If you’re into fashion, New York is where you want to be. And if you’re really lucky – or work as hard as Alexandra Howard – you get to hobnob with designers and celebrities at Fashion Week.
Howard, a sophomore marketing major at St. Thomas and fashion aficionado interested in the business side of fashion, started off her summer taking a marketing class at New York University. From there, she networked her way into several other opportunities, which culminated in an internship at Fashion Week.
“People have told me this before, but networking is so important,” she said.
After initially arriving in New York for her class, Howard noticed an announcement for the Fashion Culture Design Unconference, an event where fashion industry professionals speak, so she volunteered to help. She also became a sales associate at J. Crew’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue (“where everyone made fun of my Minnesota accent,” she said). Through talking to her fellow students and work colleagues and checking online resources, she learned of more opportunities: She emailed Few Moda, an e-commerce clothing brand, asking if any internships were available, and was hired as a summer social media and public relations intern.
But Howard still wasn't finished. Because she plans to work in marketing or sales, she applied for another internship for after her other work was done, this time with Launchmetrics, which sells software for fashion shows. She landed the job and spent three weeks with the company gearing up for Fashion Week, which ran Sept. 8-15.
“For each show, designers have to create an event using this software so they can virtually design the runway and seating chart,” Howard said. (She knew instinctively to seat Anna Wintour, Vogue editor, in the front row.) She also worked at registration and set up equipment at Skylight at Moynihan Station, one of the two venues featured during Fashion Week.
When not working, she was able to watch some of the shows. “It was a totally different world. I was in the middle of celebrities and designers,” Howard said. She kept a list of the notables: among them, singer Zendaya, Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles and Aly Raisman, models Heidi Klum, Naomi Campbell and Kylie Jenner, and designers Vera Wang and Jonathan Simkhai.
As Fashion Week coincided with the first two weeks of classes at St. Thomas, Howard emailed her professors ahead of time to tell them about the internship opportunity and cleared everything with assistant dean Georgia Fisher from the Opus College of Business. “They were all really nice and supportive,” Howard said.
Howard plans to return to New York each summer – and continue staying busy interning – before she graduates.
“With all my new connections from this summer, I’m hoping that my opportunities in this industry will grow,” she said.