Major: Fashion Studies
Rebecca Brush jokes that she started dressing herself from the time she was born.
“I love fashion because it’s the most immediate, uncensored, personal mode of self-expression,” she said. “You can tell so much about a person based on how they choose to dress. It’s just as much about what you don’t wear as what you do wear. The fashion industry itself is exciting because it is always changing and never boring.”
Her decision to pursue fashion merchandising as a career came after she was already working in another field. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in English Writing, Brush was a copywriter at a philanthropic company and thought that’s what she wanted to do.
However, she missed having a creative outlet. While browsing through a College of DuPage course catalog just for fun, she saw Fashion Illustration class taught by Instructor Joann Harling and decided to enroll.
“That class literally changed the trajectory of my life,” she said. “It helped me re-connect with my passions and made a creative career seem like a promising, legitimate option for me. Since then, all of my classes have done an amazing job at equipping me with the skills necessary for a job in the industry. Actually, I submitted some class assignments as part of a job application and they helped me land my current position with a personal styling business in Chicago!”
Brush also served as president of Fash Mob, the Fashion Studies student organization that organized such events as holiday parties and dressed a mannequin to be sold at auction for charity. The club also hosted a table about professional office and interview attire during a career event on campus. Off campus, she enjoys honing in on her second-hand and budget shopping skills through visiting resale shops and stores like Last Chance as well as buying and selling on apps like Poshmark.
“I love looking through old fashion magazines and using them as inspiration for new designs and fashion illustrations,” she said.
Helping with her tuition was the Scalise Fashion Studies Scholarship awarded through the COD Foundation.
“I pay for school out of pocket, and because I don’t readily quality for student loans since I already have a degree, any little bit helps financially.”
Because of her leadership, academics and work outside the classroom, the Fashion Studies faculty recognized Brush for excellence during the annual Celebration of Academic Excellence. After earning an Associate in Applied Science degree in Fashion Merchandising, her goal is to build her own business and use her skills to help others.
“So many people don’t realize what a huge impact clothes can have on our confidence and self-image. I find great satisfaction in helping people use their personal style as a way to help them reach their full potential.”
Brush encourages students to enroll at COD and explore everything the Fashion Studies program offers.
“I have yet to meet a single student in the department who doesn’t want to be there, doesn’t love what they do, or doesn’t have close relationships with any of the amazing professors,” she said. “If you’re just curious and want to experiment with fashion, or if you’re looking into seriously pursuing a career in the industry, the Fashion Studies program will prepare you for whatever you’re looking to do. After two years at COD, I feel more prepared for a job in the industry than I ever did coming out of my four-year private college.
“I’d like to thank COD and the Fashion Studies program for being so welcoming, passionate and professional. I have been able to embrace my creative passions and interest in fashion instead of thinking I had to push them aside in order to pursue a ‘real’ job. I have such love for the Fashion Studies program for helping my find my niche.”