Meet SUNY Ulster’s Fashion Majors: Class of 2017

Fashion design sign

This May, the first group of SUNY Ulster students with a Fashion Design major will be graduating! To celebrate them and their accomplishments, here’s a snapshot of each of these talented students.

Safiyyah Alston

How Interest in Fashion Began: “When I was 4 or 5, my mom and grandma started teaching me how to make doll clothes and mini-quilts. I loved dressing my dolls up!”

Recommendations for Fashion Students: “Stay focused, but don’t lose the excitement and joy you get out of fashion.”

Favorite Part of SUNY Ulster: “The environment! There are so many different people with tons of different ideas and opinions that are so nice to be around and learn from.”

Favorite Classes: “I learned the most new information from my textiles class. I never knew how much went into the fibers and general descriptions. It was amazing and will stay with me.”

Ulster’s Influence on Career Decisions: “I didn’t think I was interested in menswear whatsoever until I had an independent study with Kristin Flynn, and she had me designing men’s clothing.”


Shauna Caines

Recommendations for Fashion Students: “You can go far in fashion. Many people believe that being a fashion designer on the runways in Paris is the only job that there is, and if you don’t make it that big, then there are no other jobs in fashion. Just do what you love and don’t be afraid to take risks. Be different!”

Inspirations: “Growing up, I would always watch Japanese designers that designed their clothing based on culture. I’ve always loved how they would bleach their clothing and make a unique version of something that would have been plain.”

Reasons for Choosing SUNY Ulster: “SUNY Ulster was close to home. I am able to go to school and continue my daily lifestyle as well.”

Favorite Part of SUNY Ulster: “Meeting students with the same desire and being able to build relationships with them, and hearing the success stories of my teachers as well.”

Favorite Fashion Classes: CAD, Costume History, and Sewing


Erica Carlson

How Interest in Fashion Began: “I fell in love with fashion design when I noticed how clothing changed what a person felt like. Clothing shows so much of a person’s personality if used right.”

Inspirations: Graphic designers Wish, James Jean, and Ario Anindito, as well as video games like Horizon Zero Dawn and Alice Madness

Feelings On the Fashion Program: “I have loved the program from day one. There are always new, exciting things to learn and experience in the world of fashion.”

Favorite Fashion Classes: Costume History, Drawing Design, and Studio Design

Ulster’s Influence on Career Decisions: “I knew that I wanted to go into fashion since the summer before seventh grade. Ulster has just reinforced my resolve about going into the fashion industry.”


Jeffrey Gomez

How Interest in Fashion Began: “While in high school and my early years of college, theater was a big part of my life. I always enjoyed being backstage more. In college, you could find me in the costume shop during rehearsal.”

Recommendations for Fashion Students: “Do your research; there are so many career options.”

Steps After Ulster: Attending FIT for their Technical Design program

Favorite Fashion Classes: Pattern Making and CAD

Ulster’s Influence on Career Decisions: “At first I thought about being a costume designer, then CAD designer, then surface/textile designer. Finally, I have decided to pursue technical design.”


Sarah Jayne

How Interest in Fashion Began: “I was interested in the fashion industry from a young age. Recently, I became interested in fashion and body positivity. Plus-size clothing, formalwear, and streetwear have always piqued my interest.”

Recommendations for Fashion Students: “Fashion design isn’t all about wearing stylish outfits. It takes willingness, dedication, patience, and passion. Sometimes fashion design is really stressful, but it’s so worth it.”

Steps After Ulster: Attending Marist’s Fashion Program

Favorite Fashion Classes: Illustration and Draping

Ulster’s Influence on Career Decisions: “The fashion program at Ulster has really opened my eyes to how much really goes into fashion design. People underestimate the time designing takes.”


Libbey Klosterman

Dream Job: “I would love to be a fashion buyer and be able to travel the world.”

Signature Style: “My signatures style is influenced by the 1990s. I want to look like I walked out of the Fresh Prince of Belair!”

Current Piece: A traditional Filipino dress

Favorite Part of SUNY Ulster: “My favorite part of attending SUNY Ulster is the environment and my fashion design professors.”

