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Five Trending Career Paths for Graphic Designers

With so many job choices available in the field of Graphic Design, how do students and recent graduates choose a direction? Many are inspired by well-known creators within the industry such as award-winning modern artist, Paula Scher, and legendary designer Massimo Vignelli. These superstars of the Graphic Design world have made a distinctive mark on the industry, in many ways redefined what it is to be a Graphic Designer, and they both got their start with a degree in higher education.

For many students of Graphic Design in St. Louis, the decision on how best to use their degree can be daunting. But the field is rich with opportunities to hone creative skills, advance into leadership, and maybe even make a lasting mark on the industry like Scher and Vignelli. Siba’s Graphic Design Department Chair, Susan Stuart, shares five jobs that are in-demand right now.

Front End Web Developer

With a near-endless need for well-designed and conceived websites, a talented graphic artist can easily apply his/her/their skills as a front end web designer. Professionals in this role are often described as the “interior designers of a home built by back-end development.” They’re responsible for the layout of a site as well as how the user engages with it. Functionality is a key component of this position. Professionals need to have a thorough understanding of web-based languages including HTML, CSS, and Javascript. They should also be familiar frameworks like Bootstrap, Foundation, and EmberJS.

UX/UI Designer 

UX is short for “user experience,” and UI refers to “user interface.” While these roles are not exclusive to web design, in cases relating to website development they often work alongside front end web developers on the product development team. UX/UI Designers conduct research, build wireframes, develop flow for users, design mock-ups, and create visuals. This is done within the company’s branding and style guide to ensure a cohesive, user-friendly, visually appealing end product.  UX/UI designers are considered user advocates who continuously ensure that the end product meets the needs of consumers.

Art Director Prepare to be in the driver’s seat! This role usually comes after extensive experience working in the world of design. Art directors (in the field of Graphic Design) are responsible for leading a team of designers and overseeing the visual direction of a project or campaign. They work on a variety of projects such as branding, packaging, advertising, and digital designs. They collaborate with clients and stakeholders to understand their needs and goals, and develop a concept and visual style that aligns with their brand and target audience. Art directors in graphic design have a strong understanding of design principles, typography, layout, and color theory, and are skilled in using software such as Adobe Creative Suite. They are responsible for guiding the design process from concept to final production, ensuring that the design meets the client's objectives, and is visually appealing, effective and innovative.

Motion Designer/Interactive Media Designer
Motion designers and interactive media designers are professionals who create digital animations, graphics and interactive media for a wide range of industries including film, television, advertising, video games, and web design. Motion designers use software such as Adobe After Effects and Cinema 4D to create 2D and 3D animations, while interactive media designers use tools such as Unity and Unreal Engine to create interactive experiences. They often work closely with creative directors and other designers to develop storyboards and visual concepts, and may be involved in the entire production process from pre-production to post-production. They are responsible for bringing a brand’s message to life in a dynamic and engaging way by creating engaging digital experiences that are interactive and visually compelling.

Graphic Designer

Of course we can’t forget our program’s namesake! Graphic designers are professionals who use visual elements such as typography, imagery, and color to communicate ideas and create effective designs for various media including print, digital and web. They are responsible for creating designs for a wide range of materials such as brochures, billboards, packaging, websites, and social media posts. They work closely with clients and other members of a creative team to understand the goals and objectives of a project, and then use their skills in design software such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create visually appealing and on-brand designs that resonate with the target audience. Graphic designers play a crucial role in helping businesses and organizations to stand out and communicate their messages effectively, which is why they are often considered an essential part of a company's marketing strategy.

While these Graphic Design careers are in-demand, we at Siba have seen alumni use their degrees to find jobs which are as diverse as the unique skillsets of the individual. Siba’s Portfolio classes, which help students polish their body of work and meet with employers in the St. Louis area, have a significant impact on their career trajectories. We hope to see our graduates continue to make their mark on the Graphic Design world – and maybe join the ranks of Scher and Vignelli one day!

