25. Ian Michael Crumm
Undergraduate, BS Communication ’16, Drexel University
By Mary Caparosa ’16
Andrew Pellegrino ’18
“I was standing in the restaurant of the Four Seasons in Beijing. Camera lights were flashing, a model was posing; I was in the middle of it all. This was my ‘aha’ moment. It was when I realized all of my hard work spent networking, traveling, organizing photo shoots, staying up late to design and maintain my website — it all paid off. ‘This is happening,’ I thought. ‘I created my own career.’”
Ian Michael Crumm, a senior communication major at Drexel, smiles as he recounts one of his fondest memories: helping to organize and model in a fashion shoot for Beijing’s LifeStyle magazine with one of the city’s well-known fashion bloggers. His friend and fellow Drexel communication major Mollie Snyder was on co-op with the magazine at the time and invited Crumm to be a part of the spread.
“We shot a lot of amazing photos, some for my personal style blog [ianmichaelcrumm.com], some for LifeStyle, and some for a new website Mollie and I developed [wearwewent.com], which is geared toward the young traveler,” Crumm explains.
Balancing projects like this with school is all in a day’s work for Crumm, who manages his own personal brand in addition to collaborations with designers and business owners in the Philadelphia area and beyond.
Crumm comes from a family of entrepreneurs and business owners who gave him a good sense of how to run his own company. At 22 years old, he has the business savvy of an established entrepreneur and a surfeit of energy and enthusiasm that stems from his passion for the fashion business.
“I started collecting sunglasses when I was 8. I’ve always loved clothes,” he says with a laugh, reminiscing about dressing himself as a child. “I remember being in elementary school, strategically planning my outfits.”
In high school, he and a friend were co-presidents of the National Art Society. They decided they wanted to start a fashion show, so Crumm took it upon himself to plan and promote the event.
“That was the moment I said, ‘This is awesome; I want to work in the communications world with design and fashion.’ I chose communication as my major and it evolved from there,” he says.
These experiences in high school brought Crumm to Drexel, where “fast-paced” and “self-motivated” are integrated into the “Drexel DNA,” as he calls it.
“The environment here helps you get out into the world,” he says. “Philly in general is very collaborative and a welcoming space for young professionals. I came to Drexel for that reason and for the co-op program.”
Over the past four years, Crumm has capitalized on his co-op experiences with a multitude of companies. He’s worked in public relations and event planning for the likes of Prada in New York City and the Chamber of Commerce in Philly. He established the first-ever co-op with Philadelphia social photographer HughE Dillon and has also worked for a talent management company and a local PR firm.
Even before he started co-op, he was making connections. Instead of going home for the summer between freshman and sophomore year, Crumm decided to stay in the city and work with a local event planner to organize a fashion show. Shortly after, he connected with a local designer to help build her brand, coordinating a trunk show, supporting her social media and styling her photo shoots — all while beginning his first co-op.
Networking has been an integral part of Crumm’s Journey.
“I go to events and try to meet new people to see how we can work together,” he says. “I collaborate with different brands, which gives cross exposure. Last spring, I partnered with Jonathan Adler to host a spring redecorating event at his store in Old City. Proceeds from the event went to benefit the Wistar Institute, [a biomedical research center in Philadelphia].”
Though Crumm hasn’t made any final plans for life after graduation, his experiences in Beijing and at Drexel have reassured him of his path. He is certain it will be in the world he has immersed himself in the past four years.
“I’ve had a lot of different experiences with fashion, media and marketing, and I’ve loved them all. With my website, I get to pull a lot of things together, like styling, events, writing and collaborations. I could work in fashion, travel, PR, event planning, journalism, marketing… there are so many things I would love to do.”
“I’ll make my own way.”