The fashion studies program offers the students a variety of wonderful opportunities and experiences during their time at Cazenovia College. One of the degree requirements for both fashion merchandising and fashion design students is the New York City Fashion Tour. This class is held in a course of 3-4 days at the end of the college’s winter break. The students who enroll in this class spend a few days in New York City visiting museums, touring the garment district, speaking with fashion alumni, and touring designer studio’s and other well-known clothing brand headquarters. It is a wonderful experience and helps students network for internships and jobs for post-graduation. It also allows students to hear first-hand experiences about being a designer, stylist, and working for a small company vs. a large company.
This spring semester, along with the New York City Fashion Tour class held during winter break, the fashion studies program created the Paris Fashion Tour class. This class holds the same concept as the New York City Fashion Tour and was held over spring break. Fashion students had the chance to enroll in the New York City Fashion Tour, Paris Fashion Tour, or both. Jessica Manno, a senior fashion merchandising major, who is also co-directing the Fashion Show with me, attended the Paris Fashion Tour. Below is an interview about her experience visiting Paris followed by her personal photos of her time spent there.
Q: How did you get the opportunity to visit Paris, France?
Jess Manno: When I was in my fall semester of junior year, the Paris Fashion Tour trip was offered to fashion merchandising and fashion design students. Every year, designers and merchandisers are required to do a New York City fashion tour, but this year they offered both for the students to choose from. Since I was a junior at the time, I was already signed up for the New York City Fashion Tour, so I had the opportunity to tour both cities! There was no way I was going to pass up the chance to take a fashion tour of Paris.
Q: What did you think of Paris and the culture?
Jess: I thought it was absolutely amazing – and very different! I had never been out of the country before so I didn’t know what to expect. One of the first things our tour guide told us was that Parisians are egotistic because they know that they’re the most fashionable people in the world. However, I didn’t come across any egotistic people, but I did come across very fashionable people! Everyone was always dressed to impress. Besides the fashion, there were other aspects of their culture that are very different from ours, which I found interesting. For instance, everyone is very calm and unrushed. I saw people hanging out next to the Seine River enjoying wine and the company of good friends; they seemed very relaxed and happy. In America, everyone is always rushing to get places and rarely ever sit back and enjoys life like they do.
Q: What notable landmarks did you visit?
Jess: We probably visited almost every notable landmark that Paris has to offer! We spent everyday walking around the city, exploring museums, and checking out all the famous monuments. We went to Museé d’Orsay, the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Opera House, St. Michel fountain in the Latin Quarter, Ponts des Arts (the Love Lock Bridge), Notre Dame, Museé de la Mode, Palace of Versailles and much more! If I had to choose a favorite, I’d have to go with Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. Notre Dame is so beautiful, especially on the inside. The stained glass windows and statues were stunning. There was also a mass going on at the time we were touring, so it was pretty cool to see, especially coming from a Catholic family.
Q: What did you find the most exciting place to visit and why?
Jess: Definitely the Eiffel Tower, it was mind-blowing. One night, we decided we were going to go to the top, but the line for the elevator was too long. So we all decided to take the stairs! As painful as those stairs were, the view was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. The whole city was illuminated since we climbed it at night, so you could see everything for miles. It was definitely my most cherished memory from the entire trip. Later on in the week, my friends and I got lunch in the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. We were lucky enough to get a window seat, it was an awesome experience and the food was delicious!
Q: You visited couture designer Octavio Pizarro. What advice, if any, did he give the students? What did you think was the most important part of that visit?
Jess: Our visit to Octavio Pizarro’s studio was great! He told us his background story and how he started in the industry. He seemed like a very down-to-earth guy. He knows his designs are amazing, but he also knows
that he still has to work hard in order to earn a spot in Paris Fashion Week to showcase his designs. The most important thing he said to us was, “it’s important to have an identity, and you have to work to find what it is”. He told us that his designs come from his Chilean and Parisian background, as well as his personality, but he didn’t find his identity right away. Octavio explained that it took a while for him to realize his true identity, but designing, working hard, and not giving up is what helped him find it.
Photos below: Eiffel Tower lunch view, Octavio Pizarro & the students