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Alumni Interview: Brandi Russell

Brandi Russell is a TXA alum now working at Citizens of Humanity in New York City. 

What opportunities lead you to your current job at Citizens of Humanity?

I first started at Citizens of Humanity as a general showroom intern the summer before my senior year! I was determined to intern somewhere in the city that summer and I applied to over 40 different positions. I happened to land this internship which then turned into a full-time job post-graduation!

What was the most beneficial thing you learned as a student in the TXA program at UT?

The amount of work you put into whatever your doing is what you will get out.

What is your advice for students trying to get their foot in the door of the fashion industry?

Don't hesitate to apply to as many companies you love and don't give up if you don't hear back. Also, be okay starting out at the very bottom of the totem pole – taking out trash, running to get coffee, etc. It's all about your outlook and how you go about doing those tasks – staying positive and accepting that everyone in the industry has paid those dues at some point. This will earn you respect.

What is your favorite aspect of your current position at Citizens of Humanity?

I love getting to build and maintain relationships with buyers. I get to opportunity work with some of the top buyers in the industry – at first, it was a little intimidating, but now I truly love getting to see them and catch up each season!

How do you stay up to date with the fashion industry?

Instagram, fashion shows, and blogs like Man Repeller are my favorite ways to stay inspired and up to date. It's crazy how Instagram is such an influence on fashion these days – my whole feed is fashion related and I spend most of the time resisting the easy option to purchase something right off the screen.

What is your favorite resource when you are doing research for projects?

Most of my projects include researching the top stores in the US to carry our product, either Goldsign (more niche and elevated) or Citizens of Humanity (contemporary) – I love going to websites of stores I personally love such as Kick Pleat in Austin and researching the designers they carry in store and then going even deeper and checking the stockists of those designers. I've learned about so many amazing stores all over the US!

How do you prepare for meetings and events?

I am a big fan of google docs – I make everything into a google doc and will use this to reference during meetings or events.

What is your go-to work outfit?

The nice thing about working for a denim company is that I can either put a lot of thought into an outfit, OR I can easily show up in jeans, a sweatshirt and sneakers. Either route, I'm pretty much ALWAYS wearing denim.

What is the biggest risk you have taken in your career?

My whole move to NYC in general was the biggest leap/risk taken this far. I grew up in a small town and Texas and had always dreamed of living in NYC and working in the fashion industry. At the time, this seemed like a far-away dream until I found myself on a plane one day with two suitcases to my name. This was truly the best decision of my life!

What was the biggest challenge in your career?

When I first moved to NY, a position at Outdoor Voices was offered to me unexpectedly. However, I had already accepted my position at Citizens. As much as I love Outdoor Voices, and as tempting as it was to accept, I turned it down. This was the hardest decision. Looking back though, everything happens for a reason and I am so thankful I took the path I did. My Citizens family has been a crucial part of my life here.

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