Glitz, glamour, high-end fashion, big-name designers and runway models coupled with the behind-the-scenes controlled chaos of one of the world’s most prominent fashion weeks – a College of Arts & Letters student recently got to experience this world of luxury fashion during Paris Fashion Week.
As the winner of the MSU Malone Souliers Business Strategy Challenge, Carlo Pardo, a double major in Apparel and Textile Design and Supply Chain Management, received an all-expenses paid trip to Paris and had the opportunity to work for Malone Souliers, a London-based luxury shoe brand.
“A member of the Malone Souliers team reached out to me and another student with one day’s notice that we would be flying to Paris for fashion week,” said Pardo, who served as a Malone Souliers intern for the week. “I had no idea where I was going, who was going with me, or what I was doing; however, who am I to pass up on a trip to experience Paris Fashion Week?”
Right after arriving in Paris, Pardo was put to work, helping set up displays, prepping the showroom, assisting model fittings, shadowing clients pitches and negotiations, and interestingly, researching additional realty for the expansion of Malone Souliers’ operations in Paris.
“One thing I have learned talking to people with industry experience is you never know who you will meet and what an opportunity can turn into, so I stayed quick on my feet and eager to help and learn,” Pardo said.
That willingness to learn and can-do attitude resonated well with the Malone Souliers team.
I really was able to experience so much that really helped me identify where I want to take my future professionally.
“Swift bravery to integrate, seemingly founded on an underlying intellectual curiosity and a good foundational grasp of the sensibilities of the sector, despite not being familiar with the idiosyncrasies of what is indeed a peculiar beast of an industry. That was Carlo, quickly welcomed after an initially frigid Parisian fashion and Parisian climactic reception. He knows what we mean. He continued to show gusto, guts, and gumption, applying mental faculty to academic basis, but challenging himself further to quick thought and resolve. Simply put, Malone Souliers awaits his return and, as I fear, so do the world’s of luxury and fashion,” said Roy Luwolt, Co-founder and Managing Director of Malone Souliers, 151Luwolt, and soon-to-launch luxury bar, The Fair, on the famous Dover Street in Mayfair, London.
Throughout the week, Pardo helped the production manager, who works as a medium between the creative side and production side of the business. He also worked with other team managers who ran the showroom and worked with buyers.
“Overall, the experience was beyond anything that I have ever been a part of in the best way possible. I really was able to experience so much that really helped me identify where I want to take my future professionally,” Pardo said. “I am so thankful to the Malone Souliers team for creating an educational and inclusive atmosphere for me. Everyone was so passionate about their jobs and the product. It was truly inspiring.”
Pardo said he especially found the candid business conversations about manufacturing, merchandising, branding, and design to be very educational.
“I have honestly learned the most through those instances and really feel that exposure to these types of real business scenarios are part of what made my internship so invaluable,” he said.
Pardo found out about the Malone Souliers opportunity from his Apparel and Textile Design professors. As an applicant for the business strategy portion of the competition, he had to create a growth plan for Malone Souliers, an up-and-coming company that launched in the fall of 2014.
I have never heard so often the idea that your craft defends your content and that is something that I have really taken with me when working on any project, really paying attention to all the small details to ensure that what I produce is quality on all levels.
“The challenge was a business strategy that highlighted an opportunity, your proposed solution, metrics, and for finalists, an excel document that detailed your expenses,” Pardo said. “The idea was to research the business and create a strategy that made sense based on their current business plan, but also challenged it to bring new opportunity.”
Pardo credits his MSU education and professional development experiences with helping prepare him for his internship.
“Most of my extracurricular experiences with CAL had a contributing factor in my success with Malone Souliers,” Pardo said. “I have learned from my pre-core that attention to detail is crucial in any situation. I have never heard so often the idea that your craft defends your content and that is something that I have really taken with me when working on any project, really paying attention to all the small details to ensure that what I produce is quality on all levels.
“Also, the professional development programs that I have received throughout my college career from the Multicultural Business Programs, Fashion Design Student Association, and Retail Connect program gave me so many tools I needed to succeed in this environment. I had the knowledge necessary to conduct myself professionally and appropriately and was able to network myself effectively as well.”