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Women in Fashion – Celeste J. Herrera

Celeste Herrera in a maroon cap and gown

“Ever since I was 10 years old I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer. I had a Barbie fashion kit, I learned that my grandma in Guatemala was a weaver, and my dad was even a tailor at one point. As an immigrant coming to the United States with very little money, my mom taught me the importance of maintaining the longevity of our clothing. She taught me how to hand sew and my interest grew over the years.

I came to Meredith because my older brother introduced it to me. He attended N.C. Governor’s School and loved his experience at this campus. I also came from Sanford, N.C., and thought it would be an easier transition to college. Coming from a small town, I had those close and personal relationships with my teachers, faculty, and peers. I knew Meredith was just like that the minute I toured. They also offered a high academic merit scholarship with donor support scholarships that made it possible for my parents and me to afford.

I’ve looked up to my adviser, Dr. Howell, ever since my freshman year classes and throughout my years at Meredith. She always carried herself with confidence, style, and passion. I admired her will to help students and I would hear from other students how helpful she has been to them. She saw my potential and made sure I knew I could go big in the fashion industry. She made me feel heard and always reached out to me for opportunities to grow as a fashion student. 

In my freshman year, I was introduced to the National Retail Federation (NRF) by my adviser and by my Big, Josie Robinson. I was chosen as the Rising Star Scholar and got the opportunity to go to New York City for the convention. I immediately fell in love with this association and how many opportunities there are for students like me. This convention opened my eyes to many other opportunities, including my internship with Belk at their headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. I was their only design intern and I had the opportunity to work with model fittings, design challenges, cross-functional teams, intern group projects, organized fabric libraries, and more!

There were many small challenges that I overcame while at Meredith, including being a problem solver with group projects, a leader as a club officer, and an adapter during COVID-19. When the pandemic hit and everything switched to virtual, there were some hard days, but I realized I thrived working from home, making my own schedule, and practicing self-care. Now, I’ve realized it’s a cool thing to be able to adapt, especially in this continuously changing world. 

I am currently applying and interviewing to find a remote or hybrid job in North Carolina as an assistant apparel designer or graphic designer, specifically in technical design. I’ve learned so much with my internship at Belk that I want to continue learning from either small business owners or corporate businesses to further my skills and step into starting my own business someday in the future.”

Explore fashion merchandising and design at Meredith