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Brandon Edelman

When the Philadelphia Inquirer asked its readers, “Which local icons had a 2022 that felt so distinctly Philly?”, TikTok influencer and alumnus Brandon Edelman ’18, MS ’20—or @bran__flakezz as he’s known online—captured a leading 48% of the “wild card” vote.

Graphic of Brandon Edelman surfing on a cellphone with the Love Park logo, a thumbs up like icon, Jefferson logo, and Liberty Bell graphic floating around him.

Take a glimpse through his TikTok, and it’s not hard to understand why. He first burst onto the social media scene during the pandemic, entertaining his “besties” with personal antidotes, advice for the party girls and categorizing the type of men you’d find in Philly neighborhoods. Edelman’s content encapsulates relatability, like his viral “Immunity Necklace” TikTok, where he humorously advocates for a safe word that grants you safety from judgment in gossip. 

Edelman’s account has amassed millions of views and gained over 485,000 followers, including “Only Murders in the Building” star Selena Gomez, who even joined Edelman on a live stream.

Edelman says when it came time to consider colleges, he set out to find a school that offered a degree in fashion merchandising. That’s when he found Jefferson’s fashion and management major, a program ranked in the top 20 fashion schools by Business of Fashion. It was a seemingly perfect fit.  

“I did a regular campus tour, then I went to Discover Fashion Day, and I met Carson Kressley, who was on the original ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,’” Edelman says. “I was like, this is already so cool that I don’t even go to this school yet, and there’s already such an amazing opportunity to meet a celebrity in the industry.”

Describing his educational journey, Edelman laughs. “I was obsessed with Jefferson. I literally did everything that they had to offer.” 

By the time he returned for his master’s in fashion design management, he had turned his part-time job at Urban Outfitters into an internship at its corporate headquarters. He’d even spent a semester in Milan through Jefferson’s fashion design study abroad program.

“Everything I learned from my fashion education has applied to social media,” Edelman says.

“The education I got was invaluable,” he says. “It’s been incredible and part of why I think I’ve had such success…If this dies down, I can easily go back into that industry because I have two great degrees from a reputable institution like Jefferson. And I was able to work in the industry…all because I had a great education.”