Graduate pursues career in fashion

Hunter Deas, Copy Editor

From making “cat lady” dresses to taking classes in medical billing and coding to supplement her B.S. degree in psychology, Anastazia Richburg decided to build a career on her own terms after graduating from Francis Marion University.

Richburg, 24, graduated from FMU in December, 2008 and works for Carolinas Hospital System in health information management, which, according to her, “is a fancy way of saying medical records.”

Years before graduating, however, she began working in an entirely different field – fashion. She admitted that working in fashion has been touch-and-go.

“I’ve been sewing since about 2003,” Richburg said. “Throughout the years, I’ve had a few businesses … selling clothing on the internet. I’ve changed (styles). I get bored with it. I get a creative block and don’t sew anything for a little bit. Then, six months later, I come up with a different business name and design aesthetic, and so a new business is born.”

In order to stay current in the ever-changing fashion market, Richburg said that she watches the latest runway shows on television and keeps up with fashion in general. Though she began her foray into fashion by trying to create “trendy” clothing, she said that her taste had matured over time into a more classical style – with a twist.

“It’s a timeless kind of ’50s style,” Richburg explained. “But I like to put a twist on it with different fabric. Today I made a crazy cat-lady dress, a 1950s style dress, but with cat patterns all over it.”

As to the role of fashion in her career, Richburg said that she wants “a career that allows me to do fashion on the side and … to have a family.” She also said that she would like a career in her field, something that she does not have now.

Richburg started working at Carolinas Hospital System after hearing about a position from a friend who worked there. Reflecting on that, she shared something to think about for any students who might be graduating soon.

“You can put in a thousand job applications, but if you don’t have a connection, you probably won’t get it (a job) based on just your performance in college,” Richburg said.

She said that she plans to leave her job with Carolinas Hospital System to attend the University of South Carolina for a master’s degree in either public health or behavioral health, but is waiting until she can attend with her boyfriend. The deciding factor deciding between which degree to pursue, according to Richburg, will be how much emphasis she wants to place on her current job experience, which she said that she did not want to waste.

“I like to say that I’m studying for the GRE, but I haven’t actually done that for a couple of months,” Richburg admitted.

“Ideally, I want to be a licensed counselor,” Richburg said, summing it all up.

She pointed to Assistant Professor of Psychology Farrah Hughes as being an inspiration.

“Dr. Farrah Hughes was very inspirational to me,” Richburg said. “She’s a doctor, she has a kid and a husband, and she counsels. She’s a very strong woman and she’s very inspirational.”