Q&A with Apparel Merchandising Student Haidyn Chudy
After her inspirational experience at New York Fashion Week (NYFW), Haidyn Chudy, Baylor University Apparel Merchandising student, shares about her time spent learning from esteemed designers in this Q&A. You can also learn more about Haidyn's experience and the Baylor Athletics and CLC partnership that made it happen here.
How did you first get into fashion and apparel merchandising at Baylor?
When I was younger, I always knew that I wanted to pursue something in fashion, but it wasn’t until I came to Baylor that I really found my passion. I came in as a business major, but Dr. Brunson in Apparel Merchandising was the reason I switched majors. She poured into me as a student and forged many paths to get me to where I am today. Coming into college, I started my own business—a jewelry boutique called Southern Belle Glitz—which is a drive for everything I do now. One thing led to another, and here we are!
Tell us a little about your experience at New York Fashion Week and the role you played there.
My time with New York Fashion Week was incredible. On Friday, I spent the day with Champion. We had the opportunity to talk with their designers and learn about the back end of things, like the creative processes and archives they were collecting. I loved learning about their forecasting, where they are studying current events that are driving fashion today. These concepts are exactly what I’m learning in my Fashion Forecasting and Trend class right now. To finish off our time with them, we went to the Champion store and customized our own apparel.
On Saturday, we went to the Shows and the Talks. We truly got the VIP experience and ended up sitting second row, where we saw NewLeaper. At the Shows, we saw four different designers, and I loved experiencing the different aesthetics for spring and how they flowed together. The most interesting was the last show¬—it was a mix of dancing, singing, and fashion. Seeing these arts together was nothing I’ve ever experienced before! Watching the designers walk on stage afterwards was so sweet. By the end, I was in tears because I was so humbled to be there with these amazing people. Afterwards, we went to the Talks where we were able to hear from different panelists and their experience in the industry. The panel was focused on diversity in current fashion. I learned so much from both the Shows and the Talks.
What were your favorite parts of your time in New York?
Two parts of my trip stood out to me. Obviously, the Show was a favorite because that was a whole dream in and of itself. It was just so humbling to be present there because I always wanted to have an experience like this. I would just pray and thank God, telling Him how grateful I was for letting us be there. Another favorite part of mine was on the business side of the industry, where I was able to see how practices of brands and companies correlated back to my classroom studies at Baylor. I liked being able to see what I was learning in action. Considering these things made me think about the type of position I would want to go into after college.
You mentioned you had an online jewelry business. Do you think you can take any part of your experience and apply it to the business you have now?
When looking at my business from a buying perspective of what the trends are going to be in Spring 2023, I can apply many of those aspects to Southern Belle Glitz. We saw a lot of bright colors continuing and a lot of sparkles—some in the form of rhinestones, others in glass beads. When buying for my brand, it’s good to see what is currently on the runway. Also, I want to maintain those relationships I made during my time in New York and apply those connections to my business. Finally, I’m definitely going to take all I learned at Champion and apply it, especially their business model and forecasting mindset.
Moving forward, how do you think this experience will impact you, both as a Baylor student and apparel merchandising professional?
I thought to myself, You’re a senior. Do you want to go to New York after graduating? Is this something you want to pursue? I kept praying for God to open the doors that needed to be opened, and He answered my prayers. This experience solidified that I love this industry, and this is something I really do want to be a part of. I don’t know what that is going to look like at the present moment, but this week definitely helped in fueling my passions for such a versatile industry. As a student going forward, I realized my time with Champion was so on-point with many concepts I’m studying at Baylor. In seeing information from classes applied to the real world, I found it reassuring to know that this was valuable information that I’m going to use one day.
Do you have any final thoughts on your week at New York Fashion Week?
Be intentional in your relationships and don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone. Remember where you’ve come from and be thankful. This trip was so amazing and has taught me so much about gratitude and to be humble in what I’m doing. When I was there, I just couldn’t believe that it was real life, and I was so honored to be there. I want to go back in February, so I want to make it happen! NYFW was amazing, and I highly recommend!