a tradition of change

In ALL, TRAVEL by Stephanie Klein34 Comments


Over petite green tomatoes and a mix of young lettuces we spoke of change. “It’s the tradition of SCAD,” our tour guide had said earlier in the day. He was walking backward at the time, pointing to monuments, bronze statues, and landmarked homes. There we were, admiring the showplace of the American South, complete with Georgia marble, hulking red bricks, and towering oak trees with roots stretching back to 1733—things worthy of preservation, meant to resist change—and we were celebrating the enemy: change.


The irony sat with me as we threaded our way past the waxy leaves of magnolia trees, then pulled up a chair and accompanied me to dinner. It was there, at Cha Bella, seated at an enchanting table of SCAD faculty, film critics, and their guests, that “A tradition of change” truly came alive.

I spoke with Michael Fink, former VP and women’s fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue, now dean of SCAD’s School of Fashion, asking him if he always knew he wanted to be involved in fashion. “No, actually.” What followed is what I love so much about life: the surprises we can find when we leave, when we quit, when we get the hell out of dodge. Michael was trained in music on the graduate level, played the piano and harp. “Haven’t touched a piano in fifteen years,” he added with a sly smile. He doesn’t miss it because it never really fit the way it should. I could see the draw to both, mathematical and precise in nature, both music and fashion require passion beyond measurements. He took time off from the conservancy, which lead to his fashion career taking off.

I love that. I love that SCAD’s tradition is change. I used to think of tradition in bricks and years of ivy climbing up walls of excellence. Now I think of the extraordinary people who take risks, the ones who’ve found the courage to follow a compass instead of a clock.


  1. Agreed!

    I wish I were young again so I could go back to school for fashion.

  2. With all the scams going on with for profit schools, online, etc. Etc good to see someone doing it right.

  3. Savannah has plenty of tradition. SCAD is building it’s own slowly. I graduated 10 years ago And am amazed at the growth.

  4. I don’t usually comment but wanted to say thank you for writing about SCAD. As a student, we have so much pride and hearing someone like you write about your experience is great. Thanks.

  5. I studied film at UCLA and although we have opportunities, the world of film making is now truly global. I wish all the SCAD students a creative and fulfilling learning experience. Don’t let our industry suppress your drive for a unique voice.

  6. Great school, great students, stinky name. I guess it’s better than Austin Peay.

  7. When I think of Savannah it reminds of an American version of the town in Cinema Paradiso. Quaint, familiar and revolving around cinema.

  8. Will you be speaking? We read your blog all the time and think it would be great. If not officially, how about we plan a time somewhere.

  9. My neighbor’s daughter attended SCAD and loved it. You’d be surprised at the diverse student population.

  10. Being in the film industry I have seen reels be passed around. SCAD have been exemplary.

  11. I sent you an email but not sure you received it. Will you be doing book signing in Savannah?

  12. I’m a SCAD alum and loved reading what you wrote about my school. I am always so excited to see what SCAD has done in Savannah and around the world. Savannah is a very special place, isn’t it?

  13. I went to school in upstate ny and can honestly say there was no tradition worth anything .

  14. My son is a freshman at SCAD. I’m sure he is loving the festival. What an opportunity.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.