Guidance to Glamour: Former Alabama Elementary Education Major Now Interns for a Luxury Company

In this post on the Comms Women initiative, Morgan Butler, a student at the University of Alabama, College of Communication and Information Sciences, interviews Jamie Papazis, a production assistant at a luxury event planning company

The world of fashion is an ever-changing force that comes with many parts. Many view fashion as a means of social expression. Others feel as if fashion has set societal standards and gender norms. Behind the scenes, both luxury fashion and fast fashion brands alike need someone to portray a message that lures consumers in.

Jamie Papazis is a current senior at The University of Alabama studying apparel design. Alongside her studies, she is also a Production Assistant at a luxury event planning company, Rafanelli Events.

                                             Photo: Courtesy of Jamie Papazis

“My role in this position is […] to assist the Production team with anything they need,” Papazis said. “I work under the “Destination Events” hub, so I do a lot of work with fun places all over the world.”

According to the Rafanelli Events website, the luxury company is the premier event planning and design company in Boston and New York City. They specialize in event planning for client weddings, corporate, and more.

Papazis said she got this opportunity “purely by chance and networking.” She was invited to attend Vogue Forces of Fashion. She happened to be sitting next to Brian Rafanelli, the founder of Rafanelli Events, and Samantha Walker, the Senior Director of Destination Events.

After conversing with them, Rafanelli encouraged her to apply for their internship. Papazis was offered the internship three weeks later.

“I was the first intern they hired, and the only intern who they allowed to work remotely, so I must have done something right!” Papazis said.

Papazis said she was originally majoring in elementary education. Studying abroad in Paris, France her sophomore year, she met an editor of French Vogue.

The editor’s co-worker had COVID-19, so she had an extra ticket to a Haute Couture fashion show the next day. Papazis was invited and came along to watch.

“It was such an amazing experience that I will never forget,” Papazis said. “This completely changed what I thought I wanted to do with my life, and I switched my major two months later!”

Papazis said her favorite part about her internship has been learning about all the different sectors of the company. She is seeking to work in either event design or public relations. She said this opportunity has given her a “foot in the door,” so she knows what she wants to continue pursuing.

In the fast-paced world of fashion, individuals like Papazis play a vital role in bringing visions to life. Every company needs a spokesperson at the forefront. This is just the beginning of her journey working in fashion and public relations.

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