When Fashion Week meets Business Coaching
Carolina Dalfó is a New York based Fashion Designer working for Ralph Lauren and other famous brands. In this interview with Business Coach Sandra Sester we get the chance to look behind Caro's creative mind, understand her business approach and find out how business coaching with Sandra helped her to get another boost in fashion career jungle.
Business Coaching in one of its finest ways - Welcome to NYC fashion business!
What past projects did you do and what's your current project about?
I have worked on a wide array of projects, from developing collections for
Robert Geller, Opening Ceremony, Gustav Von Aschenbach and Ralph Lauren, to
name a few, and special projects such as Robert Geller x Lululemon and Robert
Geller x Hare to producing Fashion Weeks both in Buenos Aires and New York. I
have a special place in my heart for the Robert Geller Fall Winter 2016, it was
an amazing collection to design, a truly beautiful Runway show and I'm
extremely proud to have been part of that.
These days I'm working on 2021 men's collections at Polo Ralph Lauren and preparing to launch my own project!
Which other people played an important role in your fashion career so far?
My Design approach is definitely influenced by the people I have worked with, mainly Robert Geller. I worked with him for many years, and still do. When you are designing a collection, you spend a lot of time with your team, so I think it is extremely important to know and get along with the people you work with. Robert taught me to hand sketch, to see the beauty in it and to really enjoy it, but with it, he also taught me about construction, proportions and collection planning. He is just a very well-trained designer with really good taste, not only in Fashion but Art, Architecture, Music and Photography as well. He taught me the real dynamics of Fashion, which are quite different than what we are taught in university. I am happy to call Robert my mentor, but also my friend.
Everyone I have had the opportunity to work with has definitely contributed to my career and I am thankful to all of them.
Caro, so nice to meet you. May you shortly introduce yourself, please.
My name is Carolina Dalfó and I am from Buenos Aires, Argentina, but I am based
in New York, where I work as a Fashion Designer at Ralph Lauren. I graduated
with a Bachelor's Degree in Textile and Fashion Design from UADE in Buenos
Aires and got a Master's Degree in Critical Theory and the Arts at the School
of Visual Arts in New York City.
Art was always one of my main interests growing up because of the intricacies of its interpretation. The first movement that got my attention was Surrealism in fifth grade, I found it fascinating. After high school, I had decided to pursue a degree in Architecture, but ended up switching and deciding to study Fashion. Looking back, it was perhaps that halo of mystery that surrounds Fashion that attracted me to it, that same hidden intricacy I had found in Art years earlier.
How would you describe your professional style of Design?
I enjoy starting a new project with an open mind and exploring ideas that pop
up in my head, because they might turn out to be really interesting. Research
is especially important for me, I like to take my time to watch movies, read
books and visit museums to gather as much information as possible, to really
understand what I am working on. If there is any concept, I think might be a
good addition to the main theme, I explore it as well, it just adds an extra
layer. Hand sketching gives me the opportunity to quickly put a thought on
paper, then technical drawing on my computer lets me shape this first idea into
an actual garment and create different variations of it. I really learnt
to love every step of the Design process.
How did career coaching with Sandra help you figuring out what career steps you want to take next?
In general, I profited from the coaching sessions iin learning how to maximize my own potential - regarding my career but also in my personal life.
Sandra's coaching approach is future-oriented and is about defining goals and creating an action plan within the reality of life as it currently is for me. It very much helped me feel ready to define and envision my next steps and then tackle them with a structured plan - which included searching for potential new projects, making difficult decisions, developing new skills and a wide array of other actions to develop my potential.
Working together, it was important not only to address challenges - which Sandra helped me navigate through - but also to come up with a strategy on how to take my own business off the ground and put in place both long-term and short-term goals that would eventually make it a successfull brand.
How do you define success as a fashion designer?
That is a good question. Success is about being proud of what you have created. Of course, Fashion is a business and it is always nice to see that a collection is well received by customers, stores and the press. However, seeing a garment you really love on the Runway, knowing all the work behind it, having seen it come to life from the very first sketch, is an enormously proud and emotional moment. I would call that success. But also, with the help of Sandra I figured that success is not an endpoint but a constant development of my ideas, my business and myself.
What are your plans for
your future career? What other interesting projects can we expect from you?
A few months ago I decided to turn my love for bright colors and bold prints into a scarf line. I went to university for Textile and Fashion Design, so this was a good opportunity to bring all these elements together and create my own line, DALFO. Having fun while designing is important to me and I have been having a lot of fun working on this project. I am excited for everyone to see it! And I am excited to see what the future brings.
Carolina Dalfo is a Fashion Designer and Design Consultant based in New York. She has worked for leading brands such as Ralph Lauren, Robert Geller, Opening Ceremony and Gustav Von Aschenbach. Her work has been featured in publications such as Vogue, Vogue Russia, Vogue France, Women's Wear Daily, The Washington Post, The New York Times, W Magazine, Esquire and The Impression. Carolina is the Founder & Chair of the LATA Alumni Association at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Sandra Sester is a Business Coach, HR Consultant, Psychologist and Lecturer based in Germany. As a coach, she guides her Clients through their professional development with targeted support and help them understand their strengths and abilities for lasting success, irrespective of their industry or level of hierarchy.
Trained and educated in Germany as well as Columbia University in New York City, she worked for strategy and management consultancies before she started to work as a Freelance Coach and Consultant for her clients in different industries. Sandra is the Founder of her consulting company (www.sandra-sester.com) as well as Tengo Arts (www.tengo-arts.com).