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Italian Fashion Internship Provides Perfect Fit

When Franklin & Marshall student Lauren Arnold heard about the opportunity to intern at a fashion company in Italy, it truly was the perfect fit.

The rising senior from State College, Pa., has had an interest in fashion from a young age. As a joint major in business, organizations and society (BOS) and sociology, she saw the opportunity to work for Fashion Box in Asolo, Italy, as an unbeatable chance to merge her lifelong passion and major. After studying abroad in Tuscany the previous summer, Arnold also felt confident with her language and cultural knowledge upon entering an Italian workplace. 

If this internship sounds like an ideal match for the Italian-speaking business student, just wait: Fashion Box, which is under agreement with the company Sugi International, produces the “Franklin and Marshall” clothing brand that is ubiquitous throughout Europe, Latin America and Asia. The brand, founded in 1999, adopted the name when two Italian designers found a sweatshirt with the college’s emblem in a secondhand store in London. Now, 24 years later, Arnold is the first F&M intern working overseas in an ongoing partnership between the College and the company. 

Throughout her summer internship, Arnold is working within multiple divisions of the company, including marketing and communications, fashion design, visual merchandising and e-commerce photography. She also proposed additional tasks for her positions including market research, which allowed her to tap into her sociology education. Arnold shared how her study of society and culture informed her observations on the set of a fashion shoot.

“I thought, ‘Are we being inclusive with our model choices? What is our audience seeing when they look at our ads?’” Arnold said.

Apart from developing her business and marketing skills, Arnold noted her observations of Italian culture from immersion into an Italian workplace. 

“Italian culture is very slow and not focused on constantly being on the go,” she said, noting how colleagues savor meals, coffee breaks and conversations. “We F&M students go 110 miles per hour, so we could really learn from their relaxed culture.” 

When asked about her major takeaways, Arnold expressed her gratitude for the experience of working in an industry and country she adores. She also shifted her mindset from thinking of an internship as solely a pipeline into a job at that company. 

“I am learning as much as I can, getting exposure to the industry and embracing this experience for all it is.”

“I am learning as much as I can, getting exposure to the industry and embracing this experience for all it is.”

– Lauren Arnold

This internship was made possible by F&M’s Office of Student Post-Graduate Development (OSPGD) with assistance from Italian professors Scott Lerner and Giovanna Faleschini Lerner. OSPGD’s Director of Employer and Community Partnership Stephanie Williams describes the immense cooperation within the college’s office that made this opportunity possible for Arnold and future students. 

“This year, Lauren is the beneficiary of a combined campus effort that required institutional time, attention, talent, care and resources, and next year it will be someone else,” Williams said. “But this is indicative of the unique commitment the College has to supporting every single one of our students in their pursuit of great experiences.”

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