International fashion design pre-major competes for spot in program

International fashion design pre-major competes for spot in program

Marina Gerges poses with her dress forms. Gerges dedicates many hours of work to designing and sewing her pieces. Danielle Garcia | Staff Writer

International fashion design pre-major competes for spot in program
November 20
19:20 2015

Danielle Garcia | Staff Writer

@UNTDanielleG

If she doesn’t have the passion for it, pre-fashion design sophomore Marina Gerges won’t do it. She said she applies that philosophy to everything in her life.

She and other students competing to get into UNT’s fashion design program agree that simply getting into the program is time-consuming and a lot of work.

“You have to be self-motivated,” Gerges said. “If you slack, it shows.”

Designing and fashion come naturally to 22-year-old Gerges, whose family owned an Atelier, or design studio, in Kuwait when she was a child. The designer of the shop made custom gowns, wedding dresses and more, and growing up, she would ask him to teach her the craft.

“I would kind of steal his designs and copy them,” Gerges said, “Until I got the hang of it and made my own.”

From Kuwait, Gerges returned to her native country of Egypt, where she attended the American University in Cairo as a visual design major for three years. Now in Texas, the artist competes alongside other fashion design lovers to get into UNT’s program.

Despite the competitiveness of the major, 20-year-old Bryanna Gonsolves described the environment as community-like.

“You would think it’s super cutthroat,” Gonsolves said, “But everyone is willing to help one another out because we know how hard it is.”

For a handful of students, an added challenge is balancing time dedicated to fashion design work and a paying job on the side.

“I wish I didn’t had the luxury not to work,” said pre-fashion design major Hunter Herrera, who works up to 30 hours a week.

Marina Gerges prepares the pattern of her final piece to be submitted and reviewed to determine her entry into the fashion design program at UNT. Danielle Garcia | Staff Writer

Marina Gerges prepares the pattern of her final piece to be submitted and reviewed to determine her entry into the fashion design program at UNT. Danielle Garcia | Staff Writer

Gerges, who works at Sephora on the weekend, said the weekends are essential to the major, because that’s when students can come into buildings on campus and work all day to finish a project.

But her weekend shifts at the makeup store allowed her to teach herself the art of doing makeup, and she self-promoted through Instagram. Gerges now does paid tutorials for Shop Miss A, an online beauty store. She said though success can happen slowly, she doesn’t give up.

“I feel like a lot of people don’t see the hard work that goes behind it taking off,” Gerges said. “It’s awesome to get paid for what you love.”

Though Gerges has a passion for fashion, art and makeup, she also has a passion for traveling. She said she thinks people should break the comfort zone of everyday life.

This summer she visited Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam on her own for six weeks, where she knew only one person when she arrived.

“I feel like my life has become so materialistic, but I wanted to get rid of that for at least six weeks, and I did, and it was beautiful,” Gerges said.

With four outfits, no makeup and one backpack, Gerges ate for less than five dollars a day. She traveled by bus, ferries and on the backs of motorcycles, even once ending up in the sex capital of Thailand alone and with a fever, she said.

“If I went there, if I liked the place, I’d stay longer,” Gerges said. “It was very spontaneous.”

Returning to the U.S. after six weeks of living a life that was simple, fun and about people, Gerges said, was a minor culture shock.

“It took me a while to adjust, when I got back, to social norms… dressing fashionably again, [and] going back to work,” Gerges said.

After completing and submitting three works for review at the end of this semester, pre-fashion design students will learn whether they are accepted into the program.

“There’s a lot of crying, a lot of complaining, a lot of whining,” Gerges said of the selective program.

As for Gerges, who is enjoying where she is right now, she doesn’t know where she will be in five years.

“But I’m fine with that,” Gerges said. “It makes life more exciting.”

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