Entertainment: SEMO alum Jory Rapps defies the odds by owning his fashion journey (1/30/23)


SEMO alum Jory Rapps is standing at the Dior Cafe in Miami, Florida. Rapps works as a Senior Manager Training for fine jewelry and timepieces at Dior in New York City.

Photo submitted by Jory Rapps

Dreams are a funny concept, right? They are just a figment of one’s imagination until they happen to come true, if one works hard enough. SEMO alum Jory Rapps followed every step in order to get to his dream; working in fashion in New York City.

Rapps graduated from SEMO in 2013 with an interdisciplinary studies degree. This degree was created for students who want to study in multiple different fields at a time. Rapps studied fashion merchandising, interior design and business.

Like many students in college, Rapps changed his major a few times before finding the right one. Though fashion was something he admired, he didn’t previously consider it to be a viable career option.

“I was watching home design shows and loved the aspect of shopping and luxury and all that and found it fascinating, but never really thought of it as a career,” Rapps said. “And eventually after enough major changes, I landed there.”

Rapps began building his resume in Fall 2011 as an intern working for Donna Karen in New York City. An old connection made this internship a possibility for Rapps by getting him in contact with someone working for Donna Karen. Rapps took off a semester from SEMO for this opportunity, which became his turning point. He said he fell in love with the city and swore to find his way back there one day.

In Rapps’ return to SEMO, he was enrolled in MG301 Principles of Management. This is where he met Dr. Erin Fluegge, a professor in the management department.

“He’s dressed all in black, came up and shook my hand and I always remember the people that shake my hand, just takes a certain kind of person to do that,” Fluegge said.

Fluegge became Rapps’ advisor for the business area of his interdisciplinary degree. She also became the person who helped him choose the next steps to reach his desired career in life.

In May of 2013, Fluegge and Rapps worked together on an independent study; Fashion Friday. Rapps was in charge of promoting and coordinating this event. There were vendors, live models and places that allowed Cape Girardeau boutiques to sell their inventory.

Once Rapps graduated from SEMO, he decided New York was not yet in the cards, but St. Louis was.

In St. Louis, Rapps worked for Tory Burch, Louis Vuitton and David Yurman. These positions were not given to Rapps, he worked hard to earn each of these positions by being confident in each and every interview. After a couple of years working on the retail side of these brands, Rapps was moved to New York City by David Yurman.

In New York, he was relocated to Yurman’s new store on 57th Avenue, famously known as Billionaires Block since it is filled with name brand stores.

David Yurman is not the end of Rapps’ journey. Covid-19 struck and caused him to lose his job, like many others at that time.

Rapps then worked for two known brands; Micheal Kors and John Hardy before he landed the position he had always dreamt of.

After working for five different name brands, in two different cities, Rapps could finally say he found his dream job working with Christain Dior. He started in September of 2022 as the senior manager, training for jewelry and timepieces.

“I say that it took me seven years to move to New York. And it took me 10 years to get into corporate because it was another three years before I got into the corporate side,” Rapps said.

Rapps is proof that with persistence and determination dreams do come true. He decided to never let people’s thoughts and opinions keep him from what he truly desired in this world. Rapps said he wouldn’t change any of it if he could.

“It didn’t happen in the imaginary timeline that I had set in my mind,” Rapps said. “I needed all of those collected experiences to give me my dream job that I have now of teaching other people how to sell luxury and fine jewelry. I needed those experiences and I couldn’t have rushed [it].”


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