Grant Sullivan

Major: Apparel, Merchandising, and Design
Class: Senior
Timeframe: Summer 2023
Program: Exploration of Design and Artisanship throughout Europe
Destination: Germany

Overall Experience

I experienced a sense of adventure and belonging while traveling through the four nations. Paris had a creative spirit that was a fusion of classical society and modern design, and I could feel it. This confirmed that to maintain my sense of adventure and creativity, I must work for a fashion couture house in Europe. I developed a sense of cultural belonging in addition to the way of life. Particularly in Germany, where I have German ancestry, I felt at ease and home. I matured and became more certain that my career must be expanded into Europe.

Learning experience

To give more of a background, I majored in fashion design. During the trip, we had opportunities to learn more about techniques that involve textiles such as indigo dying and lace stitching. The most valuable learning experience that surround my interest and connected back to my education was the visit to the Christian Dior Museum. Learning the history of Christian Dior himself, and the predecessors that followed him in the role of creative director was the most physically inspirational tour I have experienced. The evolution of the designs from drawing to rough drafts and then to witnessing the final designs in person rather than through a screen online. You can tell from my camera roll that the place meant so much more to me than any other visit we had taken.

Memorable experience

The day we visited the Eiffel Tower was the most memorable. We exited the train at the station and walked to the tower. The fact that it was a Sunday helped make the walk seem surreal, but nobody else was out and about. I received the impression of having an apartment in the heart of Paris just by seeing the city's architecture and way of life. We could see the tower after we came out of the homes and park. Television and movies do not do the structure any credit. The other tourists and the mayhem could only be blocked out there during the entire journey. I was solely paying attention to the scenery as I tried to visualize and comprehend how stunning the city was. Several people observed a soccer field just a few hundred yards away as we ascended the tower. We agreed to stroll over there after we were finished. From there, we enjoyed a spectacular soccer game with the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Afterward, we toured the Christian Dior Museum, which single-handedly was the most physically inspirational tour I have experienced. What was impressive was seeing the transitions from each creative director, staying true to the Christian Dior aesthetic. We returned to the hostel after the tour and made plans to go to the rooftop. From there, we enjoyed a beautiful view of the city's sunset as we celebrated a classmate's birthday. This day is one of my top five favorite days ever.

What did you not expect?

When I traveled to different countries and saw that people live based on certain styles, it also stretched my outlook. While the youth in Germany are more influenced by streetwear and wear cargo pants and trainers as their footwear, in Paris individuals wore hues of blue within their outfits and believed in dressing sophisticated. Even though these nations and cities are close to one another, there are still a lot of distinctions between them, according to personal experience. Knowing the demographics and marketing aids in the creation process.

What advice would you give?

As a person, you must be open to new experiences, which sounds cliché. The reason I say this is because the program switched to industrial design instead of through the AMD program. Knowing that I was then going to go on the trip knowing that I would not know anyone, was exciting for me. You must challenge yourself to be comfortable when you feel uncomfortable. Which was the motto the whole trip, trying new experiences.

How has this experience impacted your life?

In terms of my personal, academic, and professional ambitions, I think the trip had a significant impact on my life. It was always my ambition to work in Europe for a fashion house before the trip. I knew I had to migrate to Europe and work as the creative director for a fashion brand after traveling and viewing the world through new eyes. I want to get to that point in my career. Knowing firsthand that Europe is the center of fashion culture had an impact on my life as a result of the trip.

How did you learn about this experience?

I learned about the opportunity from my past professor, Grit Sadtler. She brought it to my attention when it was my junior year. She later changed colleges at ISU to work in the Department of Industrial Design. She did, however, recall that I wanted to go on the trip. When the program became accessible once more, she got in touch with me.

International Connections