When it comes to education, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of hands-on experience. That’s one reason we were so thrilled that our New York headquarters were recently able play host to two very special groups of students as part of our summer intensive learning programs. Seven college students from area universities and five high school students from the High School of Fashion Industries were invited to take part in our second annual summer programs, which are supported through the Barneys New York Foundation. The aim of both programs is to expose students to all aspects of Barneys’ business, as well as to the fashion industry at large.
“I was most surprised to learn how many different aspects there are to the fashion industry. It’s not just about a designer, a buyer or a merchandiser—there are countless jobs that all come together to form a brand,” says Shaniyah Dent, one of the participants in the High School Intensive. “I had no idea that a legal department would have a place at a fashion brand!”
That insight into the industry was echoed by members of the college program as well, with University of Pennsylvania senior Jonnell Burke telling us, “Being able to have access to people I admire and learning more about their career trajectories opened up so much for me in the world of luxury retail and has made me aware of positions I didn’t even know existed.”
Each of the programs paired the students with a mentor and culminated in a presentation where the students encapsulated all elements that they learned during their time with Barneys. The high school students spoke to the history and vision of Barneys, while the college students presented a fully-fledged campaign idea they’d formulated, spanning in-store events, social media components, and marketing efforts. Upon the completion of their programs, each student was awarded a scholarship to help with the continuation of their studies, courtesy of the Barneys New York Foundation.
It was this practical application that many of the students found most impactful. “We got to partner with the social media team to put together a real product launch,” recounted Samantha Trabattoni, a college student from Fordham University. “It was incredibly hands-on, working together to conceptualize our own ideas. Then to see it come to life and actually be presented on Barneys’ social platforms, it was all so surreal. It’s something we’ll be able to talk about, whether to friends or to a potential future employer.”
That idea of future employment was one that was referenced throughout the college intensive, with mentors offering the students guidance in their areas of expertise, as well as in the students’ areas of interest. “I’m interested in creating my own brand, and this experience has allowed me to have more leverage in terms of working with a retail partner,” says Dorien Russell, a student at Fordham. “If I were to get into a relationship with a retail company in the future, I already know a little bit about how they function and could have a more informed conversation as far as being a vendor for them.”
Please join us in offering our thanks and congratulations to all the students who participated in our summer intensives!
Joel Yates, Fashion Institute of Technology
Dorien Russell, Fordham University
Samantha Trabattoni, Fordham University
Justin Rivera, LIM
Osvaly Jesus Jimenez, New York Univeristy
Jonnell R. Burke, University of Pennsylvania
Hani Talpur, The New School/Parsons
High School Intensive, The High School of Fashion Industries:
Amber Gabriella Alicea