Alumnus Reflects on Oscar de la Renta

Nicole+Schlaeppi++%E2%80%A2++The+Spectator

Nicole Schlaeppi • The Spectator

Nicole Schlaeppi  •  The Spectator
Nicole Schlaeppi • The Spectator

Former Seattle University student Andrew Hoge.

Standing at 6’5,” Seattle University alumnus Andrew Hoge makes an impression long before you hear his voice. Impeccably well-dressed, well-mannered and well-educated, he is the quintessential PR professional. Though Hoge currently works as the Assistant Manager and Communication Coordinator for Luly Yang, a Seattle-based women’s fashion boutique, not long ago he was interning in New York City under Oscar de la Renta, “the king of evening.”

It was my pleasure to sit down with him this weekend and talk about his career and experience interning for the iconic fashion designer back in 2011.


PW: How did you get started with Luly?


AH: Luly’s story is very inspirational. It all began with the butterfly dress for a paper dress fashion show. She created the pattern using an actual butterfly wing pattern and created that dress. She’s always been in design, but she switched mediums from graphic design and architecture to fashion design. With me, I had just joined the fashion club at SU when I was a junior.

The staff at LY was looking for volunteers for their 2009 fashion show called “Creation.” I reached out and said that I would love to volunteer backstage and get a little more experience. Unfortunately, they didn’t allow gentlemen backstage because of the sensitive nature of the models, so I wrote back and said if there was anything I could do, I would do it. So I ended up stuffing swag bags for the fashion show. I kind of got my foot in the door that way.


PW: How did you find Oscar de la Renta?


AH: You never know where life is going to take you. I met a woman, who is now a friend of mine, here in Seattle who had just returned from interning for Oscar de la Renta. At the time I thought what she had done was very cool, but I didn’t really think about too much [for me].

As I was ending my sophomore year I was still with Luly’s and thought it would be fun to intern in New York. I talked with Luly, and she encouraged me to do it. I prepared a resume and went to career services, drafted a cover letter and sent that all to the PR team at Oscar de la Renta. About a week later I had a phone interview with them. That was definitely an experience in itself, as I’d never had a phone interview before—I prefer [interviewing] in person, it’s a little more comforting. But I guess it went well because they offered me a position, and I was off to NYC for four months.


PW: Tell me about your first day of work.


AH: I got up super early. I didn’t have to be there until 9 a.m., but I got up at 5 a.m. I got into Times Square where, at the time, the office was [located]. I remember I was so nervous. I had done my research and pressed my clothes for working in the office. They told me that I should dress like I was going to have lunch with Oscar, which never happened, but that was what I was told to think.

I actually waited in Times Square and people-watched for about an hour. I don’t know why I was nervous, but I guess the fact that it was actually happening got to me. I sat down at one of the Starbucks in Times Square and just prepped by going over my notes and emails. I am such an over-preparer.

I came into the office, checked in at the front desk, got a tour, and got right to work. My first day they told me what I was going to do, and part of that was going to be press tracking. I had to buy all the magazines [People, Harper’s Bazaar, Hello, etc.] and go through each and track the placement of Oscar’s dresses from the polls in each magazine. Anything with Oscar you must scan and document, they said.

I went straight to work, no transition. This was the dream.


PW: Was there an atmosphere that he created in the office?


AH: Absolutely. When you have an eponymous label, everything the office does is based on Mr. De la Renta and his clothing and his lifestyle. He was very forward-thinking, gracious and he cared about people. You just got that feeling when you walked into the office. Everyone was very hardworking and on it. Everyone was very much in his light.


PW: What set him apart?


AH: Well, I think that he focused on an aspect of humanity that was close to home. He was always forward-thinking. What do women today want to wear? He listened to his clients. He always thought about what today’s woman wanted to wear and how to make her feel the most beautiful, elegant and the best that she can be. That, along with his work ethic and kindness and compassion, set him above the rest.

The editor may be reached at [email protected]