Growing up, Lauren Capolongo enjoyed being crafty and sewing. Clothes were not just something she wore – they were a way to show off her personality and personal style. She now brings that same fashion sense to her job as an assistant manager of production at GAP in New York City, where she focuses on toddler boy wovens, outerwear and swim.
“Fashion is a part of me and something my friends and family will also characterize me as ‘fashionable,’ because it is something that motivates and inspires me,” she said. “It is a concept that has existed since the dawn of time, and for thousands of years it has been used as a way to express yourself and make people feel good.”
Capolongo once dreamed of having her own clothing label but became more interested in the business side of clothing production as she got older.
In 2021, she graduated from Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies with a bachelor’s degree in information management and technology with a concentration in digital retail strategies and web design and management. She then earned her master of professional studies degree in fashion management from the New School’s Parsons School of Design in 2022 in New York City.
“I chose Syracuse because when I stepped on the campus it truly felt like home,” Capolongo said. “I remember I went on a cold, rainy day and was still excited to apply. I also knew of all the strong programs at the school and knew that the iSchool was well recognized.”
While at Syracuse, she did several internships within the retail and entertainment space at PUMA Group and Grey Space Group, which helped her transition seamlessly into her career.
“Syracuse prepared me for my career in several ways but mostly by having professional expectations,” she said.
At GAP, Capolongo makes designer’s sketches come to life by working with vendors and other counterparts. She also consults on the cost of garments and tries to create the best product at a reasonable price. She is currently working on developing products for Fall 2024.
“Right now, what is important to me is making the customer happy but also bringing sustainability into the conversation more,” she said. “Unfortunately, the retail industry is not eco-friendly, so I try to identify areas where it can be and integrate that into the product as well.”
The sustainability aspect is meaningful to her because she spent so much time outside growing up and has always had an interest in preserving the planet.
“While I love my job and plan to stay within the retail industry, like any industry, it has its faults so I try to at the very least improve on the imperfections,” she said.
Moving forward, Capolongo is excited about traveling more for her job and eventually using her managerial skills to manage a team. If she could offer advice to iSchool students who want to follow in her fashionable footsteps, she would encourage them to be involved as much as possible in school and internships.
“It teaches students time management skills that are crucial for the workplace. I also would encourage students to utilize every resource as well, especially within the iSchool. Everyone that works there wants to see students succeed and will always say yes to helping a student, including alumni,” she said. “Your time at Syracuse isn’t long, so make it count. It is truly a special place that will hold a special place in your heart.”