Passion for Fashion: Humans of IBCoM with Saartje Langstraat

I recently attended a seminar organized by EUR’s New Fashion Society (NFS). Matilda Rosengren is the Head of Marketing at GANT, a sustainable sportswear brand on the Benelux market, and I was lucky enough to hear about her experiences regarding internships and challenges within the company.

For this edition of Humans of IBCoM, I sat down with Saartje, a first-year IBCoM student and a member of NFS. We talked about the seminar and her own insights on sustainable clothing, and Saartje expressed her passion for fashion.

Meeting in Food Plaza, Saartje immediately caught my eye in a polka dot blouse paired with funky plaid pants. “I’ve had an interest in fashion for as long as I can remember,” Saartje tells me. Taught by her mother to sew clothing, she has picked out her own outfits from the age of four and has developed an authentic style inspired by many fashion icons.

Saartje’s love of fashion is reflected through her commitment to NFS. One of the reasons she chose to study IBCoM at Erasmus was because she had heard about the fashion society, and was thrilled at the idea of “being able to incorporate the art of fashion into the study”. She has taken on the position of blogger, writing about high fashion for NFS’s website. The blog posts are concentrated toward “fashion local to Rotterdam so that people can see what’s trending around town.”

During the GANT seminar, Matilda expressed the company’s overarching goal of brand authenticity, which Saartje defined as styles that cannot be replicated by any other brand, “from a fabric to a certain silhouette.” Another aspect of the seminar that especially stood out to Saartje was Matilda’s discussion of how present the distinction between men and women is in the workplace. She reinforced Matilda’s belief that women must be independent and maintain their own beliefs when faced with discrimination. Her biggest takeaway? “People will try to change you… don’t let them.”

Matilda also stated GANT’s belief in the importance of sustainable fashion, which Saartje offered her own opinion on. “As a student, it can be difficult to find inexpensive sustainable clothing”, but there are definite alternatives to investing in fast fashion brands. Most of Saartje’s staple items are secondhand, and she enjoys the thought process that accompanies picking out sustainable items.

Saartje described her go-to look as involving “a skirt and some funky tights paired with Dr. Martens”. Streetwear also dominates her style; she described oversized sweaters, baggy trousers, and bucket hats as “comfortable yet stylish”. When asked how she maintains confidence, Saartje claims she “got sick of wanting to change” herself to fit in, and has stayed authentic ever since coming upon that realization. “If you wear something with confidence, it always looks better.”

I asked Saartje a final question regarding how she intends to apply her IBCoM degree to the fashion world. “Having a background in social media is really important” because brands are increasingly looking for influencers to promote their clothing. In turn, such influencers are being invited to fashion shows and other events held by global scale brands.

Saartje expressed her excitement toward the approaching NFS events. She could barely contain her excitement when speaking about their February trip to Paris, in which the society will be attending various events about French fashion. “I’ve already started picking out my outfits!” An NFS vintage-themed fashion show is also in the works, with many opportunities for IBCoM students to get involved. Whether you have a passion for clothing design and want your work shown or you’re interested in strutting down the runway, keep your eyes peeled on NFS’s Facebook page for more information!
Author: Gigi
Editor: Kat

Eager, A work-in-progress, Inspired: Humans of IBCoM with Kat

On this post of Humans of IBCOM, we take a look at Kat! Our copy-editor for IBCoMagazine, and the boss to the IBCoMagazine bloggers!

A little background on Kat, she is originally from Manila, the Philippines, and she has lived in Dubai and the Hague, where she finished high school, before coming here to Rotterdam last year.

“I’ve lived here (The Netherlands) for 9 years,” she told me, and when asked if she spoke dutch: “a little bit, just enough to get around.” Adding on that she could have “probably put more effort into learning it,” even admitting that procrastination played a role in not learning the language. Yes…9 years worth of procrastination!

“We’re so international, a multicultural city.”
After living in the Hague, she found herself at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. “I was really drawn to the International aspect of it, because I’d gone to an international school all my life” and why Rotterdam out of all places in the Netherlands? Well “people in Rotterdam kind of pride themselves to say ‘we’re so international, a multicultural city’, but that is really what it is”

“Wow I have to buy my own food”
Kat is a second-year who hopes that by the end of the school year she’ll have “an internship and to be a working person.” I really wanted to know how she has changed since the first year. “Probably a year ago I was getting used to being in university” She told me that she wasn’t so used to being by herself and the changes that occurred throughout high school helped her grow to be independent: “I was kind of getting used to being an independent adult, like wow I have to buy my own food now”

“Going to read, and edit and approve”
Now, with her newfound independence, Kat has become the copy-editor for IBCoMagazine. Starting out as a writer for the magazine in her first year to copy-editor is a “pretty big change.” She said she always found that being a writer was “difficult in some ways” as “you had to come up with your own ideas, you have to make it flow, there’s a lot of thinking power that goes into writing a good piece.” However, as a copy-editor “it’s a different kind of difficult” saying that it’s a lot more time consuming as she has to read articles every week but she finds it an exciting job! This will be one of the articles that Kat is “going to read, and edit, and approve” so I hope she has some fun reading about herself!

