Notes on SAWLF’s Discussion on Fashion

The first question posed to Roopal Patel, the senior women’s fashion director for Bergdorf Goodman was “what are you wearing?” (Answer: Chanel).

Describing herself as “incredibly blessed”, Patel described first becoming interested in fashion when she took a part-time job at Urban Outfitters while an undergraduate at NYU.  “I realized there was a whole industry devoted to fashion,” she said.  She decided to become a marketing major and embarked on her career in the fashion industry.

Patel was preparing to enter business school when her career in fashion began to take off and then had to have that classic talk with her parents.

Here are some of my notes from the discussion:

On celebrities: “There is a reason there is that old Hollywood glamour is associated with the red carpet.”

On Indian designers: “They are used to designing for the Indian market, as they should be.  More is more in India, and we know that.” (big laughs from the crowd.)

Her advice to customers: “Invest in a good pair of shoes, that will never go wrong.  Always have a little black dress…. allow yourself options and don’t be afraid to experiment.”

On style in the workplace: I think in the workplace, it’s a reality that people take things at face value.

How should young designers approach Bergdorf: Most people call and meet with me or my assistant.  We require workbooks, prices…. I always say to young designers ‘timing is everything.'”  She also noted that persistence is key

Upcoming trends: Lots of color, lots of prints.

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