The Life of an Apparel Design Student

Paige Hawke is a senior in Apparel Design and Production Management at Auburn University. Pertaining to the major, you do anything with designing and making the clothes.

Hawke said that she is a fifth-year senior in design, putting her ahead of those in her classes now at her age. Hawke is from Alabany, Georgia, which she said is small with not much going on. Hawke said that is why she has looked into going to New York and LA, as well as London.

“I try to do as much away from there as possible, but I still love it just because it’s home,” said Hawke.

Hawke said she came to Auburn because her parents went here. Her sisters went to the University of Georgia, and she thought about going to other places like the Fashion Institute of technology. But the more she thought about it, she decided she wanted the four-year experience at an SEC school.

“My parents would say, 'You’re going to have your whole life to live in New York and live in LA and do stuff with fashion. So you might as well enjoy those fun years of real college while you can,’” said Hawke.

Since Hawke was a child she has wanted to be a fashion designer. She began sewing in high school, and because her mother is into fashion, she is one of those lucky girls who has the privilege of going fabric shopping with her mother. Hawke said that she was always trying to learn new things about fashion.

Hawke reads fashion books to learn more on fashion. She said she loves to read a book that teaches her things—for instance, how to sketch. She also reads books on designers that she loves and feels inspired by because she can see their process and understand how they got to where they are today. Some of her favorites are books on Charles James, Rachel Zoe, and the school Parsons.

Hawke said that a normal day for an APDP major is very busy and hectic. She explained that last year she had to do a capstone project where she had to make her own designs. She also said that it was nonstop lab work and working on Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

As a part of the spring group project, they had to make their own collection. Hawke said this consisted of a lot of hard work, such as making sketches and making sure they all flow well together, finding models, fitting models, and much more. Overall, Hawke said it’s a fun major but a busy one full of hard work and nonstop craziness.

Hawke said being a senior is a bit bizarre but in a good way. “It’s weird, really weird, but good because I feel like I’ve gotten everything I wanted to get done, finished. Now, I’m at this point where I’m wrapping everything up. It’s really nice, kind of like everything has paid off and now I have a little bit of time to breathe,” said Hawke.

Hawke has gotten the opportunity to do many things at her years at Auburn. She was able to study abroad in London where she had the opportunity to meet with designers based in London. She also was in New York for a while for a internship with Tibi. She interned with their PR team for New York Fashion Week. This gave her the chance to not be a part of the show but watch it.

This summer Hawke was able to intern for Rachel Zoe in LA with the clothing and writing aspect. Specifically, she interned with the Zoe Report where she wrote and edited stories. Hawke plans to start off in New York after graduation working for a designer. Then, she hopes to start her own company. When everything is set and stone with her company, she wants to live in LA long term. She said New York was for her 20s, to learn things and work her “butt off;” LA is for later in life when she is settled in her company.

Hawke looks forward to designing in the future. She said she also looks forward to living in a big city and having a crazy busy job. She loves the idea of being up all day and night designing and working with people, collaborating and pushing the limit in fashion.

“Learning new things and new ways to design is something that’s really exciting for me to do and figure out,” said Hawke.

Hawke said that her best experience at Auburn is the fashion show. A person in APDP is constantly working on something no one gets to really see unless they look at the portfolio—then, finally, everyone at the show can see the hard work and effort put into the designs.

“It actually feels like you’re like a real designer, which we are,” said Hawke.

Hawke said the best thing she has learned at Auburn is how to stay grounded. “I’ve done the Parsons, I’ve done these New York and LA internships, and fashion week, and all these things. And it’s like at the end of the day you won’t get anywhere if you’re too big for your breeches, as I like to say,” said Hawke.

She also said she values learning the different mannerisms and communication techniques, because many people go to the big design schools and are so focused on designing and fashion that they can’t communicate with the outside world.

“We’ve gotten that here at Auburn while getting a design degree. We kind of got both sides of it which was really cool for me to see. We’re fortunate because it’s like we’re learning so much that it sets us apart in that way,” said Hawke.

Hawke said she wants girls to know that whether they are interested in fashion or not, to do what makes them happy. She said she wants them to know to do what they love. You never know... you could end up like Rachel Zoe, who Hawke said graduated with a degree in something along the lines of Psychology and ended up being a fashion designer. 

Here are some people she has styled as well as her and another student's designs for class: