Sarah Kukuruzovic

Sarah Kukurovic

Like reading a good book, art can transport you to another time and place if you let it. Sarah Kukuruzovic , Faculty , The Illinois Institute of Art — Schaumburg
What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

I have always loved art. My favorite Christmas present of all time was an oblong, strangely shaped and even more awkwardly wrapped present of a box of art supplies from my parents. The joy that consumed me when I opened that box is still how I feel about art and being creative today. It contained an endless list of possibilities from paper to pencils. Like reading a good book, art can transport you to another time and place if you let it.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

Most of my experience has come from retail. I loved the challenge of an ever-changing platform, customer base, needs, and demands; the fact that you had to wear many hats to be successful. I found that I needed to think creatively, problem solve, and work with others to be affective. When teaching, I often reference work, all of it—the good, the bad, and the ugly—working with buyers, corporate, marketing, and sales teams. Fashion has so many different avenues to break into. Not everyone will be a household designer name. Some may take the corporate rout, visual merchandising or management route and that is okay. You don’t know what you’re great at until you try, so try everything!

Is there a class assignment that exemplifies you approach to teaching and mentoring?

My favorite assignment is the “Final Assignment,” when they can pull all their learning from the quarter and beyond into one stellar presentation to showcase their creativity and personalities. I give them guidelines, however, there is a lot of creative liberties to see how far they push the envelope. I don’t believe in giving answers, but I will stand right next to you and help you find it. 

What role does collaboration play in contributing to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

The closest thing was watching what the students collaborated on with the last fashion show. The show supported a great local cause. It showcased talent, heart, and hard work.

In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart on your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

LEARN! Continue to learn and be curious about learning some more. The world of fashion, mixed with technology, moves fast. What worked yesterday may not apply tomorrow. The world is full of people from different walks of life—learn from them. Even if you don’t agree with them, learn to work with them.