Student explores sustainability in fashion

March 2, 2020
Erin Watton, '21, secured an internship at Nuuly, to pursue her interest in fashion and sustainability.

Most students only wish to get the internship of their dreams and run their own clothing business. For Erin Watton, ’21, these dreams have turned into reality. While studying abroad in Milan, she secured a marketing and merchandising internship at Nuuly, a new clothing rental brand under URBN, the parent company that owns Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters.

“I found that I’m so scheduled at Richmond. While I was in Milan, it almost felt like I had too much free time,” Watton said. “When I saw that the application [with Nuuly] came out in September, I decided that I’d take this free time to start updating my resume and cover letter.”

Like many students, Watton looked for ways that she could stand out among the pool of applicants. She was able to use networking skills she learned through the Robins School of Business to give her an advantage.

“My friend’s cousin works at URBN for Anthropologie, and I had talked to her this past summer about working there. I think it helped having that connection to get the interview.”

Watton has always had a strong interest in fashion, but being abroad in Milan gave her more exposure to topics like sustainability.

“I went to an exhibit in Florence that showed fabrics made out of different recycled materials. There’s so much future in sustainability, and Milan is the first place where these ideas are being tried out. It was really cool to be around that, and to see these trends coming to the U.S.,” Watton said.

Fashion is known to repeat itself, playing into the increasing trend of sustainability in the apparel industry. This was a big part of what inspired Watton to pursue an internship at Nuuly, specifically. Since it is a rental service, it promotes sustainable fashion.

This is not, however, Watton’s first experience in the fashion world. In the summer of 2018, Watton started her own business, e.xclusively. She upcycles items like jackets, jeans, and bags with paint to create one-of-a-kind items for her customers. In addition to her education in the Robins School, Watton said she has learned a lot through running her own business, and is excited to bring this knowledge to her internship.

“It really allowed me to get experience in Instagram marketing, website design, and even communication with clients. In those ways I’ve gained a lot of tools that will help me succeed at Nuuly. I also know that Nuuly will teach me a lot and I am excited to add on to the skills that I already have.”