Making her Way in Fashion Merchandising
BriAnna DellaSala ’17 is ready to take her masterful skills in marketing and her flair for fashion to a career in the fashion industry after graduation in May.
BriAnna DellaSala ’17, a marketing student in the Pforzheimer Honors College and president of Profashionals, has combined her creative and analytical skills in more than eight internships at prestigious companies across the city, each helping her get one step closer to her dream of working in the fashion industry.
“I live by a quote about fear that explains how an action doesn’t hold you back, but the fear of the action will,” DellaSala says. “I try to always go after what I am afraid of doing, and then you find that it wasn’t that big of a deal in the first place.”
Even as a senior in high school, DellaSala knew she was ready to fearlessly conquer city life, only applying to schools in Boston and NYC. Though she said she was leaning toward Pace based on its strong business program, she was sold the day she toured campus.
“When I toured Pace, my guide went on and on about all the great internships here, and I knew that I really wanted to intern in college so it seemed like the perfect opportunity,” DellaSala says. “I also really loved the campus and how it wasn’t a traditional college setting, because I am not a traditional person.”
Because Pace is placed in the heart of downtown Manhattan, DellaSala loved the idea of being on her own, owning the city, and forging a path in fashion.
Growing up, DellaSala always had a flair for fashion, obsessing over the fashion-focused TV series Ugly Betty, envisioning herself as the assistant to a major fashion editor like Andy in The Devil Wears Prada, and standing out from the other kids with her unique clothing choices.
“I loved fashion, but I knew I wasn’t good enough at drawing to go the design route,” DellaSala says. “But I knew that I was a really good businesswoman. My dad is in finance and I can negotiate with him really well, so I knew I had that business mind with math and management.”
While she built on her analytics, finance, and marketing skills in the classroom, DellaSala began dipping her toes in the fashion mecca that is New York City by joining Pace’s former fashion club, Styleta, and networking with people who shared her same interests.
There, she met Cindy Nguyen ’16, who asked DellaSala to join the executive board of Pace’s current fashion group, Profashionals, which stitches together a community of students looking to land their dream internships and careers in the fashion world through events, networking, informative meetings, and more.
While working to get Profashionals up and running for other students to find success in fashion, DellaSala wasted no time kicking off her own journey into the industry, interning with the online boutique Lux and Eco during the summer after her freshman year. As an assistant buyer intern, she singlehandedly picked many of the clothing and accessories the company sold on their site, and after three months, she was hired on as a part-time fashion buyer while still maintaining her good grades.
“I didn’t know it then, but I realized I want to do buying for my career,” DellaSala says. “That is why interning has been so important to me, because I was able to figure out what I do and don’t like. As a marketing student I am learning the material in class, but through internships I can apply and experience marketing of all types and learn what I like.”
Her next internship was found through her organizing of and attendance at the Profashionals event, Dress for Success, which brings together a panel of fashion professionals for students to learn from and interact with. She walked up to a woman from the marketing department of Cosmopolitan magazine, introduced herself, and expressed her interest in interning at the magazine.
From networking with the woman, DellaSala scored her internship in the fast-paced fashion closet of Cosmopolitan and Seventeen, checking in samples, running around the city, and organizing the closet covered in designer clothes.
Next, she tried other facets of fashion, working in the fashion closet of American fashion designer Michael Kors and completing a sales internship for another American designer, Zac Posen.
During the fall of her senior year, DellaSala was offered an opportunity she couldn’t resist, as it combined her passion for marketing, analytics, and fashion into one unique opportunity in merchandising at Salvatore Ferragamo. As an intern in the men’s department, she worked as an assistant merchandiser and assistant buyer.
“I absolutely loved it, and I am obsessed with the company,” DellaSala said. “I made graphs that the CEO presented in meetings, and created the trend reports that went to every Ferragamo store.”
DellaSala loved the opportunity so much that she is working with Ferragamo through the spring semester in the women’s merchandising department.
When she’s not busy at her internship or being the president of Profashionals, DellaSala is working on her thesis that compares how older luxury brands conduct their brand management and marketing in comparison to newer luxury brands, and what each could learn from the other.
As for her next steps after graduation, DellaSala is planning to work in the fashion industry as an assistant merchandiser or assistant buyer for a few years until she is ready to pursue graduate school in either NYC or London.
“Pace has allowed me to be in the perfect location and in the center of it all,” DellaSala says. “I bounced around a lot in the fashion industry and was able to try as many things as possible within my interest to find what I enjoy most.”
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