Student Achievement

Marist Fashion Alumna on Road to Success

Anthony Proia, Director of Media Relations

image of: Ava Grand '22

July 26, 2022 – "People are always like 'oh yeah did you see that girl that does that sewing on TikTok?' and I am almost tempted to not say I am that girl just to see what they would say."

To say that the last few months have been a whirlwind for Ava Grand '22 may be an understatement. Grand graduated in May from Marist as a fashion student and in just a matter of days after receiving her degree in Poughkeepsie, moved to Los Angeles to start designing for the clothing brand, Favorite Daughter.

Now living in Southern California, and just a couple of months since her graduation day at Marist, Grand is soaking it all in. "I met, fangirled over, and spoke with Hailee Steinfeld at a work event my first week at my new job!"

Just before graduation, Grand '22 starred at Marist’s annual Silver Needle Runway show, taking the award for Designer of the Year, featuring her collection, Retreat. Since then, she’s been featured in publications such as the Times Union, The Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed, Threads and YKK.

While a fashion student at Marist, Grand started buying extremely cheap fast-fashion pieces from Shein, which produces its clothes in generic wholesale factories. She used some of her leftover packagings to stitch a tote bag that she then posted to TikTok. It soon had millions of views. Grand ended up making an entire runway collection out of more Shein plastic bags crowdsourced from strangers. 

"My videos on TikTok reached a few thousand likes/views prior to the show. It was right after the stress and preparing for final judge presentations that I got a free second to post a TikTok with a voiceover to explain my thesis. This was posted April 30th and it now has over 17 million views! It puts the biggest cloak of warmness around my heart to know the impact I made through a singular video/concept."

Born and raised in Northern New Jersey, and anxious to pursue a career in fashion, Grand only applied to Marist and FIT coming out of high school.

image of: Ava Grand receiving the ‘Designer of the Year’ award at the Silver Needle Runway show.
Ava Grand receiving the ‘Designer of the Year’ award at the Silver Needle Runway show. 

"Marist made the 17-year-old self that I was as a freshman, come to light and achieve all that is possible. I owe this school, this program, and this collection of work staff, that have guided me in the most hand-holding yet freeing way possible, my everything. Marist provided the best bubble to be comforted in throughout the past four years, however, it also prepared me for social and work-life aspects. Without Marist, I do not think I would be cruising this easy in life at the moment."

"One of the social justice tenets of the Marist Fashion Program is Sustainability and Impact and I believe Ava has embodied these in such a strong and engaging way," said John Bartlett, Marist Fashion Program Director. "She strikes the perfect balance between design aesthetic and social and environmental awareness and reflects the mindset of our student body and faculty here in the Fashion Program. I am excited to see where Ava goes with her warm and compassionate self."

See more about Grand's Marist journey here. She also has her own website.

About Marist’s Fashion Program

The Fashion Program at Marist prepares students to enter the world of fashion and pursue careers in merchandising, planning, product development, retailing, operations, fashion promotion, event production, and other employment opportunities. The Program falls within the School of Communication and the Arts and has been named by Forbes as one of Best Colleges That Are Shaping the Future of Fashion.



Asset Publisher