Adams’ passion for fashion


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North Penn alumni Samantha Adams takes on the fashion world one new design at a time.

It seems like just yesterday Samantha Adams was playing dress up with her friends and sketching outfits using fashion plates. Today she is still doing both, but it is no longer a child’s game. Now her sketches are made of fabric and her friends have been replaced by runway models.  

Samantha Adams, a 2019 North Penn graduate, is a senior at the New York Fashion Institute of Technology. Adams is currently studying fashion design, specifically women’s wear, and specializes in American sportswear. From the moment the interview started you could feel the devotion for fashion spilling out of Adams. In fact, she was sewing an outfit as we spoke. For Adams, it has always been this way though. She can’t even remember a time when she didn’t have fashion in the back of her mind. 

“When I was younger fashion was always like a subconscious for me. It was something I tended to gravitate towards,” Adams explained. 

Adams always had a feeling that she was different from other students just by the way she dressed. As she grew up it became more noticeable that her fashion-ridden brain wasn’t something that everyone else had. That was also the same moment she realized she needed to pursue a career in fashion.   

“When I was in elementary school I used to dress nicely to school every day and people would always tell me I looked so nice but for me, that was always just my style. I was never thinking, ‘oh I want to dress up for school today’ it was just what I wore,” Adams recounted. “Then when I got to middle school, I remember standing in the hallway at Pennbrook and it just hit me that I really wanted to pursue fashion as a career. Literally, from that day on, everything I did inside and outside of school was all a part of getting me into a good design school”.  

Adam’s path to getting into FIT certainly wasn’t an easy one. She dedicated a lot of her classes toward fashion to help build up her experience and get one step ahead of her competitors. 

“At Pennbrook I did the FCS major in ninth grade because I wanted to get involved as much as I could in something I was really interested in. In high school, I took the fashion classes at North Penn which was great because not many schools even offer classes related to fashion,” Adams explained. “My sophomore year I took the clothing one class, clothing two my junior year, and then my senior year I career studied with Mrs.Townsend in the FCS department working in the fashion classes and helping out’. 

Something that separated Adams from the rest was all the work she put into her goals outside of school as well. From extracurriculars to internships, her world constantly revolved around the fashion scene. 

Samantha Adams will never forget the experience of having her pieces featured at New York fashion week.

“In my junior year at North Penn, I started the fashion club and served as the president. In my senior year, I also did a program at Nordstrom. It was a high school ambassador program where I would meet with different companies that work for them in the industry,” Adams shared. “That was a great experience because it taught me a lot of other stuff I didn’t necessarily learn at North Penn and it was also mostly the business side”.  

Adams was extremely grateful for the opportunities North Penn provided her when it came to getting a head start in the fashion realm. Without the numerous classes offered by the school, it is likely that Adams would have never had the chance to get into a school such as FIT. 

“I think the classes at North Penn helped me stand out when I was applying because it showed that I had true interest and had had an interest for a while. I think if you are really passionate about something, getting really involved at the high school level is just another way to show colleges that you are really interested,” Adams advised. “I also believe the career study program was really beneficial because in the application process for such a selective school, they see applications from all over the world and you need something to stand out,” Adams shared. 

When applying to FIT Adams knew she wasn’t the best applicant they would get but she was still confident she had a place there. She explained that it isn’t necessarily about your skill as much as it is about your drive and potential. 

“Many professors have told me that sometimes they don’t take the best portfolios that they see but they will take the people that they see have the potential to grow. Before I went to FIT I had never taken an art class and I could barely draw a stick figure. Sewing was definitely more my forte,” Adams said with a laugh. “I will say my portfolio probably wasn’t great art wise but I was involved a lot and showed that I had room for growth, I just needed to take a few more classes to improve some of my skills”. 

One interesting thing about Adams that sets her apart from other aspiring fashion designers, is that she never had the dream to live in New York City. Now, as she looks back on her past four years in the city, she is incredibly grateful she chose to reside there. 

“Oddly I didn’t go to FIT because it was based in New York. For most students, I feel like they choose to go here for the city whereas I came here for the school,” Adams shared. “When I was younger I didn’t look at New York as much of a fashion hub as I do now. After gaining some experience in the industry now I realize that all the people who are prominent in the industry live here. Building those connections with not only fashion designers but brands and companies as well as people that work in the fashion industry outside of design is super important, but all those people are in New York City”. 

