Student Spotlight: Jess Erthal ('15)

Published on Apr 07, 2015
Photo Credit: Emiliy Madigan ('15)Photo Credit: Emiliy Madigan ('15)

By Michael Garcia ('15)

Fashion Business Major Jess Erthal ('15) puts herself in the world of fashion by designing her own brands and working as a manager at Urban Outfitters so she can gain enough managing experience a team to open her own business.

Fashion is a huge part of your life, what do you look for in clothing? 
I look for more than just patterns and colors when I look and think of clothes. Whether it’s in my daily commute, my friends, in music, in different neighborhoods, and lifestyles I just like to see things that are unique and connected by more than just threads and buttons.

How have you been applying these inspirations to your schoolwork?
In my fashion design class I got to design my own brand and line of clothing. I really got to focus on the business side of things and realized that while design is an interest, the business side of things is definitely more for me.

How is your job at Urban Outfitters giving you good business experience?
At Urban I have gained some experience in how to manage people, communicate, make decisions, and what a manager has to do behind the scenes to make sure everything moves smoothly. Columbia is good because it gives you the foundation of what will go on in a business, but nothing compares to hands on work in the field.

What is your dream job?
The dream job is to have my own street wear clothing store in California. I haven’t thought of a name yet, but I know I want it to be a cool place for people who appreciate that style to come and hang, talk music and clothes, and of course be able to buy some really nice gear. For now though I am gathering inspiration and working with friends to help design their brands.

What makes Columbia unique for you?
The fact that the campus is in a major city is an amazing experience. I wanted to be in a city where my connections could reach far out; there’s so much to get from being here. I really enjoy getting to know and work with fellow students who have a similar passion. Even if I don’t work with them personally, just from being in a class with smart motivated people, I can learn from their achievements and mistakes. It’s a community, but you have to walk into the circles of people. You can’t just stand idly by.