Mary Johnson

Fashion Marketing & Management

Fashion Instructor
The Art Institute of Charleston, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta

Mary Johnson

Sometimes there will be doubts, but the passion and strength will bring untold self-discovery. Mary Johnson , Fashion Instructor
, The Art Institute of Charleston, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta

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

My defining moment came in my second year of college, when I took an art class as an elective. My professor saw my raw talent, and spent the semester cultivating my skills. I became an art major the next semester.

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

All my class projects and activities are intended to pass along the kind of real-world knowledge students will need on the job—as well as help them build professional portfolios. I make it a point to assign deadlines, just like they’ll encounter in the workplace.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

It’s important for students to get real-world experience and get out of their comfort zone. My students helped style the clothes and work out the logistics for a charity fashion show called More than a Label.

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

Since the fashion industry involves big-time collaboration, I encourage my students to work with other departments on a range of projects. In each of my upper-level classes, there are projects where students reach out to multiple disciplines.

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

The creative field is one of the hardest career paths you can choose. Hard work and dedication is the only way to succeed in the arts.