Photo courtesy of Morgan Anderson
Think that Italian fashion is all about famous brands and designers? Think again, and with the idea that beautiful can also mean beneficial and proactive. Morgan Anderson spent the Fall 2014 Semester interning with AltaRosa, an eco-friendly fashion company based in Florence. She contributed to the company’s new fashion blog for which she researched the concept of sustainability or environmental awareness in the fashion industry. Morgan shares her experience in the following interview. Check out Morgan’s writing at the AltaRosa blog.
Morgan, tell us where you’re from and your academic background.
MA: I’m from Chicago, Illinois, and currently a senior at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. I’m majoring in Retail Merchandising with a minor in Marketing.
What motivated you to choose the field of fashion for your academic internship?
MA: Since I am a Retail Merchandising major, it is a part of my required curriculum to obtain an internship in order to graduate. I thought that taking this opportunity while studying abroad would be a great option because I could gain insight on working in a fashion/retail environment while learning more about Italian culture.
You interned with AltaRosa, a fashion company known for its sustainable approach. Tell us about what you've discovered in terms of eco-friendly fashion.
MA: I have definitely learned so much more about eco-friendly fashion as a whole while interning here, for example what it means for products to actually be eco-friendly, and that it is not only positive for us but also for the environment and nature. The most important aspect I learned is that buying eco-friendly products is a part of a lifestyle choice based on always being conscious of respecting nature, our bodies, and the environment by reflecting on our daily lives from the clothing we wear to the food we consume.
Describe your regular duties at AltaRosa and the project(s) that you were involved in.
MA: My first few weeks at Alta Rosa were spent getting to know Valeria the owner, and basically helping out in anyway around the store that I possibly could. Valeria then decided that it would be interesting for me to write some posts for the company blog about my experience, including opinions of different topics pertaining to the products sold here at Alta Rosa as well as living an organic lifestyle.
Which AltaRosa products and details have been particularly interesting to discover?
MA: There are many interesting products at AltaRosa, but one of the most intriguing to me were the products made out of Alpaca fibers. These products are very warm, have a beautiful texture, and also came in an array of colors, which I though was very interesting.
How would you describe AltaRosa target customers?
MA: In my opinion, the AltaRosa customer fits a wide range of ages from the late twenties to 60-70 and is interested in purchasing quality items that are chemical free, eco-friendly, unique, and produced in a way that is respectful of nature.
How has the experience changed your perspective of Italian fashion?
MA: I feel that this experience has not so much changed my perspective of Italian fashion but rather broadened it. I came here believing that Italians were considered well-dressed because of the certain brands or designers they wear. However I now see that it is more about how Italians present themselves in the clothing they wear, which makes them well-dressed rather than the representative of brands.
Ideas for helping the average shopper improve their shopping approach into a more sustainable one?
MA: I think the average shopper can start by researching stores or brands that provide fashions produced in a sustainable way. I feel that once a customer realizes they are purchasing quality clothing items, he or she understands that the item is better for both the individual and the environment and that it can be easier to incorporate this approach into a regular shopping routine.
What are your future career plans?
MA: After graduation I hope to obtain an entry-level position as an associate fashion buyer at a major retail outlet back in the United States. After working my way up hopefully I can reach my goal of becoming a senior fashion buyer for a department store.