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reflection at the St. Louis Holocaust Museum

A field trip to the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum provided an opportunity for reflection by Siba students recently. The college’s Diversity Studies class made a visit to the newly expanded campus where they gained a deeper understanding of one of the most devastating events of the modern era.

The museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy and tragedy of the deliberate genocide of Jews during World War II. Students learned that many of the prejudices that fed into the persecution of Jews decades ago still exist today. To fight those biases, the institution’s mission is to “Use the history and lessons of the Holocaust to reject hatred, promote understanding, and inspire change.”

The museum accomplishes this mission by telling the stories of survivors who settled in the St. Louis region. While difficult to single out any one account, the story of museum ambassador Ben Fainer holds a special place in our hearts at Siba. Fainer hosted and led tours for countless numbers of visiting Siba Diversity students over the past 2-3 decades before his passing in 2016. Below, he is pictured with Dr. Emilee Schnefke during a visit to the museum back in 2011.

Fainer was originally from Poland. He was forced to work at a number of Nazi labor camps including Buchenwald. He lost his mother, three siblings, and numerous extended family members to the Holocaust. He was liberated by American soldiers while on a final death-march in the spring of 1945. Fainer went on to immigrate to Canada, and eventually settle in St. Louis where he worked at Barad & Co. here in the Downtown St. Louis Garment District where our Siba campus is located. You can read his poignant account in his memoir published in 2012.

The museum further explores ways for visitors to connect to the Holocaust and its survivors through the displays of artifacts and an interactive main exhibit. Siba students began their tour with Hitler’s rise to power, then learned about the escalation of persecution and the culmination of government-led programs into systematic genocide called the “Final Solution.” Despite the devastating content, the exhibit ends on a hopeful, uplifting note with the wisdom and hope of its survivors with living remembrances that serve as a powerful reminder of the consequences of the Holocaust.

A special thank you to our guide, Diane Peach, who we learned during our visit, had taught Siba’s Academic Dean, Dr. Schnefke, back her grade school days!

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Siba | 75 Years | Alumni Stories

Stevens – The Institute of Business & Arts is proud to be celebrating 75 years of serving the St. Louis Metropolitan Area this year. We got our start in 1947 as Patricia Stevens College – a modeling and finishing school for women. Over the years, we’ve evolved; adding degree programs, transitioning to a co-educational student body, and updating our course catalog to remain competitive with the needs of employers in the region. To commemorate this milestone, we’re looking back and sharing the stories of some of the alumni who have made us who we are today.

Our latest installment in this series is written by 2012 Interior Design B.A. graduate, Shannon Gonzalez:

I attended Siba from 2009 to 2012. When I first started the Interior Design degree program, the name of the school was Patricia Stevens College (PSC). My grandmother actually attended Patricia Stevens College when the school was an all-girls finishing school. When I started attending classes it didn't exactly look like the campus we know it to be today--PSC was undergoing a period of transition. My mother and I saw the potential in Cindy and the staff's vision of what they wanted the college to be. With a new location and new name, they made it happen! 

What's truly amazing about Siba is the amount of hands-on experience students get while attending classes. The best hands-on experience I had during college was being a part of designing the school’s new location on Washington Avenue. As final projects, Interior Design students designed the classrooms, offices, breakrooms, and restrooms. The staff and students also got to vote for what we thought the new name of the school should be, which is now known as Stevens-The Institute of Business & Arts (Siba).  

One thing I remember about the classes I took is that they were all taught by instructors who had years of experience working in their field before teaching at PSC/Siba. The instructors always encouraged us to do our absolute best at whatever we were working on. I remember a few times rushing to get a project finished so I could be done early, then hearing "It's good, but is that the best you're capable of?" All the instructors I had when I was attending classes were incredibly talented and knowledgeable and I learned so much from them all. From the bottom of my heart thank you for giving me knowledge, wise advice, encouragement so I could follow my dreams!

