Brian Barasch, Director of Marketing & Communications
For Simon Goldman (Bernard Zell Class of 2015), the college experience he envisioned and the college experience he’s living are two vastly different worlds. But despite a sudden change in his plans resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, he’s taken it all in stride and continues to push forward with his work as a fashion design student at New York’s Pratt Institute.
As a college freshman in the fall of 2019, Simon had immersed himself in the New York fashion world. Beyond his normal coursework, he was interning multiple days a week, going to networking events and seeking out professional opportunities where he could meet and learn from icons of the industry. Simon’s non-stop work ethic is core to his success and when the pandemic changed everything in the spring of his first year, it turned out to also be a key to his resilience.
“When COVID hit I was somewhat prepared,” said Simon. “I’m big on planning so when most of my friends said, ‘we’ll be back after Spring Break’ I had already shipped most of my stuff home and since then I’ve been taking coronavirus very seriously.”
With the pandemic hitting New York incredibly hard in the spring, Simon’s foresight and planning worked to his benefit. After arriving back home in Chicago, he found himself a small 600 square-foot studio in an industrial part of the Avondale neighborhood right on the north branch of the Chicago River where he can continue his work uninterrupted. It’s from here that he’s been able to continue his classes virtually while also cutting, dying and sewing his school projects along with his own collection, including a new line of innovative face masks.
While he’s been amazingly productive since his return home to Chicago, Simon misses the energy and excitement of New York’s fashion scene and the opportunities for engaging with peers and professors.
“I do really miss Brooklyn, my school’s in a really fun area, not far from a Chasidic Orthodox community, so my friends always ask me about Judaism—which I love. And as someone who keeps kosher, I miss all the great kosher restaurants nearby.”
Nonetheless, Simon has pushed ahead with his schoolwork and his own fashion line, and he’s done it all with understanding, flexibility and gratitude in the face of incredibly challenging circumstances.