NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University students in the fashion and interior merchandising and interior design programs went behind the scenes of industry sites in New York City during a Maymester study-abroad experience.

Students in HMS 426: Field Experience in Human Sciences toured many iconic locations such as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Battery Park, as well as stores in the Big Apple. Leisha Bridwell, associate professor in SFA’s School of Human Sciences, organized the trip.

“This trip was a great experience for students to see what the industry is like from behind the scenes,” Bridwell said. “Students learned from industry professionals what employers look for when hiring and what they can do to stand out from the crowd.”

Students toured industry sites in both interior design, interior merchandising and fashion merchandising, including the flagship stores of Calvin Klein, one of the leading fashion houses in the world where the latest collections are showcased in a lifestyle environment; Anthropologie, where in-house visual merchandisers are known for their creative window and in-store displays; and Macy’s, the largest department store in the world.

“Students were exposed to various facets of the industry and various types of high- and low-end industry,” Bridwell said. “They learned about changes in the retail industry and how some brick-and-mortar stores are adapting to stay in business.”

Their itinerary also included stops at Inhouse Kitchen, Bath and Home, one of New York’s premier kitchen, bath and home design showrooms; Bernstein, which has a rich heritage as a supplier of visual presentation products; Lucky Brand; ABC Home and Carpet; Hayward House; and Alan Tanksley, who has more than 20 years of experience building and designing residences throughout the U.S. and Europe.

At Kleinfeld Bridal, where the reality TV show “Say Yes to the Dress” is filmed, two SFA students shopped for wedding dresses, and Erica Reynolds, Corrigan senior fashion merchandising major, said “yes” to her dress.

“This trip taught me a lot about the retail industry, both department stores and luxury retailers. Speaking with interior designers was very informative even for non-majors,” Reynolds said. “My favorite part of the trip was going to Kleinfeld Bridal, trying on dresses and purchasing my own wedding dress.”

Also, the group attended the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see educational exhibits such as American exhibits focused on historical interiors and large collections of furniture and style pieces.