Since graduation, I've worked for some great companies and clients. My first job out of college was actually working as a recruiter for Siba where I acquired some great marketing skills. Then I went on to work for Global Granite & Marble, where I got the amazing opportunity to move to Chicago to be a part of designing their 4th location. After Chicago I moved to Evansville, Indiana, and started doing more photography and graphic design work for clients. I wouldn't be doing photography or graphic design work if I hadn't learned Photoshop at Siba. I started my business “Deeshay” in 2020. I offer Interior Design, Photography, and Graphic Design services. My website is deeshay.com if you would like to see some of my work or read my bio. 

The best advice I can offer Siba students is: don't procrastinate when you’re working on a project. In college sometimes I would wait until last minute to get projects done, and I didn’t realize then that it wouldn't be an easy habit to break. I have learned that procrastinating only brings unnecessary stress to your life and could potentially cause you to lose clients. Also try not to work for free for your family and friends! (This is something I'm pretty sure every Instructor told me before I graduated.) However, me being me and wanting to design any and everything for everyone possible ended up with me getting burned out before I even started making money in my field. You are going to school to further develop your amazing talents and your time is very valuable. Don't ever forget that! 

I'll finish with saying I will forever cherish the friendships and memories I made during my time at Siba. I wish all the alumni, current students and future students nothing but the best of luck in life!

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New year all about you!

It can be easy to put our ambitions and goals on the back burner. With the new year comes an opportunity to reset and refocus on your priorities. At Siba your voice is heard, your needs are met, and your dreams are achieved with the support of our staff. We are your biggest cheerleaders and we want you to succeed! Our programs include Business AdministrationGraphic DesignInterior Design, and Fashion Development & Merchandising.

We’re enrolling now for day and evening classes for our Bachelor’s and Associate of Applied Science degrees. Contact a member of our Admissions team to get started or book your visit online. We can’t wait to meet you!


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Siba | 75 Years | Alumni Stories

Stevens - The Institute of Business & Arts is proud to be celebrating 75 years of serving the St. Louis Metropolitan Area this year. We got our start in 1947 as Patricia Stevens College - a modeling and finishing school for women. Over the years, we've evolved; adding degree programs, transitioning to a co-educational student body, and updating our course catalog to remain competitive with the needs of employers in the region. To commemorate this milestone, we're looking back and sharing the stories of some of the alumni who have made us who we are today.

Class of 2014 graduate, Alexandria “AK” Brown, has used her eye for style and trends to build a unique brand and business that serves the local fashion industry. We’ve written before about her role as the Fashion Connector and her efforts to bolster African American fashion creatives in the St. Louis region through Black in St. Louis Fashion. The breadth of her experience in the industry, coupled with her entrepreneurial approach, made her a natural fit for her latest roles as a Siba instructor. We caught up with AK to reflect on this “full-circle” moment, as well as her experience as a student.

What year(s) did you attend Siba and do you remember the exact name of the school at the time? Where was the campus located when you attended?
I attended between 2012-2014. I went to Siba during their rebrand. At first it was called Stevens Institute of Business & Arts, and eventually became Stevens - The Institute of Business & Arts. Our campus was located in the current building in Washington Ave.

What program did you graduate from?
Retail Management/ Fashion Merchandising

What reason(s) did you have for choosing to attend Siba?
I wanted to go to a fashion school that would be more accommodating to my situation of being a new/young mother.

What do you remember about the classes you took?
They actually prepared me for what I planned on doing at the time which was a big thing for me. Even some of the computer/business classes like Database ended up being really useful.

Do you remember approximately how many other students were in your classes? Do you keep in touch with anyone you met Siba?
Our classes ranged from 4-12 students, very diverse. Sometimes up to half men and half women. I met two of my best friends at Siba and are still close to this day.

