Fashion industry experience includes:
- JC Report- Online Marketing Assistant
- Lanvin- Sales & Market Showroom Intern
- WWD- Fashion Week Marketing Intern
- Footwear News/WWD UAG- Fashion Department Intern
- Teen Vogue- Fashion Department Intern
Rebecca Lay was born in the neighborhood of Hyde Park on the south side of Chicago. She currently attends New York University in Manhattan, and is double majoring in Journalism and Psychology, as well as minoring in Art History and plans to graduate in May of 2011.
If this is her major, why feature her on NIF?
The answer: Ms. Lay has built up an incredible resume full of experience within the fashion industry –something she has a strong passion for and was happy to share with NIF!
Read on to see what she had to say.
“Ever since I was young, I was interested in people. When I people-watch, I like to speculate about why they chose the outfit they are wearing and why. I am very opinionated when it comes to fashion–it comes naturally to me. I started sewing when I was young.
When I began having ideas of things to design and construct, I decided that I should pursue a career in fashion design. I was able to take three years of fashion construction/design in high school. At that time, I also worked at a restaurant and at Club Monaco —at one point, combining the two, I worked full time (40 hours a week) while I was taking normal classes and playing tennis on the varsity team. This really helped my work ethic, something which I think is necessary for a career in anything.
When it came time to decide which college could lead me to my fashion career, I knew I needed to be in New York City. I chose New York University.
NYU is known for not having a campus. I wanted to be integrated into the city as much as possible, as soon as possible, so I saw this as an advantage. I had also decided that fashion design was not for me, and I wanted a BA rather than a BFA. Originally, I had planned on going to Parsons School of Design, but my aunt, who was a fashion designer in New York in the 1960s, wanted me to get a broader education.
While NYU is not a fashion school, all of my courses have been valuable in some way. In terms of fashion, my psychology courses are probably most valuable because, most simply, I get learn about people and gain insight as to why they wear what they wear or buy what they buy. I consider it an advantage to have knowledge of things that aren’t just fashion-related.”
THE NIF Q&A
1. What is your proudest accomplishment thus far in your life?
My proudest accomplishment in my career so far would be my work ethic. I think work ethic is seriously underestimated and takes years to develop.
2. Would you recommend NYU to someone looking to go into fashion?
It depends on what field in fashion they want to get into and if they want to stay in New York. If you are committed to fashion design and want an education in the US, I would definitely say Parsons. If you are looking for a journalism or corporate career in fashion, you don’t need to go to a fashion school. Getting a normal undergraduate degree is probably the best idea because it gives you a wider education to fall back on.
3. Does NYW host any fashion events (fashion shows, networking conferences, etc.)?
NYU has a couple of student groups that host fashion events, such as the Fashion Business Association (FBA). It is nice to have student associations that cater to my career, but I think that nothing can compare to actual work experience.
4. Does your school offer internship connections/ assistance in finding internships? Can you receive credit?
I cannot receive credit as I have to use my major departments for it. The journalism department pretty much despises fashion internships, and psychology only gives credit to psychology internships. It makes sense. I don’t rely on my school for assistance in finding internships, except for its online listing service. Otherwise, I find internships through research and networking.
5. How have you managed to find and secure so many phenomenal internship opportunities?
It was hard to get started when I first came to New York. The only reason I got my first internship at Teen Vogue was because I entered their international “Win an Internship” contest in high school. I was contacted by an editor, who told me that he wanted to give me a regular-length internship rather than the prize, which was a two or three-week intensive internship.
After that, I worked hard looking for internships and interviewing. My goal is to be well rounded in all different areas of the fashion industry, so I’ve tried to work and intern as much as possible. I probably applied to twenty places and interviewed five times before finding my second internship at Footwear News, which is also part of Condé Nast (Condé Nast owns Fairchild Publications).
Hard work and patience pays off.
6. Specifically with your Jimmy Choo internship… How did you get this internship? Who do you report to at this internship and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
I saw the listing for my internship at Jimmy Choo on NYU’s CareerNet Website, which allows employers to post internship and job listings. I applied via email.
As an intern, I report directly to the assistant buyer/retail analyst in the buying and merchandise planning department of the New York office (US office). I run retail reports, help put together seasonal buy books, handle damaged merchandise, and help put together retail training packets for Jimmy Choo’s US stores.
7. What is next for you and what is your ultimate dream career?
I am currently discussing options for an internship this summer. My next step depends on what I am offered and whether I decide to pursue visual merchandising or buying. So I’m not entirely sure what my dream career is, probably a job in fashion that inspires and supports me.
Click HERE to view Ms. Lay’s professional website.