Monday, April 4, 2011

Sophie Marx for The Daily Front Row


Like all aspiring fashionista's trying to break into the industry, I found Sophie Marx's interview with The Daily Front Row, to be very enlightening (like that one Teen Vogue book, I have yet to finish). After a stint at Vogue, the now assistant to the Executive Director of the CFDA, Steven Kolb, has taken a new role with new insights. Excerpts from the interview include:

What did you do before snagging this job?
I’m pretty fresh out of school. I went to Connecticut College; I'm your typical liberal arts kid. I double-majored in anthropology and English. Right after I graduated, I started interning in the art department at Vogue and I was working at Intermix. There was a meeting for all the Condé Nast interns where Anna Wintour and Vogue PR director Megan Salt were talking about the CFDA and Fashion’s Night Out. I went upstairs and told Martin Hoops, senior designer at Vogue, that I wanted to work at the CFDA. Martin told me he could definitely get me an internship. I was an intern here for a day, on Fashion’s Night Out. I guess I’m a poster kid for internships that work in this industry. I didn’t go to fashion school, I just kind of networked my way here.

What was your day-long stint as an intern like?
Steven Kolb’s former assistant and current PR manager here, Christine Olsen, emailed to warn me about how crazy the day would be and to make sure I was up for it. I told her I’d be sure to wear my comfortable shoes, and Christine responded, “Well, not too comfortable!” That's fashion for you. It was pretty crazy. We were running back and forth from Lincoln Center like madwomen, it was definitely my longest day on the job.

How did you end up here?
I’ve always wanted to work in fashion, and I worked in retail when I was younger. I’ve also really wanted to go to Africa—this job is the only thing that kept me in New York.

How does the office culture at the CFDA compare to the vibe at Vogue?
I loved the atmosphere in the Vogue art department. It was a bunch of very down-to-earth and talented people. Vogue’s art director, Alberto Orta, used to walk in every morning and say, “Hello, beautiful people!” It wasn’t the horror stories that you hear or see in the movies, and that’s very much how it is here at the CFDA. We’re a team of cheerleaders for our designers. We get very excited when they succeed and sad when they don’t. We’re always wearing their clothes, too.

What's an average day like?
Steven usually gets in around 8:30 or 9 in the morning, and I’m there about a half hour after him. I check his schedule to see what he has on board for the day, I really like to check our press coverage. I confirm Steven’s appointments early on in the day, and then perhaps I’ll send an email to our CFDA members alerting them of an event. I’ll check our RSVP email account, especially if we have an event coming up. I have five different email accounts on my Outlook. I constantly check them all throughout the day. As for specifics? Yesterday, designers from Haiti and Kenya were in the offices, visiting from Vital Voices [a women’s empowerment organization]. And recently, we had an event for new designer members of the CFDA. There was great energy and the new inductees were like the belles of the ball. It’s a really cool time to be at the CFDA, because we have our fiftieth anniversary coming up next year and we’re putting together a book for that in addition to all the events. We also just finished a travel book, for which I coordinated submissions and worked with the publisher on layout and design. There are 11 people here at the CFDA; it’s kind of mind-boggling what this little office produces!

For more on Marx's interview, click here.

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