Slave to Fashion: Two Alums Pursue Their Passions for Exciting Careers in Fashion

By Sara Shaughnessy


For many people, the first day of second grade evokes memories of bubbly teachers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches packed in brown bags, and the thrill of playing four square during recess. For Kristine Cupertino ’07, the first day of second grade meant finally picking out her own outfits, strutting her style down the hallways, and impressing many fashion-challenged classmates. Her unique interest in fashion at a young age combined with an exquisite eye for detail led Cupertino to quickly recognize her talent as a “self-proclaimed fashionista.” Fast forward a few years and she has unleashed her passion for fashion and discovered her dream job working for Ralph Lauren.

Cupertino has undoubtedly combined the best of both worlds by utilizing her economics major and sense of style to handle all dot com forecasting globally across over 20 brands. While she spends a lot of time working with spreadsheets, she explains “I am also the connoisseur of all things RL.” She works with the digital operations team who produce all of the e-commerce photo shoots, so she gets the chance to see all of the samples before they are mass-produced. Cupertino even shares her opinions and provides the designers with her expertise knowledge on fashion, proclaiming, “Hey, it’s good for the brand, right?”
According to Cupertino, Hamilton students pursuing a career in fashion should keep the term “networking” in their minds at all times and should constantly think about potential connections. She notes: “I am where I am today because I talk to everyone, do it with a smile, and am never afraid to reach out to people.”

Katie Stinchfield ’07 co-founder of The Continental, discovered her undying interest in fashion while at Hamilton, which is precisely why the style section of this magazine exists today. She began her professional career in magazines by interning for Time and This Old House. She then worked at Health, despite her lack of interest in sciences as she “only set foot in the science building at Hamilton to get coffee at Opus.” But these first jobs allowed her to gain experience and set her on a promising path to achieve a current job working for Rue La La, a website dedicated to rewarding members with daily fashion boutiques.

If you have shopped on Rue La La, you know the design team does an excellent job of keeping their members pleased. Even if an item is completely sold out, members have the opportunity to click the “Still Want It?” button, a feature that Stinchfield herself helped create. She also works closely with the marketing team to produce content for the Rue La La Facebook and Twitter pages.

Working for such a fast-paced, innovative company has allowed Stinchfield to thrive, and she encourages Hamilton students to follow their passion and showcase their sincere interest in a company when pursuing an internship or job as she did. “When I've interviewed candidates, I'm instantly drawn to people who are excited about my company,” she states. She agrees with Cupertino in that the power of networking is priceless and helps to initially “get your foot in the door.” Finding the ideal job can prove challenging, so she advises: “Don’t beat yourself up…The right one will come along, even if it doesn’t feel that way at the time.”