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KCC Faculty on Teaching

KCC Faculty on Teaching

Q&A with Sharon Parker

How did you get into teaching?
I got into teaching by challenging myself to give seven non-English-speaking Asian students at the NY School of Design the opportunity to learn the technical skills of draping. The students all worked in the fashion field as sample makers or cutters and wanted to explore a new position as a draper. I taught evening and weekend classes to those seven determined students, who mastered the form of draping by simply watching me drape muslin on a dress form. These extraordinary students remarkably surprised me by repeating fashion terms and phrases during the demonstrations. The experience at the NY School of Design, a trade school that first believed in me, was rewarding. The challenges were difficult at times, but the outcome was successful. I do what I love and I love what I do!

What career did you imagine for yourself when you were in college?
While attending the High School of Fashion Industries, I knew exactly the career path I wanted to pursue as I continued my education at Fashion Institute of Technology: I wanted to become a sleepwear/loungewear fashion designer. I promised myself not to just settle for a job, but to aim for a career. The world of fashion has given me so many great opportunities to work with well-known designers, top-notch patternmakers, and the best sample makers who have shared their skillful sewing techniques. I am forever grateful!

What do you love about teaching?
I love motivating and inspiring students to be creative, unique and stylish — to step out of the box! It’s amazing to see the outcome of the creative designs developed by the students. The design begins with a sketch and is executed into a final garment using all the technical tools of the trade as they embark on their career goals in the fashion industry.

What’s your favorite teaching experience?
I have several favorite teaching experiences: I enjoy being a hands-on teacher, taking into account that students learn at their own pace and some require one-on-one lab sessions. I also like seeing the joy and excitement of the students as they showcase their designer’s mini-collection in the annual KCC Fashion Show. I really enjoy teaching senior citizens students from the My Turn Program and students with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the Melissa Riggio Higher Education Program. These programs allow me to interact with the students and help them embrace a new or second career in fashion design. Creativity stimulates the mind and the opportunity for students to express themselves through their designs.

In what ways do you bring your professional experience into the classroom?
I like to share my personal experiences in the classroom through conversations and Q & A sessions. I take my students on a fashion journey ride of 35 years of my professional experiences as a fashion designer/pattern designer in the intimate apparel market, sharing the ups and downs, successes, and remarkable relationships that I still have today with my fashion peers. Students are intrigued and very interested to know all about the fashion industry. And they have many questions regarding their future career in fashion.

What advice do you have for current students?
The advice I have for current students is continue your education and NEVER give up on your dreams. There will be obstacles along your fashion journey but don’t give up on your “Passion for Fashion.”