Connections are incredibly important in an industry such as fashion when it comes to getting jobs and crucial opportunities. This is why Adams feels that her decision to live in New York will truly benefit her come May when it comes time for her to make her entrance into the fashion world. 

“It is easy to build these connections when you know the right people and I think if I didn’t go to school here I would never have been able to make some of these connections. Another thing about the industry is that there are a lot of companies and designers that only hire people that went to FIT because they went to FIT,” Adams stated. “Now when I graduate in May, I know I am so far ahead of the people who don’t live here”. 

Adams’ mind is constantly swirling with ideas for new outfits to add to her collection.

When it comes to going to a specialized school such as FIT, your experiences are completely different from if you were at any other school. Adams found that her experience has been “unconventional” as she likes to call it. But that unconventional experience has benefitted her in more ways than she could ever imagine. 

“There is nothing normal about FIT,” Adams said with a chuckle. “FIT is a massive international school. In my major specifically, I would say more than half the people in my program are international students. People will come from all over the world meaning I am interacting with people from Europe, Asia, and South America. It is also really cool because all these people get inspiration from their home country and what they grew up around, so as an American to have the opportunity to meet all these people and gain inspiration from their cultures has been great”. 

 Although the wide variety of students at FIT can be great, with that comes a tremendous amount of competitiveness. Adams has definitely struggled with the competitive aspect but she knows that this is how she will grow as a designer. 

“In the program I am in, the acceptance rate is under 10% so it is very competitive. My program really has the best of the best and the people that are coming internationally are just insane at what they do,” Adams revealed. “Sometimes, I look at them and just think they are amazing at what they do, but then I have to remind myself, I am here too and I belong in this room with them. I never want to look down on myself but it is hard because I feel a lot of pressure. I just have to remind myself I deserve to be there just as much”. 

Something that Adams wants everyone around her to know is that fashion isn’t just a career for her, but it is her life. What has allowed Adams to have so much success so far is her love for everything fashion. Something she has realized is that if you don’t love it enough, ultimately you will struggle. 

“I feel like almost everyone at FIT started in the industry with fashion as a passion but now it is a career. My fashion side never really turns off. It is something that when I go home, I am still thinking about,” Adams shared. “I think some people at FIT struggle with that because it completely takes over your life and if you don’t love it enough then it becomes difficult. Many people drop out of FIT for that reason. Fashion isn’t an industry where you can look at it as just a job because it is not. It is your entire life and you really have to love it”. 

Adams is a firm believer that true success in life comes from doing what you love. She believes that if you don’t carry that devotion to what you do, you will never have the desire to reach your full potential. 

If you love what you do you have so much more passion and drive to go further. I am only 21 and I can confidently say that I feel like I have done more things than people twice my age.

— Samantha Adams

,” Adams said. “I think fashion just makes my life so much better because I never wake up and dread having to do what I am doing. I think everyone should do what they love because it makes every aspect of your life so much better”. 

As Adams has advanced throughout the fashion world she has had some amazing experiences that not many people get to have. 

“I have been to multiple fashion weeks but I would say one of the most notable experiences I have had was in the fall of 2022 when I worked my first fashion week on the design team. It was incredible because I got to see pieces I worked on go down the runway,” Adams shared. “Fashion week is always really hectic but I think once you see your work go down the runway you just get a different sense of gratification knowing that so many people are seeing your work”. 

As her graduation approaches, Adams has been thinking long and hard about what her next steps are in her career. Today, she can confidently say she feels she knows that path meant for her. 

“Once I graduate I honestly just want to work as a designer. I want to be more on the corporate side of the industry. I have interned for small New York designers and I didn’t feel that was really for me. My current internship is on the corporate side of the design team and I feel like that is where I want to stay post-grad,” Adams explained. 

Although she admitted it would be incredibly cool to have her own business, she doesn’t feel that it is the right fit for her at the moment. 

“Although it would be super cool to have my own brand I just feel like there is so much to learn. Unfortunately, FIT doesn’t teach business to design students so I don’t necessarily feel equipped to successfully start a design business right now,” Adams revealed. 

But she did say that the idea of her own business isn’t completely off the table. 

“Maybe down the line if I felt like I was at a place where I was knowledgeable enough and had the right resources then, of course, I would go for it,” Adams claimed. 

As for now, we won’t be seeing Adams’s own business anytime soon, but she will continue to make her name known in the fashion world and grow her experience in the years to come. But never say never. 

“Maybe one day everyone will know Samantha Adams,” Adams concluded.