Berkeley Today Stories
Berkeley College Alumna Shifts from Visual Merchandising to Designing Jewelry in Mexico
During her time at Berkeley College, Joan McClutchy Vidargas discovered her passion for visual merchandising and presentation. This led to a fruitful career overseeing the visual displays for major department stores like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Lord & Taylor.
Ms. Vidargas graduated from Berkeley College’s Fashion Merchandising Program in 1973. She took courses at Berkeley College in East Orange, NJ, to immerse herself in the business of fashion, after attending the Fashion Institute of Technology for a two-year program in Fashion Illustration. “The program gave me the confidence to apply for my first visual job,” she said.
Her professional start came in the form of temporary holiday help in the visual department of Macy’s (then Bamberger’s) in Newark, NJ, where she was quickly promoted to a full-time position at a branch store in Paramus, NJ. After working her way up the corporate ladder in Macy’s central office, she made her way to Bloomingdale’s, followed by Lord & Taylor. In her role as Corporate Visual Merchandising Director there, she oversaw the visual direction for women’s fashion and accessories for more than 70 stores nationally.
After nearly 25 years in the corporate visual display field, Ms. Vidargas relocated with her husband, Ricardo, to his hometown of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to focus on her new passion: sculpting and selling jewelry. “I wanted to design, create, and sell on my own, and take a break from corporate life,” she said. Among her designs are necklaces using semi-precious stones and crafted bronze footwear.