Lauren Curley had big plans when she was in high school. She would go to a college where she would major in some type of math. But, one summer pre-college course at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York, and she had a change of heart and everything changed. Curley decided fashion merchandising was the route for her and with great hands-on classes, FIT would be the place to do it.
After taking the course at FIT, she began to dip her feet into the world of fashion. Curley only applied to three schools and because her aunt went to FIT and because they had a volleyball program, which was something essential to her when choosing a school, FIT became the best fit.
Now, as a senior there, she’s satisfied with her choice.. “I feel like the school definitely fits me well and I couldn’t be happier with my choice to go here,” she said.
Curley interned for a showroom called 10eleven, which is a wholesale outlet that sells some of the most regarded contemporary designer lines and brands to stores such as Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. Her job was to help buyers pick out different lines. For spring she has a an internship at Coach.
Curley believes it’s crucial to know the industry and all aspects of it if you want to be successful and internships helped her realize that. She feels any type of first-hand experience such as a job in retail would also be beneficial.
She also encourages girls who are interested in fashion to know many different clothing lines, brands and the newest trends.
Although thrift shops have become a rising trend, Curley isn’t a big fan. “I don’t like thrift stores. I just don’t have patience to go searching through endless bins,” she admitted. “Even Forever 21 gives me anxiety.”
So rather than rummaging through thrift stores, she often finds herself scanning the shelves of All Saints, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. She also uses Zara to piece together some great fashion finds. Recently, Ralph Lauren has even been a popular go-to for the fashionista—since she works at their Manhattan store and gets a discount.
Curley turns to social media for her fashion inspiration. Instagram accounts such as “songofstyle” and various Pinterest boards have helped her eye for fashion. Blogs too are important for finding different fashion trends and styles.
With her relatively newfound love of fashion and branding, Curley hopes to pursue a career in product development. She wants to be able to design and modify a style of a brand that’s being sold at a major retail store such as Macy’s.
Curley offers younger college students great advice for breaking into the fashion industry. “No matter what you want to do in the field—retail, branding, merchandising, marketing, whatever—make sure you know all that you possibly can about the area,” she said. “Even more importantly, make sure it makes you happy.”