Q&A with Shefali Patel, Design and Color Intern at Ralph Lauren

Common interests are the basis of friendships. When I first met Shefali Patel as a sophomore in high school, we instantly had a connection. She was smart, stylish and loved to have a great time! Through some interesting form of osmosis, I connected back with Shefali while working at the Augusta Country Club. She dined with a group of friends, and caught my eye. We caught up, and she told me that she was majoring in Fashion Merchandising at the University of Georgia. I was first astonished, I have no friends that currently have the same major as I do, so it was quite a pleasant surprise to hear that Shefali was an aspiring fashion designer, like myself.

Shefali is a huge inspiration to me, as I am still pursuing my degree, and she graduates in December. During her time at the UGA, she has held two previous internships specializing in Product Development/Design at Abbey Glass Collection and Annie Griffin Collection. She has also served in leadership positions in her chapter of Chi Omega Sorority! She is now a Design and Color Intern at Ralph Lauren. This is a huge deal, because Ralph Lauren is one of the largest American fashion houses of all time, so to have this internship is quite amazing! I was so excited when Shefali agreed to do this Q&A, it's so great to have fashionable friends! Let's see what happened when I picked Shefali's brain:

-What’s the 411? (What’s your current situation i.e school, work, internships)

Currently, I am completing my Bachelor’s in Fashion Merchandising and Product Development and Design at the University of Georgia. Also, I have an amazing internship with Ralph Lauren. I have the pleasuring of spending my entire summer with incredible talent. I have never had so much respect for a company and their heritage! I work under the Color Team, which overlooks every brand under Ralph Lauren. Upon graduating in December, I will be permanently moving up to New York City, where I will pursue my Master’s in Fashion Design at Parson’s New School of Design.

-How did you get attracted to fashion? What aspects of the industry do you want to have a career in?

That’s such a loaded question—I’m not sure where to begin! Simply put: fashion has always been my life. Just ask anyone who has known me for quite some time. It’s not about the apparel; it’s about the way I live. I have always been inspired by the mothers of my Episcopalian schooling and I design to portray the lifestyle of timeless elegance and grace. A je ne sais quo that only a certain woman can possess.

I am building my brand to reflect the aforementioned lifestyle. I plan on beginning with women’s ready-to-wear, and will continue to specialize into petites.

-What experiences have you had during college that will help mold your career in the fashion industry?

 I have had several internships—this is the only way to get a feel for what you want and who you are and who you are not. Each experience has unveiled something about myself. I’ve learned more about the company I would like to run, and the type of people I want to surround myself with. Also, I’m not a design student, but that has never stopped me from landing design internships—I think that passion and vision go a long way.

-Who do you wear? How would you describe your personal style?

I am currently in love with Ramy Brook! She is simple and sexy—with gorgeous silks. The classics in my wardrobe consist of All Saints and Joie (quite the contrast)! I believe that women should look like women. My personal style is simple: beautiful fabrics, gorgeous color, and flattering silhouettes. I hardly wear prints. I love wearing all white. Personal style? Sexy in an understated way (think Emma Watson, Miranda Kerr, or Kate Middleton). Less is absolutely always more… and that applies to make-up too.

-How is it in NYC and working for one of the largest American houses in fashion history?

NYC is amazing—I’m never leaving. So many amazing opportunities, but my favorite part is meeting new people. Its true what they say: you never know who you will meet in NYC. I met a celebrity personal trainer today because I was out shopping and he thought I was following him! Turns out he’s on television and we exchanged contact info! God knows I need a personal trainer.

Ralph Lauren. Amazing. I’m over the moon for this company and I feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of it. There is a reason Ralph Lauren is THE American Fashion House. There is so much to learn, ranging from its heritage, to its company culture, to its timeless sophistication that seamlessly targets every demographic, never losing sight of its luxurious value. 

-What is your message to all of the college fashionistas looking to get into the industry?

Be able to wear multiple hats. Its not enough to just be creative, or just be business-minded. You have you have it all. And most importantly, you have to love people because at the end of the day, relationships are the only things that matter.

Fashion is blood, sweat, and tears. It is hardly glamorous. But when you love it as much as I do, you won’t care. That passion and vision is what sets you apart.

Thank you Shefali for inspiring me to hold on to my dreams, and pursuing yours so effortlessly! You are so amazing! You can follow Shefali on Instagram @shhhefali and Pinterest @shefaliiipatel! Also, click HERE for the link to her website.
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