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If you ask senior Lulu Colon about the most noticeable difference between Fashion Week in New York and Fashion Week in Paris, her answer is sure to fascinate you. “Paris Fashion Week is more relaxed! The fans in New York are really chaotic, but in Paris, it’s more casual. I was literally standing next to these big supermodels. They were just doing an open event. It’s really fun to compare!” Colon laughs.

Just a few weeks ago, the senior fashion merchandising major, originally from Puerto Rico, found herself helping to put the finishing touches on an internationally recognized event: The New York Fashion Week. However, this was not Colon’s first rodeo. The first time she participated in one of the most prestigious events in fashion was the spring semester of her freshman year.

“Here at Marist, there is a fashion show production class. Not that many freshmen get selected, because you need to apply, then get an interview…hundreds of people apply. So, I did it, and I got accepted into the class. I was one of three freshmen, and the class got invited to work with Betsey Johnson that year in New York Fashion Week. Then I went again my sophomore year…I went every year,” says Colon.

Since her first experience with New York Fashion Week, Colon has expanded her resumé in impressive ways. Last semester, Lulu interned at LDJ Productions in Manhattan, a company owned by a Marist alumni that specializes in event production and show direction while offering creative services. Colon can’t say enough about the spectacular hands-on experience she gained during her days as an intern.

“I loved it! It was more of what I want to do…I like working events, planning, being backstage. LDJ also has its own charity foundation; it’s not only all fashion things. You get to work with Yahoo, the New York Times, Reebok, do conventions for pharmaceuticals…it’s cool that it’s not only fashion.”

Of course, the experience she gained her freshman year was different than that of her senior year, and she says that there definitely isn’t a typical day when it comes to Fashion Week. “I can’t compare what I did my freshman year to this year. Last season, when I was interning, I did a lot of pre-Fashion Week things…like set up, and put decals on things. You have to make sure every little detail is good with your supervisor. You want to make sure the sponsors are happy. You run errands, get to see the shows, make sure people are on time. Just little things like that.”

It’s a transformative experience for any fashion student for sure. “I just love being present and observing. Last year, Marist got the opportunity to work with (designer) Francesca Liberatore, and this year we got invited to help again, me and a few girls on my team. We did her fittings, because we got so close with her last year. She was so proud of us. We altered garments, did all the layout, made sure all the shoes fit the models, made sure hair and makeup was on time. I got so many opportunities here. We actually got to work and learn from the actual designers and the people that run Fashion Week instead of just dressing models.”

With all of this going on, it’s no surprise that Colon’s one piece of advice for other fashion students looking to go backstage at Fashion Week is to remember to drink water! “The pace is so fast. Once you get there, you have to remember to even drink water! Even if you’re not thirsty…drink water! We get to the venue at 5 p.m. and all of a sudden it’s 10 p.m.…it’s crazy!”

“Crazy” is probably the best way to describe Colon’s schedule, thanks to her involvement in innumerable activities on campus. Her years at Marist have been colorful, thanks to her participation not only the fashion program, but in the Marist Ambassadors club and the on-campus sorority Alpha Sigma Tau. Nevertheless, Colon says that it’s important to get involved. “Always volunteer! And always build up your resume. The fashion department is always sending emails for volunteers, just for little things. There are so many opportunities, and we have an internship coordinator, too. Just be on top of it; always help and volunteer. You’re not going to be paid probably, but it’s worth it.”

With that go-getter attitude, this fashion aficionado that cites the illustrious Italian Dolce & Gabbana as her favorite fashion house growing up is sure to be an asset to the fashion industry in many aspects when she graduates.

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