An iced chai latte in one hand and an organic cotton tote bag on her shoulder, twenty two year old Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (LIM) senior Sarah Archambault is on her way to her first class of the day in midtown Manhattan. She woke up at 6, polished off a yogurt and grabbed the subway. Her walk from there onwards is straight up 5th avenue. A normal Monday for her where she will be on the go for the next twelve hours.
‘It’s funny at first, but you get used to it,’ she giggles. Classes are two days a week, an hour and a half each (unless they are studio sessions which are three hours), from 8am until 4pm and she gets back home around six usually. The other five days are spent studying, completing assignments and interning.
Sarah was always interested in fashion. Ask anyone in her small hometown of Sandwich, Massachusetts and they will agreeably say, the girl had style. In high school, Sarah was always a stand out with her bold fashion choices, like sky high Zara booties, in a hallway where people mainly wore Converse. In 2015, Sarah began her college journey at Rhode Island College (RIC) studying fashion merchandising. Her disappointment in the program and overarching college experience pushed her to consider transferring schools, a complicated process that often leaves students graduating later than originally planned. Her 2016 LIM start and transfer of past credits however, thankfully, allows her to graduate this upcoming spring.
Within the past few weeks, Sarah has deservingly bagged a dream internship with Sustain The Mag, a magazine launched in 2017 which focuses on, as it sounds, sustainable fashion and living.
‘I followed them on Instagram for a little bit and just really related to their content. Within the last while I had gotten really into sustainability myself, and I always wanted to work for a magazine, so it just worked.’ Sarah also expressed her delight in having an opportunity to intertwine the two areas. It all started with a DM on Instagram and ended with her scoring a dream internship. There was some messaging, a FaceTime interview in between and now Sarah manages Sustain’s social media. She also gets to go to interesting events like ‘zero waste’ fashion shows and have meetings in trendy coffee shops. ‘I love that it’s not a 9-5 office kinda thing. It’s informal and different.’
Her opportunities at LIM have been endless. In just her first year, Sarah interned for Kleinfeld, the popular bridal boutique from the American TV show, Say Yes to the Dress. From the very start of her college career at LIM, she was taking apart in fashion events that young fashionistas would kill to work at like New York Fashion Week. This year she transported sustainable pieces of clothing to Glamour Magazine. In previous years she was getting the set ready at shows like The Blonds.
‘It would be simple tasks like just saving seats. But the seats were for the lead singer of Cage the Elephant and Cardi B,’ Sarah states casually and adds, ‘I got to meet Miss Jay Alexander, Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton too!’
It sounds chic and like one big glitzy party but she notes that the hardest part of being a fashion student is entering the industry and realising that it’s something entirely different. ‘It’s not as glamorous as I thought it was. Which is how I got into the sustainable side of things. I realised how messed up the industry is and can be improved upon,’ Sarah expressed. Ironically, Sarah began a part time job her first year at LIM at Zara. Now, she bypasses the high street and tries to only rely on her vintage finds.