background image
Some go into comprehensive training programs offered by the
large retail organizations," Gulbicki said.
In recent years, more men have become interested in courses in
fashion merchandising, but women still far outnumber them, at
least in New England. "In New York, more than half the
students in programs like this are men, many of whom have
families in the business," said Gulbicki. "In this area, the
numbers are much smaller."
Gulbicki also is the assistant advisor to the MCC Fashion
Club, which started several years ago. The club staged its first
Fashion Show last semester, and is planning another one for
December. Each semester, members also have an Accessories
Swap. Fashion Club membership is open to all Middlesex
"People enjoy fashion. They are interested in fashion history
and how things are made," Gulbicki said. "Throughout the
ages, people have always made and designed cloth and articles
of clothing. Although traditional techniques will change, styles
of the past will still be looked at for inspiration."
Gulbicki often brings to class items from her collections that
demonstrate "timelines of style" and what we can learn from
other cultures. "Students get ideas from other pieces," she said.
"They begin to understand how trends and styles evolve. The
fact that similar design methods have developed in different
parts of the world is also noteworthy."
All fashion merchandising students do a cooperative internship
in the industry, which entails 135 hours of work in one
semester. "We have had interns at major area retailers,
including Saks Fifth Avenue in Boston, where they have
worked with fashion coordinators on fashion shows, trunk
shows and PR events. It is a great way for students to get
experience and make contacts," Gulbicki said.
Former MCC students now work for Stride Rite, Sperry,
Nordstrom's and other major retailers, that often recruit on
campus. Some graduates have gone into retail management, as
well as visual merchandising and display work.
Today, students in fashion merchandising need to know about
international business etiquette and learn how to do business
with other cultures, said Gulbicki. They learn what is, and is
not, appropriate behavior, as well as negotiating skills in
different countries, since the retail and fashion industries are
both exceptionally global.
Gulbicki has staged two recent exhibitions from her collections
at Middlesex. This fall, she presented Textiles From Around the
, which included cloth made by weaving, pressing bark
fiber, crocheting, lace making, quilting and patchwork. The
dyeing techniques in the articles on display included ikat, tie-
dye and batik. The embellishments ranged from embroidery,
applique, and trapunto to cross-stitch, braid work and hand
painting. The works were both traditional and contemporary.
Attendance at the textiles exhibition was excellent. At the
opening, Gulbicki had a video on textile techniques she had
produced more than 20 years ago running in the background.
The video featured several accomplished textile artists. One of
the featured artists who demonstrated and discussed Indonesian
batik on the video just happened to be at the opening
Last year, Gulbicki curated Vintage Accessories. Purses, hats,
shoes, scarves and shawls from the 1880s to the 1990s were
among the vintage and cultural accessories from her collection
on display. The exhibit, as well as the textile exhibit, included
items from Mexico, Central and South America, the
Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.
"Looking at items worn at different times and places often
brings back fond memories," said Gulbicki. "One may
remember grandfather's hats or grandmother's purses."
Deborah Kearney
Detail of a textile featured in
Professor Paula Gulbicki's exhibition