Ulster’s Influence on Career Decisions: “The fashion program experience overall has helped me grow as a person and given me confidence to broaden my career decisions.”


Theresa Naske

Recommendations for Fashion Students: “Be prepared to work hard. Fashion is not only glamorous gowns- it is everyday clothing, and even the simplest designs require artistry, math, proportion, and good communication.”

Favorite Part of SUNY Ulster: “Instructors! They are helpful, compassionate, and knowledgeable.”

Feelings On the Fashion Program: “It’s demanding, comprehensive, and wonderful!”

Favorite Fashion Classes: Computer-Aided Design and Draping/Pattern-Making

Ulster’s Influence on Career Decisions: “Getting to know industry professionals through review days and internships has shown me that a career in fashion is possible.”


Nicole Pearson

How Interest in Fashion Began: “I have always liked making clothes. I bought myself a sewing machine when I was 12 and went from there.”

Recommendations for Fashion Students: “Don’t underestimate yourself, don’t procrastinate, and never give up when something goes wrong.”

Favorite Part of SUNY Ulster: “The friendships that I’ve made with my classmates in the fashion program and seeing how much we’ve progressed over the past two years.”

Feelings On the Fashion Program: “It’s excellent. The teachers all have years of experience in the industry and push our creativity every day.”

Favorite Fashion Classes: CAD, Design Studio, Patternmaking, Draping


Mirabai Trent

Dream Job:  Learning traditional weaving and embroidery practices from around the world to create and import items for her own business

Recommendations for Fashion Students: “Fashion is a lot more complex than what most would think. There’s so many different worlds inside the world of fashion that work to create everything we wear.”

Steps After Ulster: Volunteering in other countries

Reasons for Choosing SUNY Ulster: “They have an early college program, so I could work to get my degree in fashion while also getting a high school equivalency.”

Favorite Part of SUNY Ulster: Visiting the Design Library with fashion CAD class


Amari Turman-Roosa

Dream Job: Working as a company or celebrity stylist

Inspirations: Gucci, Betsey Johnson, Alice + Olivia

Feelings On the Fashion Program: “I love it. We’re like a small family!”

Favorite Fashion Classes: Draping and Pattern Making

Ulster’s Influence on Career Decisions: “The experience really made fashion grow more on me and reassured me that this is what I want to do.”


Dougie Tyler

Inspirations: “Music. Music has had such a huge influence and impact on everything I design. Some of my greatest designs came from simply listening to a song.”

Dream Job: Designing costumes for Cher or Madonna

Style: “I absolutely refuse to design boring clothes. Even if I design a simple pencil skirt, the fabric will always be bold and look like it’s one of a kind. I want the women I dress to feel like they can conquer the world in my designs.”

Favorite Part of SUNY Ulster: “The professors in the fashion department. They genuinely care about me and push me to strive for the absolute best in my life.”

Feelings on the Fashion Program: “I think it’s an amazing opportunity for anyone to get real, knowledgeable experience in fashion and have an advantage over students who go directly to schools like F.I.T.  I now feel confident going to larger universities.”



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3 Comments on Meet SUNY Ulster’s Fashion Majors: Class of 2017

  1. Mat JeckerByrne, PhD // June 19, 2017 at 10:34 AM //

    Are there any classes or themes in classes which review fashion and function for atypical consumers and models? For instance, are any faculty or staff working on fashions for 4x+ and consumers with disabilities? This seems like a wanting fashion niche where an entrepreneurial person with a human services mid set could “help others” and make a ton of money from a group of consumers who are traditionally neglected by the fashion world.

  2. Allegra Condon // June 20, 2017 at 10:55 AM //

    Ulster’s fashion classes typically contain the foundational steps of creating fashion pieces (patternmaking, sewing, etc.) adapted to fit the interests and goals of the individual students taking each class, so there is no class specifically on clothing for atypical consumers. That being said, students interested in it can learn more and create pieces fitting that niche in any of their classes. We had one such student this past year.

  3. Mat JeckerByrne, PhD // June 20, 2017 at 11:15 AM //

    Thanks. There is money to be made in this unexplored niche as well as good work to be done to contribute to individuals self worth through fashion expression. Mat

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