Hong Kong Textiles & New York Designs: Beth Maben

By: Kelsey Blaylock, Engaged Learning Media Intern

Indiana University senior, Beth Maben, has always had an interest in East Asian culture ever since she was first introduced to Japanese anime in middle school.

 “The United States has a lot to offer, but I really enjoy learning about other cultures,” said Maben.

 Maben is currently a senior majoring in Japanese and Fashion Design with a minor in Apparel Merchandising. She was able to connect both interests in fashion and East Asian culture during her first internship in Asia’s fashion capital, Hong Kong, the summer before her junior year.

 In Hong Kong, Maben served as a raw materials intern at Carter’s Global Sourcing Ltd., where she gained a better understanding of color matching and fabric development by performing hands-on textile work while collaborating with their color team.  

“This internship helped me see the operational side of the fashion business because it’s not all about designing clothes."

Before traveling to Hong Kong, Maben completed a Textile Science course at IU where she learned the essentials on fabrics, weaves, and fibers that helped her throughout this internship. Maben was one of the first students to intern at Hong Kong’s School of Art, Architecture + Design through Global Academic Ventures, a partnering organization at IU. After this experience abroad working directly with textiles, she decided to pursue an internship in design at another major fashion hub, New York City, the summer before her senior year. In New York City, she worked for the E-Lo Sportswear company with the Vice President of Design for Nanette by Nanette Lepore, Nisa Mellin.

“It was nothing like the Devil Wears Prada,” said Maben, reflecting on her time in New York. “I really liked the tasks, would go out to the city and buy trims and fabrics for samples, and got to know the shops well.”

 In addition to exploring the city in search for the perfect fabrics, Maben was responsible for organizing binders, making sure everything was up-to-date and researching trending styles for her supervisor to review and incorporate in future projects.

 One of Maben’s favorite moments in New York City was attending TexWorld, one of the largest sourcing events on the East Coast for apparel fabric buyers. This event showcases a variety of textiles from factories all around the world. This internship was also promoted through the School of Art, Architecture + Design at IU.

Aside from Maben’s internship experiences, she has created quite a few pieces that exceeded expectations for a Pattern Development course at IU and was given the opportunity to design a dress for her professor.

 During Maben’s sophomore year at IU, she constructed a recycled denim garment that was presented in Trashion Refashion, a fashion show hosted by the IU Office of Sustainable Living to demonstrate how trash and discarded clothing can still be fashionable.  

 Maben is currently creating a dress that she will wear in this year’s fashion show which is similar to her usual style. However, her collection that she’s constructing and designing is slightly different than what she’s used to.

 Maben’s passion for fashion and outstanding technical skills in her coursework have not gone unnoticed.  She received the prestigious YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund, an award given to students who excel in fashion programs.

“It is an optional award to apply for, but since I did apply and win, it shows the amount of hard work that I put in to achieve my goals. That quality isn't only important in the fashion industry, but really any part of life."  

Upon graduating, Maben hopes to have a fashion career in Asia or the United States. Her dream job would be at an atelier, which focuses on the construction of garments rather than the designing of them. Maben also has interest in becoming a designer or technical designer.

 If interested in getting an opportunity such as Maben’s, IU’s School of Art, Architecture + Design provides more information on what they have to offer in the realm of fashion and design from internships to overseas study programs, regardless of a student’s major or field of study.