Gatepost Interview: Seunghye Cho, Fashion Professor

[Allie Gath]

By Jesse Sannicandro

Assistant News Editor

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.