2016 Design and Merchandising grad, Emily Engle, reflects on her time at Drexel and how her experience helped her land her current position as Global Business Editor at HYPEBEAST.
Did you have any area of emphasis?
At first I wanted to become a fashion designer, but after taking the D&M Magazine class I changed my mind.
Why did you choose to study Design and Merchandising?
It was always my dream to study fashion design, but I'm also a very practical person and understood that I could change my mind one day (which I did). I wanted the security of a business degree - just in case - along with the ability to express my creative side. D&M offers a healthy mix of both.
What made you choose Drexel for the Design and Merchandising program?
I was on a family trip visiting Philly during the initial stages of my college search. I was frustrated that I couldn't find a program outside of NYC that offered what I wanted to spend four years learning about. I ended up seeing a billboard with a massive dragon on it, thought it was epic, looked up "Drexel" and realized its D&M program was the perfect fit for me.
What was your favorite class?
Working on the D&M magazine was by far my favorite - it's the whole reason why I ended up shifting gears to pursue a career in media.
Where do you work and what is your current position?
I am currently the Global Business Editor at HYPEBEAST.
What do you love about your job?
I love having the ability to think both big and small picture each day. I spend part of the day telling the stories of individual people and companies through writing features, then shift gears for the rest of the day to step back and think about overall content strategy.
What Co-op(s) did you do? Position?
I completed a design assistant co-op at Nation Design in NYC. I was very grateful because the company gave me so much responsibility from the get-go - from assembling tech-packs to learning embroidery. Regardless of how awesome the company and job were, I realized a career in fashion wasn't for me - and that's okay. I also told myself I'd never move to NYC again, but here I am.
Did you study abroad? Where? How was it?
I studied abroad in Rome - it was a cool opportunity to develop interests outside of my major like art history and music theory. I also liked that the program gave us plenty of free time, which allowed us to break off and explore the beautiful country in whatever way we pleased.
Any unique experiences during your time at Drexel? Extra internships? Involvement?
I ended up becoming the Art Director of the D&M Magazine and the Social Media Coordinator of the Drexel Fashion Show. Both opportunities let me explore different areas of the industry I was hoping to be a part of post-graduation. I ended up falling in love with the magazine, which led me to ditching my design dreams to become an Editor.
Any advice for current students?
Take classes outside of D&M as often as you can (luckily D&M offers plenty of elective space for this!). There's no better way to understand a holistic perspective of your own major than from the outside in. You'll hear different perspectives of your own interests, and you'll be surprised by how many outside topics relate to fashion and retail. I remember taking an anthropology class that dissected the meaning behind possessions - what it means to want items, collect them, etc. That new topic alone made me question the entire fashion industry and my own habits in a way I likely wouldn't have outside of the class.
If you could give any advice to incoming first years, what would you say?
Be kind to your peers and collaborate with as many different people as possible. Challenge yourself to get to know each person in all of your smaller D&M classes. If you carefully shape your portfolio and career moves without compromising your values along the way, you will find a place for yourself in any industry. Be creative with how you enter a new field - picking your own niche perspective early on will allow you more opportunities catered toward your interests.
What are some of the most important things students should know about the retail industry when looking for a co-op or their first job?
Avoid overlooking smaller companies when searching for a co-op. Many people go for the big names, but smaller companies often need interns to fill larger shoes and take on a wider range of responsibilities.