STYLE GURU BIO: Marien Wilkinson

Fashion has interested me for as long I can remember. In preschool, I never left the house without multiple necklaces and a hat. By elementary school, I was binge watching the Style Network and Project Runway before I knew what that term even meant.

Currently, I am a junior at Drexel University studying design and merchandising. I now see fashion as a reflection of culture and society. This became apparent to me over the summer when I studied abroad at the London College of Fashion.

London street-style is all about being bold and using what you wear to express your personality in a distinctive way. Standing out and being proud of what you wear on a day-to-day basis is a form of self-empowerment. This is a trait that I have brought back with me to Philadelphia.

Instead of returning to classes this fall, I started working as a full time sales and merchandising intern for The North Face. This is part of my school’s design and merchandising program. I will continue working until March and will still graduate in four years.

Working for a major outdoor retailer has made me confident in my decision to work in the fashion industry. Seeing the buying process and a brand up close has shaped my education in a way that I could have never learned in a classroom.

I do a variety of different tasks as an intern. Mainly I have helped sell and merchandise the fall 2016 line to specialty store buyers in the Mid-Atlantic region. Knowing the technology that goes into making specialty products has made me appreciate the difference in quality craftsmanship. An example of this would be knowing a HyVent 800 fill down winter coat with heat seeker insulation will keep you much warmer than a coat without these components. This appreciation for well-made clothing has carried over into my personal style and shopping habits.

I now value having high quality staple pieces that will last forever rather than more pieces that I know will fall apart. What I like has changed over the years. What hasn’t is my desire to be distinct in what I wear. I encourage anyone and everyone to explore their own personal style and believe that CollegeFashionista is a great resource in doing this. I can’t wait to discover and grow with the other Style Gurus and readers on this site this spring!