What are some of your best memories/experiences?
Student government - we started it up again when I was there and I was student president. It was fun and that’s where I found some lifelong friends.

Is there a lesson and/or instructor that sticks with you to this day?
Fashion Development & Merchandising Department Chair, Lynne Wasson, and Business Administration Department Chair, Ratesha Nicholson. Being able to say they are my coworkers now is beyond crazy. They care about their students, inside and outside the classroom, as well as after you graduate. But to be honest, all of Siba is like that. It’s an experience you will not get at a larger university.

Please describe any further education you pursued after Siba, how your career evolved between then and now, and the kind of work you do now.
To keep it short and sweet (because it’s a lot), during Siba I started my fashion blog, and almost 10 years later it has evolved into my role as a fashion influencer, public figure, and strategist in St. Louis. After Siba I pursued my Masters from Lindenwood in PR. For a short time, I owned a boutique fashion PR business. Now I offer strategy plans to businesses who want to gain visibility for their fashion brands. I also own a non-profit called Black in St Louis Fashion, and a studio/magazine called PinkMuse.

What advice would you offer current Siba students? 
My advice is to never give up. It’s cliché but it’s true. I went to Siba at a time where I didn’t know what direction I was headed. I just had a baby and moved back home. No car, took the metro link and walked to school for almost a year in order to stay on track with graduating. It may not be easy but I promise you, it’s going to be so worth it in the end.

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Siba | 75 Years | Alumni Stories

Stevens - The Institute of Business & Arts is proud to be celebrating 75 years of serving the St. Louis Metropolitan Area this year. We got our start in 1947 as Patricia Stevens College - a modeling and finishing school for women. Over the years, we've evolved; adding degree programs, transitioning to a co-educational student body, and updating our course catalog to remain competitive with the needs of employers in the region.

To commemorate this milestone, we're looking back and sharing the stories of alumni who have made us who we are today. In our next installment, we talked to Linda Dahlheimer, who studied business at Patricia Stevens from 1964-1966.

What prompted you to attend Patricia Stevens/Siba?

When John and Patricia Klute pulled into my parents’ driveway in Altamont, IL that evening in early 1964, I didn’t think a thing about a couple of college recruiters, in this case, proprietors, making a nearly 200-mile round trip to interview a potential student. Only much later would I realize the tradition at Patricia Stevens Career College and Finishing School was, in the world of college recruiting, pretty much a phenomenon.  During their visit, my parents expressed safety concerns in attending school in Downtown St. Louis. “With ongoing renovation on the Riverfront, and the Arch under construction and expected to attract favorable attention worldwide,” I remember Mrs. Klute saying, while reassuring my parents, “positive things are happening.”  But my dad was not convinced. “I still don’t like the idea of my daughter living in a big dorm downtown.” The Klutes then described the “Live-in Nanny” alternative to dorm living.  A couple of hours later, after taking a written exam, I was in.  My parents had been impressed with the decorum of this husband-and-wife team and their reassuring thoughtfulness.

Did you end up living in the dorms?

Eventually, but not right away. In the beginning, I chose to participate in the “Live-In Nanny” program, so I lived in the home of a local family in Ladue. After Orientation Day, I was introduced to my new hosts/employers. As a new kid in town, the Ladue address meant nothing to me, other than enchantment with this beautiful home, and my studio apartment on the first floor. They were a lovely family to be with and my duties were largely confined to preparing the four children for bed each evening and babysitting when the parents occasionally went out for the evening.

I also knew nothing about the Veiled Profit Ball. “I’d feel more comfortable if you invited one of your classmates to spend the night, she told me, as she was preparing to be one of the maids that year. “Robberies can happen, with everyone away at the Ball.”  My experiences there complemented the “finishing school” aspect of Patricia Stevens. But I missed the after-hours with the school friends I was making and after several months, persuaded my parents to let me move to the dorm downtown.

What do you remember about the classes you took?

