Omar Villalobos

Published on Nov 01, 2013

Senior Omar Villalobos started as a film major at Columbia, but soon discovered it wasn’t for him. It was a tough decision and wasn’t easy to transition, but he decided to follow his heart and change to a fashion business major with a concentration in marketing.  Now, he’s started his own fashion line after interning at Vogue, CS Magazine and Burberry.   

Tell us about your internships. 

In Summer 2012, I went to New York to work at Vogue. It was the first time that I ventured off on my own. I was taking care of the incoming and outgoing merchandise and was the liaison between the PR firms and Vogue and that was really cool!

In Fall 2012, I interned at CS Magazine where I did social media marketing where I covered events and updated social media posts. I was also a liaison between the publications and surrounding businesses and solidified business partnerships.

I started working at the Burberry Chicago store in the summer of 2012, which was always a dream of mine. I worked there full time and also was a full-time student. I discovered that I really loved Burberry and that I wanted to get a long-term job. So, I worked hard for a couple of months to get an internship and in May I finally got one! I interned in their showroom where I helped out with the buyers and events and presented future collections. It was really cool to see the clothing before it hit the racks! For the internship I did a project where I presented marketing initiatives to the Burberry president and CFO. I won a luxury dinner with them because they liked my presentation! It was great!

What about your creation of GOCA Designs?

It started as a feeling. When I was a film student, I always felt like I had to work harder to be taken seriously. So I decided that I wasn’t going to go into fashion feeling foolish. With a friend of mine, we decided to create GOCA Designs. We started networking, producing sample collections, showcasing and more. GOCA was featured in Latino Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week. It helped me know that being in this industry was for me!

How did Columbia help you in your internship search?

I reached out to Columbia’s internship coordinators. They were helpful with showing me how to go about solidifying an internship, like sending follow-up emails. I took the advice they gave me and really stretched it out and personalized my emails and learned a professional way of stalking people! I learned to be persistent in order to get what I wanted.

What has been the most valuable class that you’ve taken so far 

Merchandising Management. It was definitely the most essential. It taught me a lot about pricing, wholesale, manufacturing pricing and so much more about the back-end of buying.

What inspires you?

Nature and simplistic things that are essential to everyday function. For me, it’s getting in touch with where we came from. When I’m surrounded by nature, it’s relaxing because nothing is altered and I’m not over stimulated by advertisements and marketing.  

What do you hope to do after you graduate?

I definitely see myself in the marketing world! Before, it was more of materialism driving where I wanted to go. But at this moment, I just want to find my voice. I want to know myself and then I will know what I can bring to a brand.

What’s your favorite place to eat on campus?

Potbelly is my favorite. I get everything on my sandwich to make it the biggest sandwich ever!

Check out Omar’s exquisite portfolio on Talent Pool