Nina Thirakul

Fashion Marketing & Management

Lead Faculty, Fashion Marketing & Management
The Art Institute of Washington, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta

Always be hungry for knowledge. That hunger is what keeps us competitive. Nina Thirakul , Lead Faculty, Fashion Marketing & Management
, The Art Institute of Washington, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta

Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

I realized that I was an effective teacher when my students told me that I prepared them well to conquer their jobs, the competition, the industry, and their fears.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

My background is in fashion design, from an internship with a London fashion designer to ten years with the House of Chanel, and I build that experience into my lectures. My students enjoy the stories and, more importantly, they get to see how textbook material relates to real-life situations. And they see me as a real person who has credibility both as their instructor and as an industry insider.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

One of the most rigorous final projects is for my Trends and Concepts class. Students must research and analyze 24 trends. Parts of the assignment are due at various times, and I provide feedback for each write-up and every trend analysis. Students learn that when they submit work on time, they can use the feedback to make corrections as they finalize projects. I encourage students to be proactive about their learning and work, to learn good time-management skills, and work hard to be the best they can be.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

Working with students from other programs is valuable on many levels. They get to see the talents and skills of others as they accomplish a task together. And it forces them out of their comfort zone, beyond their circle of friends and their field of study.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

Be honest: To yourself, your peers, your instructors, family, friends, everyone. Be honest to your craft. Hold yourself to the highest standard. Don’t settle for less.

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

If you want to be the best artist you can be, put in the time to perfect your skills. Always be open to learning new things, and always be hungry for knowledge. That hunger is what keeps us competitive.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I love my job. It provides a true sense of happiness when I can make a difference in my students’ lives.