Class days were a whirlwind of shorthand, business law, and English, interlaced with lessons about social graces, dressing appropriately, deportment, etiquette, and even fencing.  Skirts or dresses and high heels were part of the required dress code. Since we did a lot of walking between our downtown campus and the dorm, we kept the local shoe repair places busy by routinely getting our heels recapped. Slacks and shorts were taboo at both school and out in public. “If I run into any of my students not in dresses,” our Fashions director warned, “I’ll pretend not to recognize you.”  A classmate and I were both donned in shorts during a shopping excursion one Saturday and ducked quickly into a nearby store so as to avoid embarrassment when we saw Miss Valerie coming our way!

Shorts and worn heel caps notwithstanding, school days were magical. Imagine, after just having completed an especially arduous hour of math, getting whisked away in the school’s hair salon for a new hairdo creation.  Or a do-over in the cosmetics lab between a history class. 

What are some favorite memories/experiences?

We had a lot of fun outside the classroom, too. There were excursions to the Klute home in Kirkwood for swimming parties, field trips to the Planetarium, and sitting in Channel 5’s studio audience when the school was tipped off that a celebrity was going to be on a show. I especially remember the time we got to see Michael Landon. Then there was the time I got to model a mink coat on the Charlotte Peters Show. She had contacted the school, looking for tall, medium-sized recruits to be featured on her upcoming show.

I also met someone who would become my lifelong (and best) friend, Joan Geisler Ray. We were in each other’s weddings, took trips together, and still communicate regularly.

After you graduated from the business program in 1966, what came next?

Following the graduation ceremony that was held at the Sheraton-Jefferson Hotel, the school placed me with an insurance company on Lindell Blvd in Midtown. Six years later, I accepted a position at the Ralston Purina Company Downtown, where I worked until 1980 as the department supervisor. By then, I had decided to retire to become a stay-at-home mom for our infant son. “You’re making just enough money,” my husband had quipped, “to put us into the next tax bracket.” Whether to stay or leave turned out to be a moot point because he was soon tasked with overseeing the relocation of the company, where he was employed, to the Washington DC area. Five years later, we returned to St. Louis and immediately started our own consulting business that had me running the national real estate network we had just acquired, all the while renovating our 100-year-old home in an historic city neighborhood. Our son and his wife and two children live there today. We mostly retired from our business when we moved to the Loft District 12 years ago and became grandparents (although I am about to begin proofreading my husband’s latest book). Except for a few stints over the years of living in the county and out of state, we’ve mostly been city dwellers—by choice.

Ironically, our loft is located a few blocks north of the dorm I resided at as a student nearly 60 years ago and within sight of Siba’s now-permanent campus on Washington Avenue.

What are the best takeaways from the time you spent at Patricia Stevens?

Looking back at the grand scheme of things, I think my greatest benefit from attending the school was being given the tools toward achieving self-confidence. That toolbox is never very far away because I sometimes still need to use it. I have remained best friends with one of my classmates, and we often rehash all the great memories made while attending our alma mater, and the people we met there. After all, my parents’ instincts had been spot-on regarding the decorum of that husband-and-wife team who had come to visit, and the reassuring thoughtfulness they had exuded.

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Interior Design Industry Insight | NeoCon 2022

As strong proponents of a real-world education, we at Siba very much believe that some of the most impactful lessons can be learned beyond the classroom. One opportunity that we give our interior design students every year is the option of traveling to Chicago, IL to attend NeoCon, a huge industry centered around commercial design.

Every summer, Siba students have the choice to make the trip with their department head and classmates to learn first-hand about everything new and cutting-edge when it comes to designing workplace, healthcare, hospitality, retail, education, public space and government spaces.

Janelle Schrumpf, Siba’s Department Chair of Interior Design, led her 16th group of students to Chicago earlier this summer for NeoCon 2022.

This year’s notable trends included the use of lots of texture, natural plant-based décor, and the return of robust color palettes.

