Twenty-three students majoring in merchandising, apparel and textiles recently traveled to New York City with Lecturer Mika Pryor as part of a departmental study tour. The five daylong course provided three hours of elective credit (MAT 480) and lasted from Saturday, February 13 to Wednesday, February 17.

The optional study tour class allows MAT students to travel to New York City and learn about all aspects of the merchandising, apparel and textiles industries. While on the trip, students and faculty attend appointments with several retail companies ranging from small wholesale showrooms to million-dollar merchandising groups. The study tour is designed to expose students to career opportunities and involve them with hands-on learning about theories, ideas, strategies and insight representatives from each company have to share.

This year’s tour included visits at several retail operations such as Kate Spade, Ross Stores, Macy’s Inc., Kleinfeld Bridal, First2Print, Target, Tommy Hilfiger and Cotton Inc. During each visit, students were given a tour of the facility and a chance to speak one-on-one with employees about the company’s operations. These conversations focused on marketing products and targeting customers, as well as provided helpful advice on how the business functioned as a whole. In addition to the insider knowledge, students also benefitted from the potential networking opportunities.

“What sparked my interest in the trip was the vast number of opportunities the trip offered,” junior MAT student Sarah Macke said. “I had been in New York City prior to this trip, but I never had the opportunity to get behind the scenes tours of companies and brands, talk to the brand executives and network with individuals who work for these various companies and brands.”

Students are granted the chance to be immersed in the booming culture that New York has to offer considering they are in the city during Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week. Attending a fashion show during the course is an annual tradition. Students this year were able to attend two shows: the Ydamys Simo Fashion Show and the Prêt-à-Porter Fashion Show, both of which were held at the Affinia Hotel.

“Of course, my most memorable moments were the fashion shows,” junior MAT student Nick Fazzino shared. “Seeing these designers’ ideas come to life on the runway was truly an inspiration to me. It helped me realize without a doubt in my mind that New York City is where I want to move upon graduation and ultimately spend the rest of my life.”

While in the city, students were granted free time to explore as they chose. Both Fazzino and Macke were happy to shop stores such as Henri Bendel, Tiffany & Co., Zara, Chanel, and Hermѐs. The group was also fortunate to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.

The study tour as a whole is a very unique experience for all attendees. “I ultimately attended this trip because I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to truly see what the industry is like and gain more knowledge about all the various opportunities in the retail and fashion industry,” Macke said.

Both Macke and Fazzino highly suggest any prospective students attend future study tours without any hesitation. Besides being an extremely rewarding experience, it will be one you will never forget.

Sarah Macke and Nick Fazzino enjoying their spare time while shopping on Fifth Avenue in front of the Rockefeller Center.

Sarah Macke and Nick Fazzino enjoying their spare time while shopping on
Fifth Avenue in front of the Rockefeller Center.


Group photo students attending the Prêt-à-Porter Fashion Show.


A bird’s eye view of the first floor of the Kate Spade flagship store on Madison Avenue.


Author: Cara Croley
Contact: Cara Croley, cara.croley@uky.edu
Terms: RTM