Interns Strut Their Business Skills at NY Fashion Week
by Amanda O'Rourke
When designers’ Spring 2020 collections hit the runways at New York Fashion Week last fall, Susquehanna was a part of the fabric.
Five Sigmund Weis School of Business students seized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to intern during fashion’s biggest event. From the floor, the buyers, press and A-list celebrities quietly nodded their approvals, while the interns raced to help execute the shows from behind the scenes.
“Every day something new and crazy was going on,” said Jill Pace ’20, a luxury brand marketing and management major from Branchburg, New Jersey. “I was all over the place the entire week I was there, but I still had so much fun the entire time.”
All students interned as venue assistants, which gave them the opportunity to learn about fashion show production and venue preparation, including backstage dressing rooms and front-of-house seating arrangements. Venue assistants set up hair and makeup stations, and assisted with backstage check-in or helped to dress models. Some assisted with guest relations including seating, guest flow and venue tours.
Maia Morrone ’22, a luxury brand marketing and management major from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, was one of the youngest interns there — which she says drove her to work even harder when given the opportunity to work the Moschino fashion show.
“I had the privilege of meeting the designer and while I was working hair and makeup, I was able to be around top models such as Lily Aldridge and Candice Swanepoel,” Morrone said. “The whole experience was surreal. I always dreamed of working with large and well-known shows and this was the perfect way of getting my foot in the door.”
Alumni Connection Leads to Fashionable Opportunities
In addition to promoting job openings and offering career advice, the business school’s alumni network also serves as a pipeline for students who are interested in pursuing an internship.
The students (a total of seven from Susquehanna) landed their internships at fashion week thanks to Sarah Derrick ’18, who works as a production assistant at LDJ Productions, the onsite production company for IMG's New York Fashion Week. Derrick started as a summer intern at LDJ and valued her experience so much that she reached out to SU’s Career Development Center about available internship opportunities.
“When I heard we were hiring venue assistants for fashion week, I wanted to extend the invite to Susquehanna students, and our interview team was blown away by their résumés and interview skills,” Derrick said.
She opened the door for Susquehannans who were interested in the industry to have an internship as rewarding as her own.
“Interning on LDJ's Show Team introduced me to New York Fashion Week. Without that first experience I wouldn't have found my passion within my luxury brand marketing and management major, and I wanted others to experience it too.”
As much as they loved the energy of the fashion shows and the excitement of celebrity-spotting (Gigi Hadid, Heidi Klum, Katie Holmes, G Easy, Offset and Quavo, to namedrop a few), they also appreciated how their work in the classroom provided the perfect foundation for their internship.
“The fundamentals of luxury brand marketing revolve around exclusivity and experience,” said Paige Koba ’20, a luxury brand marketing and management major from Toms River, New Jersey. “New York Fashion Week and the runway shows are the perfect example of executing these fundamentals, as NYFW serves as a marketing event for designers to display their newest collections to their most exclusive clientele.”
“It was such an incredible experience seeing the ins and outs of a fashion show and how they all come about,” said Kelsey Stahlnecker ’21, a luxury brand marketing and management major from Watsontown, Pennsylvania.
Other SU students who interned at New York Fashion Week were Kassi Jata, a luxury brand marketing and management major, of Smithtown, New York; Ashley Kopchak, a strategic communications major, of Easton, Pennsylvania; and Kelsey McGuggart, a strategic communications major from Bethpage, New York.