Claire’s Global Senior VP Joins Fashion Merchandising Program as First Executive in Residence

By Lydian Bernhardt / 10/18/2021 College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Family and Consumer Sciences

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Oct. 18, 2021) – Timothy McClure, the global senior vice president of buying for Claire’s Inc. and a corporate leader with more than two decades of high-level retail experience, has partnered with the fashion merchandising and design department this semester as its first executive in residence. 

The executive-in-residence arrangement, common in business schools, is brand new for the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences' fashion program - but it is already paying big dividends. McClure came to campus this month from outside Chicago, where he lives and works, to connect directly with the fashion marketing students he has been guiding virtually all semester. 

“Our students are benefiting because they are getting a real-world project to work on,” said Geetika Jaiswal, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Science whose fashion marketing class is gaining McClure’s real-world stories and insights. “And it’s been beneficial to Mr. McClure because he’s getting ideas from the students, which Claire’s may find useful in developing future retail strategies.” 

Timothy M. McClure spent Black History Month posting interesting facts about Black history on his social media accounts. But this project left him wanting to channel that energy into giving back to others, so he looked online for fashion merchandising programs at historically Black universities. He emailed a couple of schools and heard back right away from Elizabeth Newcomb Hopfer, Ph.D., an associate professor of fashion merchandising and design. 

Impressed by McClure’s resume — the Morehouse College grad had worked at Macy’s and the former Famous-Barr department stores and was now the global senior vice president of buying at Claire’s Inc., the retail chain that sells jewelry, accessories and toys and is famous for its ear-piercing business — Hopfer invited him to give tips last spring to students about how to start summer internships. The presentation went well, Hopfer said, and students reacted positively. 

When the program received a $100,000 grant last summer from Gap Inc. and ICON 360, a nonprofit started by Harlem’s Fashion Row to support designers of color, there was money available to award a small honorarium to an executive in residence. Faculty knew right away who to ask.  

“There couldn't’t be a better first executive in residence for our program than Tim,” Hopfer said. 

McClure joins the class virtually most every week. Jaiswal said her students are getting deep and detailed insights on how a single company operates that they’ll be able to apply to other businesses as they launch their careers. 

“It feeds me personally,” McClure said. “I love interacting with future retail leaders and I’ve been really pleased with how the partnership has developed. I’m excited for what we can continue to do.” 

Media Contact Information: jmhowse@ncat.edu

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