“We’ve come from a very clean, monochromatic look during this gray and white period, and now we’re seeing more vibrant colors and patterns. The wider selections give students and designers a chance to expand their creativity using color, texture and pattern to create spaces that reflect a completely new aesthetic.”

Attending Neocon goes beyond being the first to see emerging trends—students also get to network with industry professionals and hear about the practical applications of the newest design materials by attending product demos and presentations by the product and manufacturing reps themselves.

“This time, students met with a rep for high-end porcelain tiles who explained and demonstrated just how important prep is before installation. If a floor isn’t completely level, the product won’t sit correctly. Hearing this from him will no doubt reinforce what they’ve already learned in the classroom, and I think they will remember it when they’re meeting with their future clients and coordinating with contractors.”

Another benefit of the trip: exposing students to high-end luxury finishes that they may not have seen from vendors in their hometowns. Schrumpf explains, “You can’t fully appreciate the quality of these finishes on the Internet. When you go to NeoCon and you get into those showrooms, you can understand the products in a very tactile, 3-dimensional way.”

Among the unique experiences our students had at this year’s tradeshow was a visit to the Dirtt show space. Dirtt, a global innovator when it comes to industrialized construction and interior design, wows participants with its use of virtual reality to display and manipulate design spaces. It’s a favorite stop each year for Siba students.

The ultimate purpose of all of our field trips (locally and out-of-town) is to expand our students’ understanding of the possibilities and opportunities that await them in their new field, and to expose them to the many pathways they can take within their profession that they may have otherwise not known existed.

As Schrumpf emphasizes, “There are thousands of sources and careers in the interior design world.  Attending Neocon enables students to imagine themselves working in and with a large variety of them, and it gives them confidence that they will have the tools and knowledge to be great resources for their future clients and employers.”

One thing that never changes about Neocon…there will always be new and innovative products to learn about next year! And we have no doubt that Janelle Schrumpf will be cheerfully leading the next group of Siba interior design majors to Chicago in 2023.

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Siba | 75 years | Alumni stories

Alumni Stories 1950-1959

Stevens - The Institute of Business & Arts is proud to be celebrating 75 years of serving the St. Louis Metropolitan Area this year. We got our start in 1947 as Patricia Stevens College - a modeling and finishing school for women. Over the years, we've evolved; adding degree programs, transitioning to a co-educational student body, and updating our course catalog to remain competitive with the needs of employers in the region.

To commemorate this milestone, we're looking back and sharing the stories of alumni who have made us who we are today. We start with Merna Tucker-Davis who attended soon after Patricia Stevens opened it's doors in St. Louis.

What year(s) did you attend Patricia Stevens?

I attended Patricia Stevens in 1955 while I was still a junior at Granite City High School. It was known then as a finishing school for young women, especially for those interested in becoming a model.  My mother believed it would help build my confidence and grace so a friend and I traveled on the streetcar from Granite City to downtown St. Louis for after-school classes.

What was the nature of your classes? 

The curriculum was a combination of modeling techniques, ways to maximize personal appearance, and teaching us how to be poised and “ladylike.”  I particularly remember getting my eyebrows tweezed for the very first time and that getting noticed right away. As I entered the school cafeteria the next day, some boys yelled, “Look she plucked her eyebrows!”  While embarrassing in the moment, it was definitely a positive improvement and became a permanent part of my beauty regimen! 

Another memorable lesson was being told to always wear a girdle so that my derrière could not move, especially while going up and down the stairs! Boy how times have changed on that issue….

What lesson did you value most?

That taking the time to present myself in my most attractive, poised manner is worth the effort. Being poised gave me the self-confidence to put myself out there and try new things throughout my entire life.

Describe your education, accomplishments, and career after Patricia Stevens.

