Roma Shah ’08
Wholesaler. Globetrotter. Fashionista.
Working for one of fashion’s most iconic brands, Roma Shah is on the fast track to success.
Roma Shah’s intensity and infectious energy have taken her to one of the most iconic fashion houses in the world. Shah is a sales manager for Saint Laurent (formerly Yves Saint Laurent), where she oversees the wholesale of the brand’s shoes and accessories for all of North and South America. “I want to always show that I love what I do,” says the rising fashion star, whose boundless enthusiasm for the industry was cultivated at Columbia. “It’s what I carry from my college career into my life now.”
Shah grew up in Chicago and chose Columbia for its reputation for hands-on training. “You could be an entrepreneur and be in school,” says Shah. “It was the best choice I could have made.”
Collaboration is Key
At Columbia, Shah built on her fashion skills and experience. Her favorite professor, Barbara Samuels, taught a class that teamed photography, fashion design and fashion business students to produce photo shoots. “It was really cool because you worked with people from different departments,” Shah says. “Collaboration is key. That’s what it’s like in the real world.”
During her junior year, Shah interned at the corporate headquarters of Valentino in New York, working with the accessories team. “I fell in love with the wholesale business the minute I walked into that office,” she says. “I felt really lucky to be working with such amazing people who were making such beautiful things.”
After graduating in 2008, Shah moved to New York City to join the corporate accessories team at Valentino. Two years later, she moved to Mumbai to work at Vogue India on the editorial team for fashion features and the beauty team. She began freelancing for the legendary brand Yves Saint Laurent, now called simply Saint Laurent Paris, in 2011, and moved to New York for her current job later that year.
The Fast Pace of Fashion
As a wholesaler, Shah works with buyers from department stores including Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus, as well as boutiques like A’ Maree’s in Newport Beach, Calif., and Chicago’s Blake. Every store’s needs and expectations are different. One day, Shah might work on styling Barneys’ online presence. The next, she might travel to Paris with her team for a runway show followed by briefings and market campaign development. “My day is always changing. No job is too little for me,” she says. “What keeps me motivated is how often fashion changes.”
Adapted from DEMO magazine, issue 20