Courtney Jemison

Courtney Jemison

Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors

Now an associate buyer for Stitch Fix, 2015 fashion merchandising grad credits FACS faculty members for helping launch his career

What has been your proudest accomplishment since graduating?

One of my proudest accomplishments was launching my podcast BLK N FSHN in the summer of 2019. I developed the concept during grad school and had the opportunity to conduct interviews and discussions with Black fashion industry professionals, most notably Miss. Jay Alexander from America’s Next Top Model. I’ll always find pride in creating a platform to highlight some of the most marginalized voices in the fashion industry. 

What was your favorite class?

My favorite class was Dress, Culture, and Society with Dr. (Katalin) Medvedev. This was the first class that really forced me to think about fashion beyond the latest trends, but a step further into understanding the “why” behind what we wear. This curiosity continues to drive my personal interest in fashion history as well as my career as a buyer. 

Who was your favorite faculty member?

I had two favorite professors. The first was Mrs. (Emily) Blalock for encouraging me to add Fashion Merchandising as a minor when I was a freshman. I fell in love with the classes and eventually turned that minor into a second major. 

My other favorite professor was definitely Dr. Medvedev. She challenged me to think about fashion beyond the runway by considering the cultural and societal implications of the dress.

Which class do you think has been the most influential to your career?

My retail buying course was more influential than I understood at the time. Many of the formulas I learned proved to be industry-standard; I still use some of them in my current job!

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

The late Andre Leon Talley has been one of my greatest inspirations. I had the pleasure of meeting him at SCAD Atlanta for a screening and Q&A of his documentary, The Gospel According to Andre. I’ve always admired his charisma, eye for aesthetics, and most of all, his endless knowledge of historical fashion references. 

What advice would you give to current FACS students who are looking to pursue a career in your field?

I always encourage looking for companies with development programs catered towards recent grads. They’ll usually give you a strong foundation with more exposure to leadership and growth opportunities than other entry-level jobs. Also, do not underestimate the value of working in retail. Getting that experience, especially early on, will give you an invaluable perspective that will only help you in the long run. Lastly, if possible, don’t limit yourself to one specific area. While New York has been considered the fashion capital for years, remote and hybrid opportunities are way more common than they were pre-COVID, plus tons of major retailers and brands are based all over the country these days.

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