Learn from the master

Mikaella Evaristo

The fashion industry is growing, but it remains difficult to break into. With New York City as a student’s backdrop, the fashion capital of the world teaches fashionistas to be assertive and determined. One such graduate of NYU was able to become part of this intimidating, sartorial realm of the city.

Jackie Kim, class of 2015, studied the Business of Fashion and French Language in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study and is now following her dreams, which, coupled with hard work and dedication, landed her a position as the Fashion Merchandising Assistant to the Fashion Office at Barneys New York. During her time at NYU, Kim was able to intern with Annie Leibovitz, at Vanity Fair, Refinery 29, Chanel and Barneys New York. In fact, Kim interned at Barneys in the summer of 2013 and worked three separate terms until she was hired in May of 2015.

“I feel a fierce loyalty to Barneys for the mentorship I’ve received throughout my pre-professional and professional career,” Kim said.

As a Fashion Merchandising Assistant today to Barneys’ Senior Fashion Director, Tomoko Ogura, Kim has been busy working on various projects. Her favorites include styling for Barneys’ luxury editorial site, The Window, meeting new vendors and collaborating with designers to develop exclusive styles.

As a student at NYU, Kim always had an affinity for fashion, beginning her passion with an interest in photography. However, as she frequented photo shoots during her internships, she found herself drawn to the stylists and the clothes. “After my photo internship ended, I told myself to try a fashion internship to see how I liked it,” Kim said. “Once I made the decision to try a fashion centric role, I never looked back.”

In looking at the huge role NYU played in securing her a position at Barneys, Kim reflected on all aspects of her time as a student.

“My classmates and professors were perhaps my greatest advantages, as they challenged my state of mind,” Kim said.

“Being surrounded by overachievers who were dedicated to multiple projects allowed me to find a state of normalcy when I felt overextended.”

Given the dog-eat-dog world that is New York City, Kim has only valuable and noteworthy words of wisdom for students who wish to follow in similar footsteps.

“My advice to NYU students who are looking for jobs after graduation is to look at companies that you expect to grow,” Kim said.

In addition to looking at companies who are in the midst of rising, Kim also suggests establishing relationships with admirable people that could propel one forward. She herself was fortunate to have worked closely with Tomoko as an intern. Once connections are made, Kim notes that it is important to always reach out.

“A student’s schedule is very rare, so take advantage of that free hour from 2-3 p.m. and schedule a time to meet with someone you admire. Be respectful of their time, prepare your questions and always send a thank you card,” Kim says.

In terms of being ready for an interview, the former student has specific advice.

“Remember that an interview is more a conversation than it is an interrogation,” Kim said. “Dress for the part — hair and nails matter too — and make sure to support your experiences with specific examples.”

As for her return to basics, Kim has her own essentials that she believes should be in every wardrobe. Her must-haves include a mid-length gray coat, flattering denim (her preferred brand is Rag and Bone) and a solid pair of Celine shoes.

Email Mikaella Evaristo at [email protected]

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