Marianne Dickson was born in 1980 in Bethesda, Maryland. Her father was in the Marines when she was born, but left the military when she was a toddler so that the family could move to Illinois, where her parents’ families lived. She has two siblings, an older brother and younger sister. Growing up she learned to sew from her mom, and she enjoyed making clothes for her dolls as a child.
For her undergraduate degree, Dickson attended the International Academy of Design and Technology, where she flourished, winning the Richard Driehaus Award for Fashion Excellence and showing her designs at a fashion show for Chicago’s elite. After graduating with her Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design, Dickson made the decision to pursue her master’s in Apparel Design. In so doing, Dickson reach out to Nancy Bryant at Oregon State University, who offered her a full scholarship and a position as a teaching assistant.
After completing her master’s program, Dickson accepted a position as an instructor at Oregon State University. She also started her own custom bridal gown business, before transitioning to work in digital design. Now a senior instructor at Oregon State University, Dickson teaches the senior fashion show course for Apparel Design students.