As I finished high school, I was able to apply the lessons and techniques I learned at Patricia Stevens on several occasions. In February 1956, when I was a senior, I was honored to be crowned the Queen of the St. Louis Area Junior Achievement at the annual Coronation Ball held at the Arena and attended by 3,000 Junior Achievers. 

I also had the confidence to enter (and win) the Miss Granite City pageant in 1956, and later that year went on to participate in the Miss Illinois Pageant (I didn’t win, but it was a wonderful experience!).

After high school, I attended the University of Illinois and graduated in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. Years later, I earned my Master’s degree in Human Relations at University of Oklahoma while I was teaching. 

My 38-year career in education included many years of classroom teaching, but when I retired I was Director of the Gifted Program for the Granite City School District. At age 55, I entered the next phase of my life by starting my own interior design firm, INTERPRETATIONS, LLC, and worked on many residential and commercial projects in the bi-state region over the next 25+ years.

Although I’ve chosen to semi-retire from my second career, I stay active by continuing to provide consultations to former clients and I flex my creativity 4-5 times per year by designing and creating the seasonal floral and holiday installations on Siba’s Washington Avenue campus.

What advice would you offer current Siba students?

Surround yourself with professionals in the field of your choice. Continue to build your confidence and passion through continued knowledge and honorable hard work. Go to bed each night knowing you have utmost integrity as you are making the world a better place.

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Summer at Siba

Siba downtown St. Louis

Get a head start on your college journey with our term starting on May 23rd! Set your intention this summer with the help of Siba's nurturing classrooms, 9-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, and career-focused studies. Siba is where the art of business meets the business of art. Our programs include Business Administration, Graphic Design, Interior Design, and Fashion Development & Merchandising.

We're enrolling now for day and evening classes for our Bachelor's and Associate of Applied Science degrees. Contact a member of our Admissions team to get started or book your visit online. We can't wait to meet you!


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The Fashion Connector

Standing out and evolution are two mainstays of the fashion industry. Both seem to come naturally to Siba alumna, AK Brown. The 2014 graduate of Siba’s Retail Management/Fashion Merchandising program (now called Fashion Development & Merchandising) has built a business on how to develop, transform, and thrive in the fashion world. Now, she’s using her expertise to create a platform for black fashion professionals to collaborate and grow through Black in St. Louis Fashion.

As founder and President of Black in St. Louis Fashion, AK aims to bring much-needed visibility to members of the black fashion community, as well as provide a place where members can network. The group’s social media  features profiles of movers and shakers in the fashion community, and the group hosts periodic social events. This year, they’re focused on expanding their grant program and they are working toward launching a fully-developed business accelerator within the next 1-2 years.  

To commemorate their work, Black in St. Louis Fashion, now in its second year, commissioned a new editorial inspired by last year’s success, “I started the original editorial [in 2021] because there was and still is a lack of visibility for Black fashion creatives and professionals in St. Louis, and I'm a big proponent of ‘If you're going to complain about something, be in a position to change it.’ So I did.”

Black in St. Louis editorial

That initiative is a common thread in everything AK does – including building her business. Creating an enterprise out of her unique blend of interests and expertise, AK helps individuals in the fashion industry flourish as “The Fashion Connector.” “The goal with my platform is to share my knowledge on a variety of topics including blogging/influencing, product development, fashion public relations, branding, and styling, while also giving space to other creatives who have authority in our industry as well. I have my own stylist & fashion academy where I teach students how to start a successful styling career from start to finish, and the basics of product development.”

fashion development

Since entering into the workforce – as a business owner and an employee, AK has arrived at what she considers a perfect balance in her professional life. “You don't have to solely work for yourself to have your own business. Even as an entrepreneur, I am still working on myself as a professional and making the transition into tech, so I can have a steady and comfortable income while investing that money into my business.”

