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First-Years declare Fashion and Apparel Design major

For Miah Brown ’26, Darwin Childers ’26 and Hayden Wendel ’26, declaring a major in Fashion and Apparel Design was an easy choice. All three First-Year students at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) have a deep personal interest in fashion and will be among the first graduates of MIAD’s new Fashion and Apparel Design program.

“I’ve always been interested in clothes. That was my escape … that’s what I would do to de-stress from school,” says Childers. “When I saw it was a major–this is the world that I’m obsessed with, so I had to go for it.” Childers currently focuses on making reproductions of rock shirts and vintage clothing using skills he gained in his First-Year Experience screenprinting class.

“This is something I’d rather do for the rest of my life,” says Brown, who initially enrolled at MIAD with the aim to study fine art. “I’m excited to make a lot of dresses,” they continue. In fact, Brown has already made several dresses in their time at MIAD, including an installation in the lobby called “The Chocolate Dress,” which links all five senses to create an immersive and personalized experience. A passionate dressmaker, Brown will also be contributing work for MIAD’s annual fundraising gala Creative Fusion, which will feature several of Brown’s garments. “They are pretty insane when it comes to dresses,” laughs Brown’s classmate Wendel.

For Wendel, sustainability and accessibility are at the forefront of his enthusiasm for fashion. “I’m interested in making clothing for myself rather than an industry,” he says. “Maybe in the process, I can correct some of the errors of that industry.” Wendel is excited about learning from leaders in sustainable fashion like Sarah Eichhorn, adjunct faculty at MIAD who spearheaded the Fashion and Apparel Design major. “I’m excited to have positive-minded people leading this program,” he continues.

The Fashion and Apparel Design major, which officially launches in fall 2023, asks students to develop their identities as designers exploring sustainability, diversity and collaboration. With the recent addition of the Textiles Lab, as well as planned renovations on the second floor to add classroom and work space for new Fashion and Apparel Design students, MIAD’s newest designers will have ample opportunity to shape the future of the fashion industry.

Learn more about MIAD’s new Fashion and Apparel Design major!


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