In the Fashion Forward series, IFA Paris alumni give insight into how their studies at IFA Paris has paved the way to land their dream job. Today, we talk with Esha Oberoi, an MBA Fashion Business (now restructured and called MBA Fashion Management – Apparel Major) graduate. After realising she enjoyed styling for some of the big names in Bollywood, Esha came to Paris to reinvent herself and explore her creativity with IFA Paris’ MBA Fashion Business.
Get to know:
Name: Esha Oberoi
IFA Campus: Paris
Program studied: MBA Fashion Business
Instagram: @eshaoberoi & @ame_by_eo
Favourite course: Collection Development was definitely one of my favourite classes, largely because of our amazing professor Anastasios Sofroniou. Each class was filled with engaging discussions and debates, the assignments were very practical and fun. We spoke about everything under the sun and its correlation to fashion – pop culture, hip hop culture, history of luxury, and socio-political issues prevalent in the industry. For our final assignment, we were encouraged to create our own brand and give a pitch with an in-depth three-year financial plan.
Current project: Having recently moved on from brand management and marketing for luxury brands, I’m currently exploring digital marketing and driving the online business at Nykaa.com, India’s largest beauty e-commerce portal.
Fashion inspiration: That keeps evolving for me depending on my surroundings, the seasons, the people around me and so forth, however the early 2000’s and hip-hop have heavily influenced my personal style.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background – who you are, where you come from and what got you interested in studying fashion.
I did my undergrad in Business Administration with a major in marketing from Humber in Toronto. While I was always interested in fashion, it wasn’t as big as an industry in India then as it is now. Studying the principles of business and marketing really helped develop managerial skills at an early age and understanding the core areas of management including marketing, sales, operations, distribution, finance and statistics have helped me throughout my career.
Once I returned to India, I started my journey with CAA-KWAN as a Talent Agent which involved identifying, closing, and servicing branded deals for the pool of celebrities we managed. The company really nurtured my talent and nudged me in the right direction which eventually led me to Celebrity Styling, something that was more my forte. Having no previous background in fashion, I assisted one of the best stylists in Bollywood for six months before landing my first independent shoot. I continued to style for over five years and really enjoyed it for the most part. After doing it for many years, I felt the need to reinvent myself and my career because times had really changed, we lived in a fully digitised world and I wasn’t as inspired to continue working in Bollywood due to the lack of creative expression.
At the same time, I was holidaying in Europe and was actually in Paris for a few days when I felt the urge to come back and live in the city to further explore my creativity. I did my research, applied to the top five MBA schools in France and got into all of them. However, IFA Paris was always my first choice because of the fact that it was one of the only fashion schools catering to a global audience and offering an MBA programme in English.
What are you currently doing and what’s most exciting about it?
I’m currently working at Nykaa.com doing a bunch of interesting things! Firstly, this is a women-led company doing ground-breaking things in the space of beauty, grooming, fashion and tech. I started my stint here doing retail marketing for 40+ stores and soon transitioned into all things digital! I currently look after group level bank, fin-tech and other partnerships for all the businesses – Nykaa Man, Nykaa Beauty and Nykaa Fashion, along with handling Mainline and Performance Marketing, Celebrity Partnerships and Associations. The most exciting part about being a part of the Nykaa universe is the amazing pool of talent I work with, the challenging, albeit fun, projects I get to work on, and the sheer volume of the business we are building here.
What skills did you learn at IFA Paris that helps you in your current role?
I’ve always believed in collaboration over competition. However, working closely with large groups of people from different parts of the world and industries during my time at IFA Paris really helped cement this further in my value system.
Due to the nature of my current role, I work very closely with different departments and stakeholders of the firm. Navigating work in large groups, communicating effectively and crisis management is something I carry with me even in my current role.
What personal projects did you take up during your time with IFA Paris?
As I mentioned earlier, I had been a celebrity stylist for a very long time before I moved to Paris. However, working with celebrities and brands often comes with many limitations thus compromising your creative expression. I had sworn to give up styling forever, however I met some amazing artists during my time in Paris. Many of those collaborations resulted in me creating an online visual journal. While I still have a backlog of shoots left to be taken live from about two years ago, it is a true expression of where I was during my time at IFA Paris.
In FOUR words, describe your IFA Paris experience:
Exhilarating, life changing, challenging and nurturing.
What words of wisdom do you have for current and any future IFA Paris students?
Make the most of your time and resources during your stint with IFA Paris – network with fellow students, teachers, and creators. Regardless of how great your CV is, an internship from Paris is one for the books. I took every chance I got to do an internship during Paris Fashion Week and collaborate with talented artists for various shoots! Explore yourself and your creativity. And lastly, go out and meet new people! The city is full of talented artists and you could very well be meeting your next collaborator.
If you could choose three things to include for an IFA Paris “survival toolkit”, what would they be?
Lots of coffee, openness to learn from your peers, a collaborative mindset.
Esha’s top tips for: Paris
Cheap eats: I lived in the 5th arrondissement and swore by the crêpes at Rue Mouffetard
Place to hang out with friends: I probably went to Pont Marie by the Seine almost every day. Living by the Seine was one of the best decisions I made. Obermamma and Big Love are other favourites with great wine and pizzas.
Getting around: Metro and Velibs are great, however nothing beats walking in Paris!
Relaxing: I lived right between Jardin des Plantes and Jardin du Luxembourg and spent many evenings exercising and relaxing there.
Favourite word in local language: J’adore (I love)
For more information on this program, please visit: MBA Fashion Management – Apparel Major
If you are an alumn and would like to be featured, or know someone who should be, don’t hesitate to let us know at [email protected]