If fashion tells a story, Andrew Hoge sure has one to tell.
The senior and onetime biochemistry major who wanted to be a doctor describes what he calls the thunderbolt effect of his decision to switch his major to business administration and strategic communications. Another pivotal point came his freshman year when he joined the SU Fashion Club.
Before long, he would organize the first of what has become an annual fashion show and fundraiser for the club. Hoge trained models, found designers and boutiques to feature, and discovered his previously unknown talent as an event organizer. The spring benefit show, now in its fourth year, raises money for Dress for Success, which provides interview attire and career development tools for women in need.
Working for designers now comes naturally for Hoge, who has interned at the fashion house of Oscar de la Renta in New York City and is currently interning with Seattle designer Luly Yang. "Luly Yang is a legend in Seattle and I fell in love with her designs and her business model," says Hoge, who on a recent day was busy at the designer's couture showroom at Seattle's Fairmont Olympic Hotel.
As Hoge stands alongside a mannequin and gently fluffs the silk taffeta skirt on a $34,000 monarch butterfly dress studded with Swarovski crystals, he talks of what it took to land internships with prestigious designers.
"The one big thing I learned as an intern for Oscar de la Renta is that social media is huge," says Hoge, who is now Yang's public relations manager. How he found his way to the world of high fashion speaks to his upbringing. "My parents gave me a strong work ethic and values and told me never to be superficial," he says. His dad, an urban planner, met his mom in her homeland of Guyana while he was working for the United Nations.
While Hoge credits his strong foundation, his goals and grit are his own. When he was initially turned down for an unpaid internship in Yang's showroom, he followed up with an e-mail offering to help her any way he could. She agreed, and by 2009 Hoge was hired on as a part-time paid intern. As an intern, Hoge has organized a model call to add fresh talent and created look books featuring photos of Yang's designs.
"Andrew is always a joy to work with in our studio boutique," Yang says. "His poise and professionalism at the workplace is perfect for our work environment."
His internship last summer in public relations at Oscar de la Renta provided another level of experience in fashion and brought his future into sharper focus.
Hoge maintains a detailed journal to keep tabs on lessons learned, questions that arise, his ever-changing goals and life's epiphanies. Ultimately, he aspires to work in public relations or as an editor at a fashion magazine such as Vogue.
Hoge has a realistic sense about the role of fashion in one's life. "Unless you already have self confidence, you can be put off by fashion," he says. "It's all about personal style, personal expression and wearing what makes you feel good."