Gatepost Interview: Seunghye Cho, Fashion Professor
By Jesse Sannicandro
What is your educational background and work history?
I actually studied two different areas. I studied fashion design until my master’s program in Korea. I finished my M.A. and undergraduate in Korea in fashion design. ... When I came here, I was thinking of a Ph.D. in fashion design, but somehow, I changed my career to theatrical costume design. [I got my] M.F.A. at the University of Oklahoma. ... I’ve been teaching fashion for nine years here. ... I used to work as a costume designer. So, I worked in New York for my internship as ... an assistant designer for Willa Kim. She was a very famous designer on Broadway. And also, I worked for the Santa Fe Opera House when I was in theater.
What drew you to the field of fashion design?
I took a lot of science classes in high school, so I was going to be a pharmacist or some kind of scientist. ... A lot of people think that design is just drawing, but it’s not. And there is a lot of scientific aspects you must have as a designer. ... And also, I heard I’m kind of creative ... I didn’t know I actually could draw. But, when I started in a graduate program, I found out I can draw. So, it is a kind of expression of what I feel and what I think. That is the beauty of design and creating.
What can you tell me about some of the fashion shows that students participate in on campus?
Trashion Show, as you know ... [uses] recycled materials, and also, my students are involved with Make It Work. Make It Work is one day students have to get together from 9 to 5 p.m. They have to make us something – they have to make a garment in one day, and material is given by our school. ... That is a competition on campus. And also ... Bond fashion show. ... That is in Boston. ... We used professional models. And actually, Cornelius and Nathalia, who were in “Project Runway.” They actually attended the fashion show, too. And also, Fashion Show, obviously. Once a year, we have that big fashion show.
How do you feel about FSU alums being involved in “Project Runway?”
I’ve been here eight years, so I’ve known them for a long time. ... Whenever [students] have a question, they can really approach us easily, because we have such a small group. I shouldn’t say a small group, but 15 students are a handful anyway. But still, it’s really manageable, and I approach them individually easier and better. ... Cornelius and Nathalia ... I had had them since they were freshmen. So I totally remembered them from their freshman, sophomore, junior, senior years. They grew really a lot from freshman to senior year, because really the biggest benefit of our program is we can have a really close relationship with the students easily. And also, the individual teaching is really easy in this kind of environment. It is a really big thing.
What is something that you think your students would be surprised to learn about you?
I think I show almost every aspect of who I am to students already. But I’m very ... strict and funny. I’m a very strict teacher here. I think that is not surprising anymore.
What kind of books do you read?
I usually read Korean books. ... I’ve read a lot of Christian books. I’m actually Christian.
What advice do you have for Framingham State students?
Grow up. Be responsible about what they are doing and be more like a professional even – as a student. I always tell my students, in a classroom setting to be responsible about what they are doing. ... I came from Korea. A lot of students are very punctual. Be on time. So, I want my students to be responsible about what they are doing instead of pointing at other people.