The fashion industry is an artistic and beautiful business that inspires individuality and encourages creativity. Yet underneath its stylish allure is a mega industry that significantly contributes to our national economy and international trade. Fashion is an international, multicultural business that nets $1.75 trillion a year. Career opportunities are nearly endless and always evolving. The fashion industry encompasses many fields, even law, finance, and corporate social responsibility, while still catering to those who have a passion for clothing design and marketing. Northwood’s Fashion Marketing and Management program is designed to prepare students for the many careers available.
Alumni Jerry Bostick (’05), Julie Mason (’11), and Tammy Weiss-Perretti (’96) have discovered that fashion is a perfect career fit.
Bostick is part of the fashion industry from head to toe. As a key account executive for the wholesale side of Puma North America, he manages apparel, footwear, and accessory sales. He lives with his wife and newborn son in Dallas, Texas, where he oversees Puma's five-state South Central region. But he didn't start out with a career in fashion in mind.
Northwood: Why did you go into the fashion industry?
Bostick: I wasn’t even interested in fashion when I started at Northwood. But I had the incredible opportunity to be part of the school’s Term in Europe program. Traveling around Europe and experiencing international relations first-hand really opened my eyes to the fashion industry. I saw what a huge, global industry it is. And how fast it changes and evolves. That interested me.
N: What do you like best about your job?
B: Traveling. I travel all over the country and really enjoy going to new places and meeting new people. New York Fashion Week is a favorite. I find building my clients’ businesses and cultivating professional relationships very rewarding parts of the job, too.
N: What do you think is integral to success?
B: With all the focus on industry and business, I think it’s important to keep in mind that your number one brand is yourself. Keep that “brand” strong with integrity, honesty, and hard work, and you will find success wherever your passion and interest take you.
Mason puts her NU degree to work as an assistant buyer for Zulily, where she plans and coordinates three-day events for the website. Partnering with the in-house copy department, production and photography studio, and creative teams, as well as independent vendors, she curates products to drive demand and intrigue customers. She lives in Seattle, Wash., and enjoys many of the activities, especially the shows and fun-themed runs, the city offers. The challenges and rewards of her career today reflect her experiences at NU.
Northwood: Does your job reflect the NU philosophy in any way?
Mason: Yes! The freedom to be an entrepreneur and try new things. At Zulily, there’s such an interesting balance between business acumen and creativity. I don’t believe that’s the case for most buying positions.
N: Did you work on the Style Show when you were at NU?
M: I worked on the Style Show for several years. My senior year I was the Student Design Chair, which was a lot of work and responsibility but also a lot of fun. I loved that it gave students an opportunity to express their creativity and talent.
N: How did your NU education help prepare you for your career?
M: The fact that I came out of a four-year college with dual majors prepared me well for my career. It was interesting to employers and helped me stand out from the other candidates. My ability to complete that course load while doing extracurricular activities showed that I was a focused and determined individual.
As global sourcing manager for QVC, Weiss-Perretti manages the apparel sourcing team responsible for Isaac Mizrahi Live!, H by Halston, and C. Wonder brands that are sold in the U.S. and five European countries. She spends a lot of time overseas, building vendor relationships and ensuring high standards for product quality and social compliance. Living with her husband and son in Phoenixville, Penn., Weiss-Perretti enjoys the start-to-finish aspects of her work life.
Northwood: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Weiss-Perretti: My team and I take a design concept and make it a reality by managing the entire product lifecycle. I find it very gratifying to see something I’ve worked on for so long finally become a success. But what I find most rewarding is seeing the professional growth of my team and helping them achieve their goals. Individual successes contribute to our team’s overall success.
N: Were you always interested in fashion?
W-P: I knew I wanted to be in the fashion industry and go to Northwood since I was in eighth grade. But I didn’t want to be in design, which is what most people associate with fashion. My NU education showed me that the fashion industry is incredibly diverse and I could have an important part even if I wasn’t a designer.
N: What is it like to be involved in the fashion industry?
W-P: It’s fun. A ton of work and not always glamorous, but it’s never boring. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, something new arrives. It’s such a diverse industry with careers that go beyond design and buying. If you’re interested in something, you can probably do it in the fashion industry.