Elsa Nilert: Taking on Ralph Lauren and NY Fashion Week

Elsa Nilert, Skidmore student and Ralph Lauren intern

HC: Tell me a little bit about what you did for Ralph Lauren.

Elsa Nilert: I was in the fabric department for the Women’s collection at Ralph Lauren. It was very close to the Fashion Week show, which meant there were a lot of things to do. Ralph Lauren gets all of their fabrics from Italy, and in the month of August all of the warehouses were shut down over there. So whenever we needed a new fabric, we needed to find it on the streets of New York City (the fabric stores). People searching for the fabrics would come to me, and say “Elsa, we need something close to this material, Charmeuse or Faille (for example) and in this specific color.” With this information I would then go and find these specific fabrics around New York City. This process included having two different swatches: one for the texture/weight/feeling and the other for the color.

There were five stores that I always went to- they were all super close to the office that I worked at because it was on 7th avenue (fashion avenue), near Times Square. I would go to these stores and find the fabrics, how much they cost, how much they have of it, and all the information they needed. I would go back and show my boss and get the YES or NO approval. And then it would go above to her bosses and then I would get the order of how much of what they wanted. This was what I mainly did in the fabric department. Additionally, I helped the designers with-blow up of the sketches, put them on the board, run errands, and do other work.

A fabric that I found, all completed on the Runway

HC: What was your favorite part of this experience?

EN: One of my favorite parts of this experience was being able to see all the dresses completed and watching them go on the runway. Especially when I saw one of the fabrics that I helped find on the models. Also, another experience that I enjoyed was seeing the potential models come in the day before the show. I was amazed at the process and work that goes into fitting them; choosing accessories and clothes, and picking what looks better on who. Interestingly enough, I was very shocked at how young the models actually were.

The model that I dressed for the show