Internship takes apparel and merchandising student to the Big Apple

IMG_2100Caitlain Bricker, a senior majoring in apparel and merchandising, is graduating in December, but for now she is 1,700 miles away from CSU, interning at the Jenny Packham New York Showroom in New York City.

Packham is a British designer who has grown her business worldwide. Working in the showroom means Bricker deals primarily with the wholesale side of the industry. She helps sell Packham’s designs, which are primarily ready-to-wear pieces, to department stores like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Ave, and Neimen Marcus. She also works in bridal gown sales selling dresses to bridal boutiques in North and Central America.

Most students wonder if they’ll ever use the material they learn in class. According to Bricker, she uses something she learned in class every day, such as sourcing fabrics or researching trends and competitors. Her major also emphasizes teamwork and communications skills, which she feels has helped her in all areas of her internship.

“I definitely believe that I would not be the person I am today, nor would I be as prepared as I am without my CSU classes and professors who have helped me so much along the way,” Bricker said.

As an apparel and merchandising major in the Department of Design and Merchandising with a minor in business, Bricker said the  internship has helped her hone in on a part of the industry she finds particularly interesting — marketing.

IMG_2092“I’m really passionate about fashion marketing,” Bricker said. “My classes at CSU and my internship have shown me I do well in sales, and I also like the creative side of fashion. Fashion marketing would allow me to combine these two areas of fashion.”

Bricker hopes to do this by pursuing career opportunities in New York City upon graduation, although she’s open to staying in Colorado as well. She wants to combine the creative and business side of the fashion world and thinks a position at a fashion magazine like Elle or Glamour would be a good fit.

Because of her internship, Bricker has made connections in an industry that’s notoriously hard to break in to. She’s met buyers from department stores, fashion bloggers, designers and models.

“Interning in New York City allows me to see fashion in its true element, which means I get to meet a lot of people from all over the industry,” Bricker said.

Although Bricker dreams of starting her career in NYC, she knows she’s going to miss CSU and the strong community that surrounds it.

“CSU has really felt like a huge family to me for four years,” Bricker said. “We help and support each other through the easy and hard times, and I am truly going to miss the students and faculty that make this place special. No matter where I am, I will always be cheering on our Rams in everything they do. Go Rams!”

IMG_2103Her advice to her fellow students: Build relationships with professors and take advantage of the great resources CSU has to offer.

“Your professors are going to be the people you go to for class help, school advice and figuring out your career,” Bricker said. “It is a really great feeling when you have someone you feel comfortable going to for pretty much anything. I would also say another piece of advice would be to take advantage of everything CSU has to offer. With resume reviews, mock interviews and career fairs, the Career Center has helped me find so many different jobs and internships.”

The Department of Design and Merchandising is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences.