Amira Linson ('23) first sat in front of a sewing machine at age 9. The whirring sound of that machine, which was a gift from her great-grandmother, ignited a curiosity about the career possibilities that exist within the fashion industry.
"I feel like that's what got me interested in it -- my grandma encouraging me and knowing that it was possible to pursue a career in fashion," says Linson, who graduated in May from UNT's College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism with a double major in merchandising and digital retailing.
She is confident that her CMHT professors and experiences -- which include internships with major companies and working during Paris Fashion Week -- prepared her for what she hopes will be a successful career focused on the "business side" of the industry.
She grew up watching her father work a career in the technology field and says CMHT's digital retailing major appealed to her. "I thought, 'This is an industry that's going to be in high demand after I graduate since most businesses are switching to or expanding their digital presence.'"
Linson points to a pair of courses -- Introduction to Retail Merchandising and Trend Analysis and Forecasting -- as having guided her career path and decisions.
"When I say, 'I love to work in fashion,' a lot of people automatically assume I want to be a fashion designer," says Linson, who transferred to UNT in 2020 from a university in her home state of Kansas. "There are so many careers within the fashion industry that I think people don't know about or understand."
Linson is a two-time winner -- in 2021 and 2023 -- of both the PVH Fashion Forward Scholarship and the Virgil Abloh "Post-Modern" Scholarship. The awards were presented via the Fashion Scholarship Fund, the nation's foremost fashion-oriented education and workforce development nonprofit organization. UNT is among FSF's 72 accredited member schools in the United States and Canada.
"Winning the scholarships was very beneficial. It unlocked a whole new industry network for me," she says.
In 2022, as a CMHT student, Linson served as a digital marketing intern with the fashion label Marrisa Wilson NY. Also that year, she completed an extended internship as a website merchandising intern with Fort Worth-based apparel company Dickies.
For several years, Linson has balanced her studies and internship opportunities with her freelance work as a travel team wholesale showroom exhibitor for the contemporary clothing brand ENTRO USA. Through that job, she has participated in shows at the Dallas Market Center, during which apparel manufacturers present their goods to product buyers from large retail stores, small boutique owners and others.
"It's a really good opportunity because you're getting travel experience and you're communicating with buyers, so you're seeing a different side of buyer-and-seller transactions," she says. "You get to see the wholesale side and how inventory flows and learn about buyer trends."
Even with her previous experience, Linson says she was surprised by what she learned this summer while participating in a three-month internship with luxury fashion brand Loewe in Paris.
As part of the program, she supported the company's digital marketing efforts, which included assisting at its shows during the famed Paris Fashion Week, when designers showcase their latest looks. During the runway show, she was tasked with introducing Loewe's social media content creator to celebrities in attendance, among other duties.
"Seeing how the show comes together in the weeks and months before and during production and post-production was interesting," she says. "I didn't realize there was so much work that happened immediately after the show for the content marketing team to get all of the digital content ready to present and post on social media. The turnaround is so quick. That was really surprising to see."
She also worked on a project that utilized her digital retailing degree while interacting with content creators and marketing and advertising specialists from the technology company Meta, which runs Facebook and Instagram.
Linson credits much of her success to the CMHT curriculum's emphasis on collaborative learning.
"That is definitely one of the things that has helped me stand out and be able to work effectively within the industry, because from what I've seen so far, the fashion industry is full of group projects," she says. "For the majority of my classes at UNT, a group project was the largest portion of my grade. CMHT helped me understand the importance of presentation and being a team player."