The love of fashion has endless opportunities
With her love of fashion, Kerri Quigley knew that she would someday be a fashion designer. As she began fulfilling her dreams, her grandmother taught her the art of sewing where she learned to make a pair of gloves at just 8-years old.
Throughout her years, her engagement in the fashion industry grew as she attended Parsons, the New School for Design. There she was taught the ins and outs of the fashion world, as well as the aspects of running her own business – ultimately giving her the best, well-rounded, education she could ask for.
Post-graduation, the recession hit and Kerri had a hard time finding full-time work. That didn’t get her down, though, as she applied for many freelance opportunities in the New York area including pet clothing/bed design, lingerie design and teaching.
Teaching is where it all began for Kerri. Travelling the long commute to a school in the Bronx, Kerri taught an afterschool program to children having an interest in sewing.
“It’s great to see children get an aspect of what they want to do when they get older,” Kerri said.
With the outpour of interest, the program grew at a rapid rate leading Kerri to hire an assistant. But that wasn’t enough. Kerri felt herself in dismay as the school year ended and having to wait until September to start back up again.
“I looked forward to going to the school every day and didn’t want it to end – I loved this job,” Kerri said.
In 2010, she took the venture of creating her own summer camp in Brooklyn, which was just the beginning.
About 2 years later, Kerri took on the daunting task of signing a lease for a studio in the garment district where she would create a fulltime studio, The Fashion Class, hosting fashion design and sewing classes, along with camps and birthdays for children and teens aged 6-17.
Sponsored by Singer Sewing Machine Co., The Fashion Class students get to begin working on sewing machines on day 1, learning how to sew, design clothing and accessories, and even creating their own fashion brand.
“They’re pretty fearless when it comes to the sewing machine,” Kerri said.
During their classes, students attend numerous fieldtrips around the garment district.
“They’re getting the real behind-the-scenes look at things. Most people don’t get this experience until they’re in college or at an internship,” Kerri said.
Whether it’s browsing through Mood Fabrics or meeting Jenny Yu, students are getting everything they need to learn more about the fashion industry.
“Fashion leaders have warmth for kids in the garment district,” Kerri said, “They’re excited about how young these kids are and how much passion they have for the industry.”
Eager to get their custom-designs made, students end the year in a runway show, showing off their best catwalk and designs to family and friends.
Needless to say, Kerri has left her mark on the New York fashion world and is continuing to do so through her students. Today, she’s now the owner of a second studio in Long Island and has a large staff of educators/mentors, all of whom have a love for the fashion world and teaching.