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Meet One of the Newest Members of Our Wilson College Family: Jessica Singleton

Headshot of Jessica Singleton.

Jessica Singleton

  • Position: Teaching Assistant Professor
  • Department: Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management 
  • Hometown: Fayetteville, North Carolina

What courses do you teach?

  • FTM 317: Computer-Aided-Design for Apparel
  • FTM 219: Fashion Product Analysis
  • FTD 216: Fashion Workroom Practices
  • FTM 318: Fashion Development Processes (Fall ’24)

What was your path to this position?

My journey to becoming an assistant teaching professor has been shaped by a diverse array of experiences in both academia and the apparel industry. Pursuing a B.S. in Textile Apparel Management, now the B.S. in Fashion and Textile Management, with a concentration in fashion development and product management, provided me with a solid foundation in the business side of the fashion industry, setting the stage for my future endeavors.

Seeking to deepen my understanding of fashion design, particularly in menswear, I pursued a Master of Fine Arts degree with a specialization in menswear from the Savannah College of Art and Design. This immersive program allowed me to delve deeply into the creative and technical aspects of menswear design, refine my skills and cultivate a unique aesthetic. 

Inspired by my passion for entrepreneurship and a desire to fill a void in menswear design mentorship, I founded Laché Supply & Company, a brand centered on narrative-driven garments celebrating Black ancestral stories.  Seeing my designs showcased by Teen Vogue and WWD solidified the belief that I could expand my brand and help other entrepreneurs along the way. 

With over 15 years of industry experience at esteemed brands such as Spanx, Hanesbrands, Twentieth Century Fox, J.Stark and André 3000, Inc., I gained invaluable insights into the practicalities of the fashion business and cutting-edge technologies like 3D apparel design. My experiences teaching at South Carolina State University and the Art Institute of Charleston were instrumental in honing my skills as an effective educator and refining my teaching methods to enrich the knowledge of fashion students, particularly in technical design. 

Now, as a teaching assistant professor at the Wilson College of Textiles, I’m committed to sharing this wealth of knowledge with aspiring fashion professionals, serving as a mentor and resource for students interested in menswear design, and fostering a culture of creativity and innovation in the classroom.

What drew you to this position? Why the Wilson College of Textiles?

What drew me to this position at the Wilson College of Textiles was a deeply personal connection and a strong desire to give back to an institution that has imparted so much knowledge and guidance to me over the years. As an alumna of NC State, I felt a profound sense of gratitude towards the college and its faculty who played a pivotal role in shaping my journey in the fashion industry. 

The opportunity to return to my alma mater not only felt like coming full circle but also presented a chance to contribute to the legacy of excellence that the Wilson College of Textiles is known for. It’s a way for me to pay it forward and share the wealth of experience and expertise I’ve gained throughout my career while nurturing and inspiring the next generation of textile and apparel professionals.

What does your day-to-day look like?

My day-to-day is a whirlwind of activity, but I’ve learned to navigate it with precision and purpose. I start early, arriving at school ahead of time to prepare for my classes. This involves double-checking PowerPoint presentations and ensuring everything is in order before stepping into the classroom. Living an hour away means an early departure from home, but I try to make time for a workout and to walk my dog. 

As an educator, I strive to be a beacon of warmth and support for each student by checking in on their wellbeing and offering assistance with assignments. Cracking jokes in class – whether met with laughter or not – helps create a positive and engaging atmosphere. I also attend my own Ph.D. classes twice a week, as I’m currently pursuing my doctorate here at the college. 

Once home, I manage emails for my two businesses and share dinner creations on my cooking blog, “The Chronicles of the Cast Iron Chef,” followed by unwinding with my husband. While it may seem like a full day, every task is meticulously planned to ensure I can give my best to each endeavor and watch my favorite TV shows.

What are you looking forward to in this role? 

In this role, I’m really looking forward to being a part of students’ journeys as they discover their passions and talents in design and product development. It’s incredibly fulfilling for me to see them grow and flourish creatively, overcoming challenges and finding their unique voices in the industry. I’m excited about creating a warm and supportive atmosphere where students feel comfortable expressing themselves and exploring their potential. And you know, there’s nothing quite like those “aha” moments when a concept clicks or a project comes together beautifully. Ultimately, I’m thrilled about the opportunity to inspire and empower the next generation of industry leaders, helping them realize their dreams and make a positive impact in the world of textiles and apparel.

What advice would you give to your college / younger self?

If I could advise my younger self, it would be to take a deep breath and enjoy the journey of exploring all that Wilson College of Textiles had to offer. Back in undergrad, I’d encourage myself to take it easy and dive deeper into the opportunities available, especially in terms of technology and surface textile design. The Wilson College of Textiles had such a wealth of resources waiting to be tapped into, and I’d remind myself to make the most of every single one. Whether it’s experimenting with new techniques, delving into the latest advancements, or seeking out mentorship, I’d advise my younger self to seize every opportunity to become a more well-rounded designer.

Above all, I’d emphasize the importance of having fun along the way. Design is all about creativity and innovation, and there’s so much joy to be found in exploring the boundless possibilities that textiles offer. So, I’d tell my college self to embrace the journey, stay curious and never stop pushing the boundaries of design capabilities. After all, the more we immerse ourselves in the world of textiles, the more we uncover our true potential as designers