Batavia, New York - Each semester, the Fashion Program at Genesee Community College hosts its Fashion Speaker Series which introduces students to experts from all areas of the booming industry. The first speaker in the 2019-2020 series will be lecturer, writer and fashion aficionado, John A. Tiffany, who presents “DAWN: The Career of Legendary Fashion Retailer Dawn Mello” on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 1 p.m. in room T102 on GCC’s Batavia Campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Tiffany has been called a fashion historian and expert on the history of fashion in the 20th Century. But, more than anything, he is a passionate storyteller who uncovers and shares the incredible untold stories of pioneering women.
Tiffany's most recent book, “DAWN: The Career of Legendary Fashion Retailer Dawn Mello” is a lavishly illustrated biography that spans her impressive career. In 1975, Mello was hired as the fashion director and vice president of Bergdorf Goodman, and charged to turn the store around and remake it in the image of Ira Neimark, who was the CEO at that time. Together, they transformed a once dowdy department store into the retail center of luxury fashion. Mello’s strategy not only redefined and repositioned Bergdorf Goodman, but in doing so, she discovered and encouraged the rise of exciting modern designers, while inaugurating an exuberant, new type of fashion show. After leaving Bergdorf Goodman, Mello moved on to revitalize Gucci, which became a modern case study for resuscitating a luxury brand. By the time she left, Gucci was back on top.
“Our faculty and students are both very excited to have Mr. Tiffany speak at our campus,” Donna Ehrhart, GCC professor of Business and Fashion Design said. “Each year, GCC’s students plan and execute their own full-scale fashion show. Many students use their experience to launch their own impressive careers. Being able to hear the story of Dawn Mello will be very inspiring for their work this year.”
GCC’s Fashion Business degree program includes four separate areas of concentration:
- Fashion Design: covering the necessary principles and techniques of consumer and commercial fashion, apparel, accessories, and the management of fashion development projects. (A one-year certificate is also available for students who want to just hone their hands-on techniques.)
- Fashion Merchandising Management: providing the skills needed to succeed in a global, ever-changing billion dollar business of fashion buying, display, public relations, styles and sales.
- E-Commerce: preparing students to manage online inventories, design digital marketing plans and media, and to explore the world of online fashion retail.
- Event Planning: teaching the principles of event management, consumer behavior, space design, culinary choices, securing entertainment contracts and endorsements, and much more.
“One of the goals of the Fashion Speaker Series is to expose the students to as many possible careers in the industry as possible and to let them hear about the many paths to success,” Ehrhart added. “Tiffany’s work and his breadth of experience with a variety of individuals in the fashion industry made him a great choice for the first speaker in the series this year.”
Tiffany grew up in California’s Santa Ynez Valley, earned a bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University in 1988, and has been a professional speaker, writer and author since 2011. His first book, “Eleanor Lambert: STILL HERE” recounts this extraordinary and bona fide American pioneer’s incredible journey which is credited with single-handedly putting American fashion on the global stage.
In addition to the speaker series, GCC Fashion students participate in trips to New York City to experience the Fashion District, and they tackle all aspects of producing a professional fashion show: designer, scene coordinator, director, marketing, public relations, and many other responsibilities from public safety to parking. Each year, the Fashion Show draws an audience of more than 1,500 and is also live-streamed around the world. This experience leads many GCC fashion majors to transfer agreements with institutions such as FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and LIM (Laboratory Institute of Merchandising) in NYC, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and others.
This event, as part of the Fashion Speaker Series is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Marketing Communications Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
# # #
A photograph of John Tiffany is available at:
Images from the 2019 Fashion Show, Limitless, are available on Facebook @sunygcc: