Name: Helena Kontos
Major: Fashion Merchandising
Meet two past Blitz girls
We caught up with two former Fashion Blitz writers Karen Zapp and Missy Pasquale, who’ve graduated from Kent State, to see where they are in the fashion industry, reminisce about their time at the Daily Kent Stater, and of course, chat about fashion and style.
Q: Can you describe your current position in the fashion industry?
Karen: Currently, I am a Junior Product Stylist for Net-A-Porter Group LLC, the online retail machine behind Net-A-Porter, The Outnet and Mr. Porter. I’m responsible for styling the individual images of the luxury apparel and accessories that are sold on each of these sites, as well as Net-A-Porter Magazine. Often, these images are also used in the front-of-book shopping pages of Vogue, W, Elle, GQ and other high fashion magazines whose readership is well aligned with the clientele we cater to.
Missy: I’m working in Kohl’s Design Studio in NYC on the Lauren Conrad brand.
Q: What was the transition like from Kent, Ohio to New York City?
Missy: It was a long awaited transition! My junior year I traveled to NYC for the semester with the school and couldn’t wait to get back. So, aside from the horrible experience I had while apartment hunting, I’d say the transition was smooth.
Q: How did working as a correspondent and stylist for Fashion Blitz impact your current career?
Karen: Being able to demonstrate that I was able to carry a project through, [working for Blitz and A Magazine] was extremely impactful while going through the interview process. In creative industries like fashion, it’s important to not only demonstrate talent but also display an ability to take initiative. It is easy to say, “wouldn’t it be great if I started this, or if I were a part of something like that,” but to actually do it and have a tangible product to show at the end of the day really means something to people.
Q: What aspect do you miss most about working on Fashion Blitz?
Karen: Besides creatively collaborating with Missy, Ashley and Taylor on a weekly basis, I miss going out into the community to make connections with the local fashion purveyors and supporters. It was always a great feeling to recognize and establish a relationship with people and boutiques in the area that provide unique products and share a similar passion.
Q: How has your personal style changed since moving to NYC?
Karen: When talking about New York, people always seem to mention the fact that there is a certain rhythm to the city that’s unlike anywhere else. The same is true when it comes to fashion here. Being constantly exposed to new and inspiring elements, whether it be directly from style on the streets and high fashion products I work with or elements as different as art and architecture, there is a rhythm to it all. Because of that my style is constantly adapting to what inspires me. Some days that may mean I go for a minimal, monochromatic look, while other days I may wear a crazy head to toe mixed-print look. My personal style moves forward as it always has, just to a faster beat. Missy: I don’t think my style has changed; it has just become a little more refined. The past few years at Kent I used to dabble in all of the trends till one stuck. Now, though I’m still adventurous, I find myself editing my color palette (a.k.a. I fell into the “New Yorkers wear black” trap) and toning down my assortment of bold prints.
Q: What is your favorite trend of the moment?
Karen: It’s never easy to pick just one. Statement sweaters and sweatshirts paired with trousers and single-sole pumps are a great take on the casually dressed-up trend for winter. For spring, however, I’m looking forward to patchy collaged pieces that mix snakeskin, lace and leather, as we saw done by Proenza Schouler and Erdem, as well as bold, oversized flounces, feminine yet minimal organza overlays, origami inspired silhouettes and East Asian influences.
Missy: I’m loving blue and white porcelain motifs. Mira Duma keeps taunting me with her Instagram posts in her Cavalli porcelain printed blouse… I wish I could just reach through my phone and snatch it up!
Q: What advice would you give to current fashion students?
Karen: Don’t be afraid to break new ground, and push yourself to never let a second pass that you aren’t inspired. Your education should go beyond Rockwell Hall. If styling interests you, go out and do it. Even if it’s just for a few test shoots with friends, being able to physically show that you’ve pursued your interests sets you apart.
Missy: Intern as much as you can, and be open to new experiences. Also, pay attention in your retail math classes because no matter how painful they may seem, Excel is everywhere.
—Annie & Cassandra