A Fashion Business Major Designs Her Perfect Balance
Madeline DeJong juggles academics and volleyball while setting her sights on global fashion
“I’m not good at just sitting still,” says Madeline DeJong. She often spends breaks from classes sewing the finishing touches on a cocktail dress or other garment. Most recently, the Gallatin sophomore designed a line of women’s formal wear that debuted at the annual Gallatin Fashion Show. This year’s show centers on the theme of time. The theme is fitting, because time is something Madeline has learned to juggle expertly.
Building a Gallatin Concentration
Besides studying fashion business, Madeline takes classes in marketing, advertising, and social media as well as French and Italian language courses. Although it may not seem like a conventional course load, students at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study design their own concentrations around their interests. For Madeline, these courses all tie into her core focus of fashion business with a global perspective.
“Gallatin is unique because you work with advisers to create your own major,” says Madeline. “It allows you to be very individualized in your study direction.” She is currently considering adding another major in Romance Languages or a minor or two.
Making Volleyball a Priority
To top off her loaded course schedule, Madeline’s also in her second season on NYU’s varsity volleyball team. Although Madeline was born in Manhattan, she spent most of her youth in Houston, Texas. Her desire to play college volleyball drew her back to New York City. “Everyone wants to play at the highest level they can,” says Madeline. “NYU attracts athletes who are interested in playing at a higher level while also challenging themselves academically. Being able to study at a prestigious school as well as play the sport you love is pretty ideal.” When it comes to balancing all her commitments, she admits, “It’s definitely a lot.” But she’s excited about the many directions her studies and pursuits are taking her.
Finding Inspiration Through Her Coursework
Through her courses, Madeline has gained access to some of the most successful businesses in the world. “The Practicum in Fashion Business was one of my favorite courses because our professors were so connected. We had two of our classes at the Gap headquarters,” says Madeline. “In the Advanced Fashion Business Practicum, we met the CEO of the Americas at Hermès and saw their headquarters. Then we did something similar at Clinique and Patagonia. It was really cool that we were able to have those experiences.”
With business savvy and a honed design sense, Madeline created her latest collection. Its tulle skirts, intricate cutouts, and corset tops represent the culmination of all of the skills she’s learned so far. “There are a lot of paths I could take with the major I’m creating,” says Madeline. “I had so many interests, so Gallatin has been a very good program for me.”