For Siba students looking to work for themselves - whether it be fashion promotion, fashion marketing, visual merchandising, or designing, AK suggests getting a solid understanding of some business practices as well. “For those who want to become a fashion entrepreneur, a solid business foundation is just as important as creativity. A lot of [designers] may feel like their designs are so good, that they're going to become instant sensations overnight, and that's rarely (if ever) the case. I recommend taking some basic business courses or to invest in a business mentor to build an enterprise that will survive.”

fashion merchandiser

For this woman of many talents, there’s always a project on the horizon. In addition to her work as The Fashion Connector, AK has a quarterly magazine set to launch in the Spring of 2022. This year she also wants to continue expanding her brand and booking speaking engagements. Always with an eye on what’s next, the future looks bright for AK. Her commitment to the fashion industry and her hometown of St. Louis is something to appreciate and emulate. “I plan to really get back out there and promote all the things I love in fashion - great personal style, community, fashion connections, and promoting St. Louis in the process.” We are extremely proud of AK and applaud all of her endeavors!

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Make 2022 All About You! Enrolling now!

Students working with a model at Siba

The New Year is about new starts and fresh outlooks.  Join us for the term beginning January 3rd and beyond.

Our nurturing classrooms, engaged instructors, and hands-on experiences will help define your path to a career you love. Contact one of our Admissions Representatives today, set up your tour, or give us a call to get started. We can’t wait to meet you!!!


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Student Showcases Ability & Creates Connections in Nation’s Capital

Amani

When opportunity knocks, Amani Miller answers! During her very first year as a Siba interior design student, Miller has embraced multiple opportunities to expand her knowledge and contacts in the St. Louis regional design community: 1) she participated in an internship at KDR Designer Showrooms where she mastered the management of their extensive textiles library; and 2) she stepped up to assume the role of President of Siba’s American Society of Interior Designer (ASID) student organization.

Most recently, Miller has added the title of Student Representative for ASID Missouri East to her list of achievements - representing the student component of the organization for the entire region. The new role earned her the invitation to travel to Washington, DC, to attend ASID’s annual student summit known as SCALE. Miller was thrilled to meet other interior design students from across the country and share information about their different classes, projects and goals.

“It was good to see what other students from all over the nation were doing – see what they were learning, as well as what kind of challenges they were facing. I gained friendships, professional contacts, and grew my base of experience.”

In addition to getting to know her peers, Miller networked with interior design professionals already in the field and made connections with designers in cities across the U.S. She hopes to renew and further these relationships when she and her Siba classmates next visit Chicago for NeoCon, the annual tradeshow for Interior Designers.

The D.C. summit also featured influential speakers that broadened Miller’s perspective on the role of design to improve and enhance the sense of community. She was particularly impressed by a presentation from Kia Weatherspoon, President of DC-based Determined by Design.

“Kia’s company advocates for equity in access to design. Their mission states that architects and designers can create with empathy and develop thoughtful concepts to unite communities. Their efforts to eliminate the labels of “affordable,” “high-end,” “black,” and “white” and level the playing field really resonated with me.”

In addition to making influential contacts in her the interior design field, Miller also received valuable feedback on how to build an outstanding portfolio and practical advice on how to achieve a healthy work/school/life balance. (Miller is a mother and wife, too!).

“My favorite part of the trip were the memories I created with other members of the committee. I developed diverse friendships and mentorships that I will cherish. The walks, scooter rides, and Ubers we shared while talking about how we chose interior design as a career are times I won’t forget.”

Amani at Lincoln Memorial

Miller’s role as student rep for ASID Missouri East isn’t all travel, though! Her responsibilities back home include serving as a mentor to other aspiring interior designers, networking with established professionals, and achieving growth within the ASID community. She looks forward to getting to know other students in the region, and collaborating on ideas on how to make the field of interior design work in both traditional and new career pathways.

You can connect with Amani Miller on her social media via LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.


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Whether you know it or not, you already possess the talents to make a contribution to the world. If you’re passionate about interior design, fashion, graphic design, or business, Siba can help you develop your interests into a career.