Student Spotlight: Junior to use skills to open style boutique, form nonprofit group

By Kristin Maglabe

Junior Deandre Turner has done visual merchandising for designer company Dooney and Bourke, he but aims to open his own style boutique in Chicago.

Tuner, who majors in textiles, apparel and merchandising and minors in marketing, said he has thought about using his skills to start a not-for-profit organization for children of low-income families.

Northern Star: Have you thought about what you want to do with your major now that you are an upperclassman?

Deandre Turner: … When I graduate NIU I would like to be a buyer for a retail store like Nordstrom. And after doing that for about five years, I want to open my own style boutique in the city.

NS: Have you done any clothing designs before?

DT: I have some rough sketches and what have you, but my area of expertise is more in styling. So I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and helping other family members and friends figure out what to wear. But, as far as design, it’s not really what I do.

NS: Since you are more into styling, have you gotten any real world experience with that?

DT: Well, right now, as far as, like, buying and with the merchandising, I work for a designer handbag retailer, Dooney and Bourke. And so I do a lot of their visual merchandising and helping with stuff like that.

NS: Was there a specific class that you have taken here at NIU that helped you in any way?

DT: Yes. … I took a social issues class with Jan Reynolds, and I took a racism in America course with Joy Coates.

Those two classes are definitely eye-openers, especially as far as social issues that we face in today’s world … .

NS: Do you have any more thought on the social issues you learned about?

DT: I think things change rapidly. Me especially being a minority, I’m black and I’m gay, so it’s like double whammy. So, you definitely have to be more aware of things that go on in today’s world and make people more conscious of things that they don’t know because people are very, you know, scared of things they don’t know and very ignorant of things … .

So, being able to talk about that and maybe change other people’s views is definitely very important.

NS: Do you think there is a way you could bring your feelings on social issues together with your future career?

DT: … Maybe with my style boutique, I could open it up to help disadvantaged kids as far as giving them an outlet [so they’re] maybe not getting involved in street violence or different things that go on in different low-income neighborhoods. I could start a not-for-profit organization, which is something I’ve also thought about, just to sort of help kids be prepared for college because many kids don’t have that and don’t know what to expect.