A Day in the Life of a Fashion Student

Story by Michala Ebert 
Photos by Dominic Perales

Fashion majors don’t just spend their day making inspiration boards and shopping. Central Michigan University student, Holly Conner, let Grand Central follow her around for the day to get a better idea of how a fashion major actually spends their time.

Monday, Sept. 25

7 A.M. 

Conner typically starts her day with a 20-minute makeup routine, followed by a granola bar for breakfast. Then she gets dressed and packs her backpack and purse. With such a busy schedule, she says getting organized in the morning is important and lets her plan for a smooth day.

7:40 A.M. Out the door on time, Conner drives 10 minutes to Wightman Hall from her apartment while listening to the radio.

7:50 A.M. After parking, Conner walks to her first class of the day, product development. She is working with a group to create a brand concept. They are still within the first phases, completing consumer and trend research and making assortment and range plans for their fashion lines. Throughout the semester she will complete fabric testing, secure clothing manufacturers, create an advertising campaign, decide where her fashion brand will be sold and create a tangible product to be presented to the class. She said there is a mix of fashion merchandising and design students who work together to bring a product idea to life.

“This class kind of brings everything together that I’ve learned during my four years at Central,” Conner said.

10 A.M. As a tutor for computer-aided-design (CAD), Conner goes right from class to the CAD lab in Wightman Hall. She works with three to four different students a week on CAD techniques for current class projects they are working on.

“They know aesthetics, but don’t know how to make what’s in their head,” Conner said. She has each student bring the rubric for their work in order to guide them in the right direction.

11:30 A.M.  After her tutoring sessions she will stay in the CAD lab to work on her own design projects. The lab in Wightman has Adobe programs that students don’t always have on their own laptops, so it’s a popular place for fashion majors to mingle.

2 P.M. Lunchtime consists of making something easy like macaroni and cheese or a sandwich back at her apartment. If Conner has the time, she tries to take a quick nap. With constant work, she likes to get some zzz’s to give her body and mind a mid-day boost.

3:30 P.M.  Conner has a few hours before her next class that she dedicates to homework, projects and her extracurricular activities. She is a teacher’s assistant for a fashion illustration class, a store manager at First Impressions on campus and is planning her wedding. With a full load of courses, she uses this time for research, meeting with professors and answering emails.

Conner works at First Impressions, an on-campus store that allows students to get professional wear for free.

6 P.M. Conner grabs a snack to fuel up for a three-hour night class as she rushes out the door.

6:30 P.M. 3D printing is a class where Conner really gets to be creative. She goes through online tutorials, writes design journals and makes concept boards for fashion products that can be created utilizing CMU’s 3D printing lab. She said this is a technology that is revolutionizing the fashion industry and loves getting the opportunity to learn all about it.

9:20 P.M. After making her way back home, Conner will grab a quick snack like popcorn before working on her honors project – she is creating a wedding dress (possibly her own) or working on essays and techniques for her graduate research class.


12:30 A.M. To wind down from the day, Conner will usually head over to her fiancé’s house and tries to be in bed by 1 A.M. She has 8 A.M. class three days a week, so getting whatever sleep she can is important.

Although this jam-packed day is specific to Conner, it’s not uncommon for fashion majors to always be on the go.

“My week never really slows down, but I know my hard work will pay off,” she said.

She is most interested in designing evening wear and bridal and said she is also considering furthering her education and possibly teaching fashion at the university level.