Siba Alumna Makes her Mark in the Fashion World
Posted August 2nd, 2017
Retail Management/Fashion Merchandising graduate, Sarah Bross has been doing big things since she graduated last year. From working with icons of the industry – Marc Jacobs (yes, THE Marc Jacobs) and the legendary Andre’ Leon Talley, to managing production at huge events for Kate Spade and The Gap; to working behind the scenes at the annual Pins and Needlesdesign competition in St. Louis for the second year in a row, Sarah is already making her mark on the fashion world. We caught up with Sarah to see what’s she accomplished in this short time and what’s on the horizon.
It looks like you have been very busy since you graduated from Siba, including an internship in New York! Can you tell us a little bit about what you did while you were there?
In New York, I got my start as an intern at 6UP Productions. 6UP Productions consists of a smaller team taking on BIG clients and events. While working there I helped with the preparation and execution of major events including Kate Spade, Paul Andrew, The Gap, and Malaria No More.
I also had the opportunity to work with the team at Marc Jacobs in February for his New York Fashion Week show. This was a 3-day gig where I worked in the Marc Jacobs Soho office during fittings, which gave me the chance to meet some of his models—Kendall Jenner, Grace Bol, and Winne Harlow. I somehow kept my cool all three days without fan-girling, but one day after the show, I ran into him on the street! There was screaming, a few tears, and a selfie involved.
Very recently you coordinated models for Mother Model Management at the Fluid 18 fashion show back home in St. Louis. How did you get involved and what was your role in the show?
André Leon Talley’s collaboration with the Saint Louis Fashion Fund was a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity. I definitely owe this one to Mary Clarke, founder of Mother Model Management. Mary brought me on a few weeks earlier as her assistant for a different show. When she was asked to have her Mother Models in thisshow, she put me in touch to work as Back of House coordinator.
And now you’re working on the Pins and Needles show in St. Louis August 10th! What are you doing for that event and how did you get the opportunity?
This is my second year working Pins and Needles, although it feels like my 100th. This is such a fun show! It’s the longest running design competition in the Midwest. I work with Creative Director and BrainChild Events founder, Dwight Carter, (who we were lucky enough to have as a Siba faculty member!) on almost anything he asks me to. He’s become such a wonderful mentor—he’s always teaching and cheering me on.
For this show I do everything from designer scouting, model scouting, staff scouting, to sponsor scouting. I then manage all of those throughout the months leading up to the show. I create promotional visuals for social media, develop the production schedule, host venue walk-throughs, and brainstorm about future goals for Brainchild Events with Dwight.
How do you juggle so many events?
I don’t have an office, but I seem to always be working! My laptop goes everywhere with me. Sometimes a crisis occurs or a deadline gets pushed up and I find myself sitting at Buffalo Wild Wings drinking a beer while editing a model lineup. It is what it is!
Anything else in the pipeline right now?
I just wrapped up “Tribute,” an incredible fashion event with Mother Model Management, in Cedar Rapids. My next move is heading back to NYC two days after Pins and Needles. I’ll be working with the same company I interned with as a freelance producer for some cool events going on in August and September.
What were some major takeaways from your time at Siba that have helped you in the fashion world?
Ms. Wasson’s Fashion Promotion class was like my “it” moment in finding what I wanted to do. I always liked volunteering at events, but it never even crossed my mind planning those events could become my career. After taking that class I was hooked. I put way more time and effort into than I needed to but I loved every second.
The Dean, Mrs. Schnefke and the Director of Career Services, Mrs. Huey, were my mentors. I remember going into Mrs. Huey’s office one day when I was still working at a Product Development company and feeling defeated because I wasn’t loving it. I was sort of nervous to tell her since she landed me that great job, but she just lit up and was like “Well, okay! What are we trying next?” and I said “I want to try events.” That same day she introduced me to Dwight Carter and the following day I was knee deep in Pins and Needles production tasks.
What advice would you offer any current students at Siba who are hoping to do something similar with their degrees?
- Make a good impression. Show a sense of urgency. Typically, the person judging your work ethic is under a high amount of pressure so if they are running around like crazy and you’re looking at your phone, that won’t sit well.
- Never stop growing. I spend a lot of time on Indeed—not necessarily to apply for jobs but just to stay in the know. I like to find new event companies and learn about them or look at different event planning job descriptions.
- My dad always preaches “The Power of Now.” Now is all you have. Only now. I do my best to apply this when I am working events. You can’t change the fact that you oversold the 3rd row, so what are you doing to do to fix it? Do you have extra seats in the second row or can you provide drink tickets? What are you going to do right now to make it better?