Suzanne Piazza’s teaching potential was recognized shortly after graduating from The Fashion Institute of Technology. The school asked the new graduate if she would like to join the Fashion Merchandising and Marketing Division as an adjunct professor. This was a position she gladly accepted, and she continued to teach over the past 25 years while being employed full-time in the industry, enjoying the ability to pass her current industry knowledge on to other aspiring fashion students.
The majority of her career was spent at JCPenney in managerial and executive positions for both catalog and retail. At JCPenney, through buying, styling and fashion office positions, she gained hands-on exposure to all product categories and classifications. For five years she acted as Fashion Director for the Popular Club division of the J.Crew Group, researching and implementing trends for the women’s, men’s and children’s areas, in addition to merchandising/styling catalog spreads. Most recently, JCPenney invited her to return in 1998 as the Women’s Fashion Director, where she determined the direction for product development and buying for a $7.2 billion business. Under her guidance, the division consistently achieved top performance ratings for the entire company. In this position as well as the others, she travelled extensively to the Far East and European fashion capitals to develop volume producing items and attend major industry shows for both the domestic and international markets. She has emerged as an accomplished apparel executive whose creative vision is uniquely combined with the analytical skills necessary to grow businesses in today’s competitive retail climate.
When Suzanne made the decision to enter the vocation of education full-time, she approached FIT, but then through affiliated professors, quickly became sought after by Parsons, then Kent State. She is skilled in teaching a variety of classes in Fashion Forecasting, Retailing, Supervision, Merchandising and Marketing, to name a few. In addition to imparting her knowledge through teaching, she has actively participated in associations with internship programs, resulting in several successful industry professionals. She is passionate about mentoring students and helping them find both internships and full-time jobs. The realistic projects she provides have proved useful to students for both interviewing as well as in the industry, and have received college acclaim.