Our Grads

Maria Frankitc - Featured Fashion Merchandising Graduate
Maria Frankito, 1997
Savvy Chic Boutique

Maria always knew she wanted to open her own boutique, a store where customers could buy unique clothing and accessories.

After graduating from VMCAD in 1997 with a degree in Fashion Merchandising, she worked at several top name clothing stores. She was a visual merchandiser for Express and a store manager for both Wet Seal and JCrew. But in 2006 she knew she was ready to fulfill her dream. In October of that year she opened Savvy Chic Boutique in Broadview Heights, Ohio.

“At Virginia Marti I really developed the foundation, tools and skills necessary for owning my own business,” Maria says. “I liked the small classes and the collaboration I found with my classmates. I still keep in touch with some of my instructors today.”

Click Maria’s photo to see her store

Savvy Chic often partners with several salons in the area to put on Fashion Shows and raise money for philanthropic causes. They’ve been featured in several magazines and on local television. Maria says she wanted to open a shop that allowed women to put their whole wardrobes together in a contemporary and unique way, in a way that you couldn’t find in just any store. And not only has Maria found the merchandise to put it all together, she’s found her dream, too.

Billy Lucas - Featured Fashion Merchandising Graduate

Billy Lucas
Regional Manager
American Apparel

Billy Lucas has worked hard to achieve his success. As a 2006 Fashion Merchandising graduate, Billy worked as an Assistant Manager at Urban Outfitters while taking classes at VMCAD.

Within months of graduating Billy was hired to Manage the American Apparel store in Coventry. Today he criss-crosses the United States helping American Apparel turn around troubled stores and open new locations. In total Billy has worked with 25 American Apparel stores in many states and has opened six new locations.

Billy says that reaching your goal isn’t difficult if you work hard. “Set realistic career goals,” he says. “Then develop a strategy to achieve those goals and work until you reach each one of those goals.”

Justinea Vidic, 2003
Regional Merchandising & Marketing Representative

As a 2003 graduate of VMC, I have grasped the insight of the creative merchandising program I have obtained and apply everyday as the Regional Merchandising & Marketing Representative for Crocs in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. My academic and hands-on experiences at Virginia Marti College have helped me build a solid foundation to grow in the industry and develop knowledge that I have carried with me throughout my fashion career.

Heather O’Donnell, 2009
Shoe Carnival

What can you say about VMCAD? The school has taught me so many different things on many different levels. I believe from my experience that I learned more here than I could have learned anywhere. When I first got to this school I was scared to death on what to expect. I didn’t want that large classroom experience, I already had that. With all the hands on experience that I received in the classroom and out in the industry I got more knowledge than I could have anywhere. Besides that each and everyone of my instructors cared about my success. They were there to help and you could ask them anything and they were there for you no matter what it was. Even after graduation they will help you with anything. With every class that I took, I have a multiple range of career choices within the industry. My success not only comes from my hard work and dedication but from the dedication and enviornment that VMCAD creates for their students. I loved this school and I am so glad that I attended Virginia Marti College of Art and Design.

Kelsey Lesesky, 2006
Lead Merchandiser and Assistant Buyer

VMCAD has prepared me in every way for the retail industry. I have learned that fashion and trends are all about taking risks, but so is pushing your way to the top. I have been working my way up to become a buyer in the surf industry and I definitely wouldn’t be able to accomplish what I have without my knowledge from VMCAD. In many ways it also taught me to have more confidence in myself. I am also working on a clothing website and making my own open-to-buy which is very exciting!

Josetta Belford, 2002
Sugar Foot

My experience at Virginia Marti College was wonderful. The instructors, the administrators, were really about business and teaching us how to become fashion designers and fashion merchandisers. You will get the best skills, in art, that you wouldn’t get from any other college in this state. I’ve seen the work that gets done and nothing can compare to this college.

Phaedra Williams, 1989
Phaedra Beauty Products – Hollywood, California

I loved being a student at VMCAD. Although when I attended it was called Virginia Marti College of Fashion and Art. I remember it was like a litte oasis for me. After working my 9 to 5 job I couldn’t wait to get to school to express my creativity.

Jamie Pearce, 1989
Personal Style Consultant
The Worth Collection, Ltd.

The hands-on practical aspect of my classes was so valuable in helping me understand the details of design just weren’t for me. One of the things I appreciate about VMCAD is the focus on individual attention. Experiencing the projects my professors assigned – such as the fashion show I produced in my second year – helped guide me into merchandising instead of design.

Akia Mitchell, 2003
Bath and Bodyworks

I am extremely grateful for being able to study and graduate from VMCAD! They prepared me for my career in Fashion Merchandising by providing the curriculum, professors, and environment needed to succeed. I am still in contact with friends made at the school. I am also always notified of any open positions in my field. I love VMCAD!

Paula Madey, 2007
Visual Display
Saks Fifth Avenue

My education at VMC honed the skills and passions that has landed me a career of my dreams.

Ahryn Clayton-Tolley, 2007

Virginia Marti College taught me the necessary skills needed to be successful in the retail/fashion business. During my time attending I enjoyed learning in a comfortable environment, being challenged to do my best, and most of all meeting other talented and aspiring individuals. Before I attended VMCAD I was very experienced in the retail field already, yet many times felt the barriers I was facing not being knowledgeable of certain things within the industry. Now, after graduating with an associates degree in Fashion Merchandising, I feel well equipped in my field. My advise to anyone considering going to VMCAD or even currently attending would be…”act on your future now, and have an active part in how you succeed both in the classroom and abroad, and you will definitely excel in anything.”

Halle Secura, 2007

Taking classes at VMCAD was more than just coming to class and doing the homework. Learning there was creative and filled with projects that helped me apply what I learned rather than just try to remember it. All of the teachers made a huge effort to get to know all of the students which made it easy to approach them if I ever needed extra help, and made learning fun!