Fashion guru takes studies into the heart of the industry-Manhattan

Sophie Daniel at the Museum at FIT

Fashion guru takes studies into the heart of the industry-Manhattan

T his fall, Sophia “Sophie” Daniel, ’20, will begin her two-year Fashion and Textile Studies Master of Arts program at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a state university of New York in Manhattan, where she will study the conservation track and intern by handling a costume/textile collection. Daniel was one out of 20 chosen nationwide for this program.

Her curiosity in fashion began at a young age in her father’s dry-cleaning business. 

Sophie Daniel fastens the piece: "Golden Armor" to model Nicole Wright as she preps for a fashion show at Georgia College.
Sophie Daniel fastens the piece: "Golden Armor" to model Nicole Wright as she preps for a fashion show at Georgia College.

“I remember he would push me around in a buggy, and I would just look at all the cool, grown-up clothes that were there to be cleaned,” Daniel said. “This experience taught me that we must take good care of our clothes for them to stay nice, whether it’s a good pair of jeans or a 3-D printed dress by Fashion Designer Iris van Herpen.”

While attending Georgia College, Lecturer of Art Gallery and Woodshop Technician Ernesto Gómez and Art Department Chair and Professor of Art William “Bill” Fisher had greatly influenced Daniel, and spent a great deal of time helping her.

“They taught me to think three steps ahead and explain my thought process in a more articulate way,” she said. “These are just two of the thousands of spoken and unspoken lessons I learned from them. Both of them also showed me the value of myself as a student and person.”

Daniel and Co-curator Grace Calloway spent two years consistently meeting with Fisher and Gómez for their capstone project—an Exhibition: Unhindered Spirit: Embracing Imperfection by Iowa Fiber Artist Judy Bales. Bales works with recycled and salvaged materials exploring different ways to give them new life by modifying their intended purpose.    

“I learned so much from both of them every time we met,” she said. “They genuinely cared about our success as students.”

Daniel’s capstone project will help her in several academic areas at FIT. 

“I will constantly preplan, research, think and rethink my ideas, then back them up with arguments to support my ideas. I plan to always be prepared with my work and ideas, which will help me come up with creative solutions and ideas no matter where I end up. I hope to be a valuable asset in my ability to think in different ways from others and also use it in a collaborative manner.”
– Sophie Daniel

“I learned a lot from Judy Bales’ work,” she said. “I am stronger at researching specific pieces of art, installing a gallery, handling art, documenting and working in a collaborative manner. For one of my future courses, I’ll need to design an exhibition with my peers, so I’m already very familiar with this process.”

In addition, class discussions pushed Daniel to further her intellect by gaining awareness from others on unfamiliar topics. 

Sophie Daniel at the Museum at FIT.
Sophie Daniel at the Museum at FIT.

“It’s always interesting to hear how other people process information and reach conclusions,” she said. “Listening to my classmates during discussions to gain further insight into topics I was weaker on helped me become a strong, independent thinker.”

Daniel’s grateful for the various concepts she learned from many departments at Georgia College. Doing so enabled her to push out of her comfort zone. She intends to apply her independent thinking skills at FIT and in her profession.

“I will constantly preplan, research, think and rethink my ideas, then back them up with arguments to support my ideas,” she said. “I plan to always be prepared with my work and ideas, which will help me come up with creative solutions and ideas no matter where I end up. I hope to be a valuable asset in my ability to think in different ways from others and also use it in a collaborative manner.”

Daniel can’t wait to jump into learning more about the world of fashion.

“I am so excited for all of it,” she said. “All the courses sound amazing, especially the specificity of the program and how in-depth it will be on textiles and handling them in a museum capacity. I can’t wait to take the more conservation heavy courses and do the hands-on work.”

After Daniel graduates, she hopes to work in collections management and/or conserve textiles within a museum setting in Europe.

“I want to pursue this, because I really love fashion and textiles,” she said.

Daniel gets her creative inspiration from the simple things in life. She’s intrigued by how people are different, yet can be alike in little moments.

“We’ve all caught a firefly, looked up at an interesting cloud or watched a cute creature outside of our window. Knowing that other people get to experience these little moments just like me makes life seem more connected,” she said. “I feel moved to help preserve little moments that can occur like this within a museum. My hope is to take care of the little moments and objects we can all see in the world of museums.”