently won its third Gold Crown Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association of Columbia University. Marist Fashion students have participated in impressive internships at prestigious fashion companies including Abercrombie & Fitch, Kohl’s and others. The program also found a new, more substantial home in the Spring 2019 semester when it officially moved into the new Steel Plant Studios. This was a tremendous step for the program, which had been primarily located in one hallway of Donnelly Hall previously. According to Finn, “We have our largest freshman design class starting, and we continue to create and collaborate on experiences that will drive student opportunities and success.”  

While some students were initially concerned in anticipation of the Fall 2019 semester when they had several fashion classes cancelled toward the end of Spring 2019 post-registration and again toward the end of the summer, their worries were extinguished this semester.

“Having classes get canceled can be problematic for everyone, but especially seniors,” explained Alyssa Cogliandro, ‘20. “As a senior with over 125 credits, the class[es] I have left to take are very limited. Therefore if one, or in my case multiple, get canceled, it’s very hard to find additional classes to take.” 

Kenzie Nyhuis, a fellow senior fashion merchandising student, expressed the same concern after her one-credit fashion course was cancelled.

“I thought it would be really useful for me, and it was recommended to me,” she said. “I also needed 16 credits this semester, so I was just going to take it. The class was full, so I don’t know why it was canceled. Maybe I’ll take it next semester...if they have it,” Nyhuis shrugged. 

While Nyhuis and Coligandro were initially upset about the change of classes, they were relieved to realize upon their return to Marist for the Fall 2019 semester to find that the program is considerably unchanged, despite Cramer’s departure and the original scare of the class cancellations. 

“In all honesty, I have not noticed a huge change in the department,” Cogliandro said. Nyhuis agreed. 

When asked about the class cancellation situation, Finn instead mentions her excitement for the Spring 2020 course offerings. “As a department, we look to balance our offerings across our curriculum that best meet the needs of our students,” she said. “We carefully examined our Spring 2020 schedule, and we are excited about the many opportunities and course offerings that we have in place.” 

Despite this initial setback of class cancellations, Finn and students are anxious to see what the future holds for the Marist Fashion program during the 2019-20 academic year. Nyhuis, who is participating in one of the courses that creates FM/AM, said, “I’m excited for the writing for fashion class and that I’m taking a majority of fashion classes.” 

Finn echoed this sentiment, mentioning that she is “excited” regarding the direction the Marist Fashion program is headed in. She also added that students should stay tuned for an upcoming surprise announcement. 

“We have an interesting collaboration we’ll be announcing soon that our students can be involved in that will be of great interest to our Marist community,” she said.

Madison Zoey VettorinoComment