When Jordan Stover was just 7 years old, she had two dreams: to be a fashion designer and to attend Buffalo State College.
The Lockport, New York, native has followed those early dreams. Now, a senior apparel design major in Buffalo State’s Fashion and Textile Technology (FTT) Department, she is poised to graduate in May with relevant experience and awards in her field. And as a student in the college’s Muriel A. Howard Honors Program, Stover completed her education in just three years.
Stover’s grandmother taught her how to sew at a young age—starting with Build-a-Bear outfits. By the time she was in high school, Stover was making her own prom gowns and graduation dress, an ambitious garment that featured photographic prints chronicling her high school career on fabric.
Stover knew that Buffalo State has a renowned fashion program with an option to combine three years at the college with a year at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. Although she ultimately decided to graduate early instead, Stover said the FTT experience has exceeded her expectations.
“I’ve always been really big into art, so the apparel design major’s artistic side and the hands-on side has been perfect,” said Stover, who is focusing on special event/bridal apparel designs and plans to open her own business. “My professors have been super helpful. They give us creative freedom with our projects and help us execute our ideas and figure out our vision along the way.”
The college’s honors program “sealed the deal,” on Stover’s decision to attend Buffalo State.
“During the honors orientation, I shadowed Dr. (Andrea) Guiati’s Honors Colloquium class,” she said. “Seeing the conversations the students were having that involved deep, critical thinking was attractive. They were talking about other people’s lives and human emotions, and politics. After I walked out of his class, I thought, ‘Yes, this is the place for me.’”
As an honors student, she has taken a classic literature course and a couple of philosophy courses that’s she found challenging and enjoyable. She said these core academic courses complement her more career-focused fashion design courses.
To gain real-world experience, Stover has designed garments for FTT’s annual Runway fashion show. The experience has earned her awards.
“It’s been a great opportunity to make friends and to network, by getting to know the merchandisers and students outside of my concentration who work on the production side of the show.”
In January, Stover landed a rare internship with London designer Zandra Rhodes. Through the International Textile and Apparel Association, she was awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to London. There, Stover lived for two weeks in the designer’s apartment, located above her studio, and worked with her design team.
“It was fascinating because it is one of the few places in London that still does all the screen-printing for their fabric,” she said. “I was the only intern from America and got to know a couple of college students from England. It was amazing to have that study-abroad opportunity.”
Because of her focus on special occasion/bridal fashions, Stover has also landed an internship with FTT instructor Ali Eagen, owner of the local boutique Made by Anatomy.
“Ali has been a big inspiration to me—from the courses I’ve taken with her to interning in her shop,” Stover said. “We work on everything from reconstruction bridal gowns to custom bridal gowns and alterations.”
Stover is now realizing the career she dreamed of as a child as she prepares to step out into the world. Success, she said, is finding a career where you can do what you love every day.