Friday, January 25, 2008

Fashionista to Watch: Stephany Greene

Hi Darlings:

From style expert to fashion guru at University of the District of Columbia...Stephany Greene is helping to change the face of fashion in the District.
Well I am sure some of you are wondering “Who is Stephany Greene?” I wondered the same thing when I first met her last summer. At the fashion rally held in September and hosted and planned by two of the leaders of the fashion community in DC – Abigail de Casanova and Christine Brooks Cropper – Stephany was pointed out in the crowd as someone I should meet and talk to. At the time I instantly I loved her put together look and so by all means we were off to a good start. She had on a white jacket and a fabulous black purse with gold hardware – I think it was Dolce et Gabanna.

She was warm. We spoke briefly about the Fashion Merchandizing Initiative she’s developing at UDC. I took her card with the intent to call her later about the freelance article I was writing about fashion in DC and kept moving on to find other willing interviewees. I called her about the article and saved the card in my “just in case” pile. Well, months later I finally caught up with Stephany and the just in case moment had arrived, I wanted to interview her for the blog. I thought you would really love getting to know her and all that she has planned for the fashion future of the District.

Stephany has been in the fashion business for more than 20 years. A native Washingtonian she started out as a student at the Georgetown Visitation and Duke Ellington schools dreaming about becoming a ballet dancer but in the end realizing that the fashion industry would give her a more stable future. After graduating from Georgetown Visitation, her mind was made up and she was off to NY to major in Fashion Design at the world-renown Pratt Institute. She claims that going to the Pratt Institute opened doors to fashion houses such as Willy Wear where she interned, and Calvin Klein where she started out as an assistant to two designers. She has since worked for Tommy Hilfiger as an outer wear designer for the “TH Athletics” line as well as Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis, Guess, the NFL and the NBA, to name a few. As time ticked on fashion became her dream.

Even after her storied experience as a designer working with the likes of John Varvatos and Narciso Rodriquez, she welcomed new opportunities to teach Fashion Courses as a Professor at Miami International Institute of Art & Design and Florida International University. Stephany states she was immediately impressed at how much she enjoyed the innovation and interaction involved in the educational process. She gushes that nothing has brought her more joy than “giving students real world experience” in the fashion industry.

What is she doing now in DC? Stephany is spearheading a new wave of fashion innovators now on the horizon in DC. With the support of Charlie Mahone (Dean of School of Business), Dr. Les Vermillion (Chair of the Marketing Department) and Councilmember At-Large Kwame Brown, Stephany is developing the foundation and structure to re-launch the Fashion Merchandising Program, in the School of Business and Public Administration at the University of the District of Columbia - giving DC students the most affordable option on the East Coast for obtaining a career in the fashion industry with the plan to increase enrollment at UDC and improve economic development in the city. The program is currently in the planning stages with introductory classes forecasted for Fall of this year with plans in the works to launch Bachelors and Associates degrees in Fashion Merchandizing by next year. Stephany’s focus will be the business side of fashion not only because of the partnership with the School of Business, but also because learning the business is just as important as having the skills.

[Photo courtesy of Christine Brooks-Cropper: (far left) Stephany Greene; (center) Councilmember Harry Thomas; (second from right) Christine Brooks-Cropper.]

The students at UDC are lucky to have someone as a mentor who enjoys teaching and has a passion for helping the community in an industry where she has been successful.

Stephany is also Chair of the newly formed Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce, originated by Christine Brooks-Cropper – another person who has been an impetus for change in the DC fashion community. (Please go to the site for membership info.)

To find out more about UDC's Fashion Merchandising Program, or to learn more about Stephany's endeavors, visit her website

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