“I need to flex my LinkedIn”
Aside from classes, Kat has a very good resume on her hands. She is the chairwoman of the IBCoMmittee of the faculty association ACE, “I am also in the Rotterdam Student Orchestra, I play the flute” and alongside that, she is a member of the Honours Program. Vitalii, one of our talented photographers, asked her “how do you survive?” and she quickly responded “I don’t” which was accompanied by laughter from the three of us. She jokingly said, “I need to flex my LinkedIn” which, honestly, we all agree with!

“A work-in-progress”
In the last part of my interview, I asked Kat, what is one word that describes the person you were in the first year, are in second-year, and hope to be in third-year. Kat responded with “eager” in her first year. Her second year? “A work in progress? but that’s not one word” No worries Kat! We can hyphenate it. A work-in-progress. As for her third year? She hopes to be “Inspired”. I hope you enjoyed our little snippet into the life of Kat, our copy-editor!

Humans of IBCoM: Ana, PR in IBCoMagazine

First-term has almost ended, second-year students are working on their CVs and first-years are studying for their first exams. For this reason, I have decided to make an interview with Ana (21) who finished her internship and currently a third-year student. 

Ana comes from Macedonia where is a collectivistic country where  “everybody is together”. Her relationships with family members and friends occupy a significant place in her life: “I dedicate myself for my closest people”, Ana said, “Also ‘love’ overall… my motive is to spread the love”. In addition to the importance she gives to interpersonal relationships, Ana is a very ambitious person and highly focused on her goals. She tries to do her best when it comes to her career and works hard for what she dreams of. 

Ana is really enthusiastic about the PR industry and her interest in this business is coming from her high school years. Despite it, she didn’t know that there is a major which covers PR in the Netherlands. After making researches and getting to know more about the media and communication studies, she realized that this programme fit her goals. Then she applied for several universities in the Netherlands, accepted to all but chose to study at Erasmus University since Rotterdam is a student city. Since Ana is a third-year IBCoM student, I asked about her experience in two years of IBCoM and she said that it was just like what she expected, demanding yet fun. 

 “The fun part was the curriculum itself as we studied our daily lives basically… we looked everything deeply so it motivated me to look at life in different ways.”. However, she was expecting the programme to be more practical such as television, media or public speaking. On the other hand, Ana got those practical skills and improved herself by participating in extracurricular activities.

Since Ana is passionate about  PR, she wants to work in this industry after graduation: “It’s my dream, it’s my goal, it’s my wish…” , Ana told me when I asked her what she wants to do in the future. This is what she was aiming when she enrolled in the university and she is on that path, climbing the ladders one by one. 

Because of her dream to work as a PR Director, Ana did her first internship in the PR industry as well, nonetheless, she did her second internship in the US Embassy, which is a really appealing place as an intern. 

“I found it out through an ad that popped out to me accidentally,” Ana began to tell her story of working in the US embassy, “… the universe sent it to me basically”. 

I wanted to know more about the selection process and she said that it was a complex procedure in which she had to submit her CV, biography, documents that prove she didn’t commit any crime and answers for the questions they asked. Then, she had an interview with the people in charge and she got passed. For the last, she had a security check to prove certain things, for instance, to show that she is not a threat to the embassy. After all those operations, Ana became an intern at the US embassy, and we are going to dive into that in our “Tips and Tops” series. 

Now, Ana is doing a minor in entrepreneurship and besides that, she is part of the IBCoMagaine Editorial Board as a PR Director and a student mentor. Also, she is preparing herself to start a career.

To conclude, I asked her if she has any suggestions: “be organized, prepare a lot and research your opportunities” said Ana as advice, “… use your hours in the day… you have only three years of the university so between all that partying and Netflix take some time to develop yourself as a person… see what you are, see who you are… these three years will be really really valuable to you after you finish”. 

I appreciated that Ana took some time to talk to me about herself and give advice/insight on the IBCoM. 

Author: Zeynep
Editor: Kat