Profashionals’ guide to dressing for success


Photo credit: Grace Potter

Grace Potter, Staff Writer

On Friday, April 26, Pace Profashionals put on their fifth annual “Dress for Success” event. This was the organization’s second main event of the year, their first being “Fashion Unfolded,” which featured a panel of designers and influencers working in the fashion industry. “Dress for Success” is a way for students interested in fashion to be given insight into the industry. This year, speakers from five different designer brands came to share about their lives and careers and gave University students exclusive behind-the-scenes tips on the fashion world. The night kicked off with a personalized minibar. Colorful mocktails were served as everyone wandered, mingled, and complimented outfits. There was also a small photo booth where guests could take fun pictures with friends. They could then post the photos on Instagram with a hashtag to be entered to win a free SoulCycle class. Once everyone found their seats, the speakers were introduced.

The first professional to speak was Jacqueline Kaye, merchandise manager of Burberry. Kaye spoke about her role in the company and her responsibilities, including assisting with product launches and planning runway shows. She discussed what she thought were the most important ways for a brand to excel, such as the brand knowing its clients and being able to partner with other brands. Within Burberry, she mentioned that they are always in contact with their branch in London, which is a great way to brainstorm ideas for new products and spread brand awareness to multiple regions of the world.

Photo credit: Grace Potter

Next was Patrick Tye from Barney’s Digital Experience Team in New York. With his finance degree from Fordham University, Tye explained how he was able to bring his experience into the world of fashion. He always kept up with what was happening in the industry by following fashion blogs, and worked retail jobs in the past as both a sales associate and design associate, working his way to an assistant buyer for men’s fashion. Tye believes a brand’s biggest responsibility today is to stay fresh, new, and consistently “good” in the eyes of its target audience, but without rapidly scaling. Fashion and style interests and trends are constantly changing, and the world of fashion needs to be ready to change with them.

Laura Taylor, the PR coordinator for Balenciaga, was up next. Taylor’s current job at Balenciaga involves sample trafficking, overseeing showroom and runway organization, and building strong relationships with editors and other people in fashion publications. After the Q&A, the audience got a first-hand look at Balenciaga’s collections for each 2019 season.

Jennifer Fung was then welcomed to the stage. Fung is the marketing and special events manager for Tod’s. Her job involves social and digital international brand marketing. She touched on the significance and effects of partnerships and relationships with other brands. She said that networking and partnering with others can increase overall brand awareness.

Edmundo Castillo and Francesca Bertoncini of Stuart Weitzman (Photo credit: Grace Potter)

Last but not least was a joint presentation from Stuart Weitzman. It was led by Edmundo Castillo, head of design, and Francesca Bertoncini, SVP of global merchandising and buying. Castillo and Bertoncini sketch, design, and build collections of shoes for the brand, many of which the audience got to see. The pair of designers gave informative advice on how to find design inspiration based on current trends and how to keep your head in the game, even if you get discouraged. However, they made it clear that your head needs to be in the game for the long run to have the motivation to stay in the race in this industry. In the words of Castillo, “There is nothing glamorous about working in the fashion industry. Nothing. You have to love it to keep up with that rhythm.” These designers gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “passion for fashion,” as they emphasized the importance of not only loving fashion but understanding it and keeping up with it.

The ability to hear from all of these fashion experts highlighted how difficult it is to work in the industry. However, providing students with this information will help them evaluate their future in the fashion industry. Every speaker also had a section about their brand and what they believed were important characteristics in an intern, which was great for college students to note and keep in their back pockets as they apply for summer or future internships. The ability to be a self-starter and a team player was mentioned several times, along with the importance of staying humble, which can be hard to do in an industry like this one. Asking questions and learning from others is the best way to show how humble you are and your drive to succeed.

All in all, “Dress for Success” was a hit. For the last few minutes of the event, everyone who attended had the opportunity to network with the designers, asking any questions they may have had and receiving even more insight. Profashionals President Brennan Bodin said the goal of this event was “to cultivate the fashion community for students and to bring this outside community here to Pace. This year’s ‘Dress for Success’ was different in the way that we had the speakers from each brand develop their own presentation and talk about what they thought was the most valuable information about working in the industry, rather than being boxed into one topic. When people in the industry are able to dive deep into topics that they think are most important, it really allows for magic to happen.”