Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+
Gamecock Swimmer Enjoys Unique Opportunity in the Big Apple
General  . 

Gamecock Swimmer Enjoys Unique Opportunity in the Big Apple

by Brad Muller, Director of Content

South Carolina senior swimmer Claire Gerlock has a dilemma in chasing two very different passions, with one involving health care and the other revolving around fashion. The exercise science major took a break from the pool and enjoyed a one-of-a-kind educational experience by heading to the “Big Apple” to take part in New York Fashion Week. The unique academic enrichment program offers selected students from several universities around the country who are interested in careers in the fashion industry a unique behind the scenes look.

“I have always been passionate about fashion, makeup, and that entire world since I was a little girl,” Gerlock said. “When this opportunity came, the people in student development knew that and told me about it.

“I have two worlds. My heart is pulling two ways. One is medicine because I grew up around it with both my parents working in medicine, so I’ve already had a heart for that, but I’ve always loved fashion and the creative world. The weekend really showed me just how fast-paced this industry really is and everything that goes on in doing just one fashion show. There is so much thought and detail put into every single thing.”

Gerlock and other students took part in panel discussions, and networking opportunities with industry leaders, and also attended runway shows with London-based fashion house Hardware LDN and top Korean designer Son Jung. The students enjoyed a private breakfast at the home of jewelry designer Kyle Garcia of collegiate jewelry company Kyle Cavan, where they were joined by Kyle Cavan co-founder Elizabeth Shirley for a discussion on starting and building a brand.

“One of her phrases when she was building her brand was always remembering that she was part of something bigger than herself.”

“It was all amazing, but one of my favorite parts was going to Kyle Garcia’s apartment in SoHo, which was beautiful,” Gerlock said. “She told us about how she built her business. She was a former swimmer at Duke University, and during this entire meeting, a lot of what she was saying about the values and what she built her brand around were very similar to what we are taught as student-athletes at South Carolina.
Claire Gerlock New York Fashion week 1
“One of her phrases when she was building her brand was always remembering that she was part of something bigger than herself. That is something that is preached to us on the swim team here at South Carolina. That was cool how the two related even though they’re different. It showed how being a student-athlete can carry on to the rest of your life with the discipline that it gives you.”

The New York Fashion Week program also offered a pair of special “The Talks” sessions, including a panel entitled The New Standards of Beauty and Creation and a discussion on sustainability and the current fascination with re-sale fashion.  The students also took part in a Q&A with representatives from IMG, as well as a backstage tour of the production and execution of a fashion show at Spring Studios. The students also had the opportunity to explore the fashion resale industry through a thrift store outfit design challenge.

Gerlock will graduate in May, and while she is still thinking about which passion she will pursue full-time for a career, this experience certainly piqued her interest.

“I wanted to go to P.A. (physician’s assistant) school, so I would have to take a couple of years off for that, as I’d have to do lots of shadowing,” Gerlock said. “I can always do that, so maybe that’s a time I could get into that creative world with fashion.

“This experience definitely made me more curious, and I realized that it could be something that I would really love to do. That’s what I was hoping would come out of the weekend; that I’d determine whether this was something I really wanted to do. I realized this would be a good fit for me, but I’m also currently interning with a doctor in an orthopedics office, and I love that as well. I’m trying to find a way to marry the two, and I’m trying to see what feels right and what will fall into place.”