The Lead On, Creatively series highlights TCU College of Fine Arts alumni, students and faculty who are putting their passion into practice.
Madison Rust ’23 was selected to represent the Department of Fashion Merchandising and TCU at this year’s University of New York Fashion Week (UNYFW). The event is offered to students studying fashion at colleges and universities around the country affiliated with the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC). CLC collaborates with Endeavor Fashion Events to provide future leaders in the fashion industry with opportunities to interact with and learn from professionals who know what it takes to be successful.
“Being selected as the 2023 UNYFW winner was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Rust said. “I was incredibly excited to attend UNYFW and meet other fashion students and represent my university at such an amazing event.”
What did you learn from attending UNYFW that you can apply in your future career?
I discovered the abundance of job opportunities within the industry from attending UNYFW. I also learned that once you enter the industry, no job or task is below you; humility and gratefulness will take you very far. The most helpful advice I received was to create a resume that reflects my interests in and outside the industry to help me stand out from other applicants.
Why did you choose to attend TCU?
I am a Fort Worth native and have always loved the culture and spirit surrounding campus. I transferred from community college and Texas Tech to the TCU Neeley School of Business in August 2020. I later enrolled as a fashion merchandising major to pursue my dreams of starting a swimwear company. When I entered the program, I knew I had so much to learn about the industry and made the right choice for my own goals and passions.
What advice would you give to other students pursuing a degree in the Department of Fashion Merchandising?
Take advantage of all the resources here while you have them, including great instruction from your faculty.
What’s next for you?
I will complete my apparel design internship at Soma this summer and graduate from TCU in August! My dream job after graduation is to be a designer for a company I am passionate about, whether that is one I start on my own or one I have loved and followed for years.
Jonathan J. Hall, a 2009 TCU Fashion Merchandising Graduate, is Director of Belonging for Neiman Marcus Group. In this role, he is responsible for cultivating a culture of belonging and leading NMG’s strategies to increase workforce diversity, advance workplace equity, and champion marketplace inclusion for NMG customers and communities through inclusive merchandise and operations.
Jonathan continues to drive Neiman Marcus Group’s goal to increase racial diversity in leadership roles at the vice president level and above to 21% by 2025 and 28% by 2030 through creating inclusive hiring best practices. These hiring best practices encompass a requirement for diverse interview panels and candidate slates for director and above roles and the creation of meaningful partnerships with professional organizations to broaden the pool of talent. He partners with the merchandising and spend management teams to increase spend with diverse-owned businesses to $150M by 2025 and has established a supplier diversity program to measure progress.
Jonathan joined Neiman Marcus Group in 2017 as the Men’s Contemporary Ready-To-Wear Buyer. In that position, he supervised all merchandising and procurement operations for his assigned area of responsibility.
Jonathan serves on the board of Goodwill North Central Texas, is a brand advisor for Raise Fashion Network, and mentors the next generation of fashion leaders through The Fashion Scholarship Fund.
Julia Meyer, TCU May 2016 alum, interned with Oscar de la Renta during the summer of 2015 through TCU’s Department of Fashion Merchandising’s Internship Program. Based in their New York City office, she worked within the luxury brand’s wholesale bridal division. Following graduation, Julia relocated to New York City and began working at Gucci as the NY corporate office receptionist. Given the unique opportunity to immerse in all facets of a global luxury brand and apply insights from her undergraduate studies, she quickly became intrigued by organizational development and supporting the people of Gucci through the Human Resources department, the team she currently sits on.
Today, Julia remains in the brand’s New York City office, holding the title of Manager, People Initiatives for the Gucci Americas region. In this role, Julia is empowered to give back to the next generation of talent, having developed a virtual educational program in 2020 allowing undergraduate students to connect with and learn from all departments of Gucci North America, partner with a corporate mentor and create a business challenge presentation to share with the Gucci Executive team. As the Manager of People Initiatives, Julia is integral to promoting engagement opportunities, interacting with all team members and functions – retail and corporate – alongside the respective communities each serve by leading the company’s volunteer program. Throughout her various responsibilities, Julia operates as a brand-liaison with the goal of promoting the company’s culture, mission and values in all activities, meanwhile ensuring inclusion is central to all facets.
Before graduating in 2012, Mary Beth Taylor interned with Stuart Weitzman, a high-end shoe company in New York City, and was hired by the CEO after graduation to fill the newly created position, Major Accounts Business Analyst. In the next four years at Stuart Weitzman, she was promoted to the right hand to the CEO in areas of reporting and analysis. In 2016, she was hired at Tiffany & Co. Taylor said the internship program led her on the path she is on today. Mary Beth is currently the Director of Merchant Business Intelligence at Arezzo & Co.