Kansas — Getting a good job in the fashion industry in New York City is difficult, but at least three Wichitans have shown it’s possible with determination, helpful contacts and a bit of luck. Here are their stories:
Elizabeth Cochran is senior director of design and product development for the fashion label L.A.M.B. and handbag company Harajuku Lovers.
The East High grad from the class of 1992 is the daughter of Helen and Charles Cochran of Wichita. After high school, she enrolled in New York University.
“After I graduated my mom encouraged me to call the Kate Spade company because there was a Kansas connection,” she said about the well-known handbag designer. “I did and got the job on the spot. I worked there almost nine years.”
The company grew so rapidly that Cochran says she saw the work atmosphere go from casual to corporate. “As it got bigger it wasn’t nearly as much fun to work there,” she said.
She loves her job now and says it’s fun to work closely with entertainer Gwen Stefani, who owns the companies. “Gwen really is involved and that’s why it’s so successful,” Cochran said.
She grins when she recalls her interview with Schifter & Partners, the company that handles the brands. “I had always been a big fan of Gwen Stefani but I was trying to be cool and didn’t know if I should say that I was a huge fan. I finally did and I was very exuberant,” Cochran said.
She was concerned that her enthusiasm might sound immature or unprofessional, but later was told it was one of the main reasons she got the job.
“I think it’s good to be exuberant. It has served me well,” she said.