“Make sure your stitching’s are correct!” Her instructor said as he was walking around the room to check on everyone’s work. She was smiling from ear to ear, as she was almost done designing a gray cotton ribbed knit sweater that resembled something you’d see in stores.
She’d loved everything about Fashion Design ever since she was 11 years old. How it felt to get creative and bring your own clothing to life. The hard work and dedication that went into designing an outfit. Seeing someone walk the runway with her clothes on gave Ivy Preko such pride and accomplishment.
From Springfield, Virginia, Preko is a senior at Radford University majoring in Fashion Design and Communication with a focus in Public Relations. “My favorite thing about my major is that I can be creative and there’s no limit to it. I’m able to create designs never seen before and I can be myself while doing so.” She attended Robert E. Lee High School for academics and West Potomac Academy for fashion design.
Preko is very involved on Radford’s campus. She was the event planner for the African Student Association at RU for three years and is a member of the following Radford University organizations: Diversity Awareness Program, Black Student Alliance, Prettii Women (an encouraging club for black women), Independent Women Achieving Goals in Education, and the International Student Affairs Council.
After graduating high school, Preko wanted to have a fashion show in the D.C. Metropolitan area before beginning her freshmen year of college. So in 2013 she founded FashionForCharity with a close friend, and had a very successful show; 150+ people attended the show as well as music artists and five fashion designers! All of the proceeds to that event were given to a local children’s foundation. She says her current responsibilities as CEO of this organization is to hold annual charity events and help those in need.
Shortly after Preko held the FFC fashion show, she competed in National American Miss Virginia Teen Pageant and placed in the Top 10 out of 100+ competitors. “It was my first pageant ever and such a great experience!” A couple of weeks before the competition her grandmother passed away and Preko decided to compete in her honor, and then stopped until 2015 when she decided to do another pageant to make her grandmother and herself happy, doing what she loved. She competed for Miss Ghana USA against eight other women and was crowned the winner on July 25, 2015.
A couple of months later, she flew to Ghana to work on her platform, inspired by her late grandmother. “[My platform is] to help widows who are less fortunate than I am. I talk to them and get them the help they need to take care of themselves and their children.” While in Ghana, Preko was contacted by the African Widows and Disabilities Foundation to join their team, and currently is their U.S. Ambassador. Today, she is working on her own foundation, Inspired Widows, as the CEO. “It’s a lot of dedicated work that someone must have in order to achieve something greater,” said Preko.
If she could do anything differently, Preko says she wouldn’t change a thing. “Everything that I’ve done since my freshman year has helped me in my day-to-day life, as well as academically,” said Preko. “Even when I made a mistake I was able to turn it into something else and fix it.”
Preko’s biggest role model is her mother, because of how strong she is and how much she has done for her and her siblings. “I’ve seen my mother at her lowest point and she’s always stayed positive through it all,” said Preko. “If I can be even half the woman she is, I’d be a phenomenal woman.”
After completing her undergraduate studies at Radford in the spring of 2017, Preko wants to go to graduate school and major in Strategic Communication and work part time for PR firms or news stations that can help her get a better feel of what she wants to do. “I definitely will also be working on my Widows foundation and other organizations I’m involved with,” said Preko.