Five Fashionable Alumnus Return to UAlbany

Published on Oct. 9, 2012

By. Casey So Hyeun Cho

Attending From UAlbany to the Runway are, from left, Evan Ross ('92), Latisha Daring ('96), Elizabeth Ukpe ('07), Steve Leibow ('91) and Thomas Ott ('88).Photo by Casey So Hyeun Cho

Attending From UAlbany to the Runway are, from left, Evan Ross (’92), Latisha Daring (’96), Elizabeth Ukpe (’07), Steve Leibow (’91) and Thomas Ott (’88).
                                                 Photo by Casey So Hyeun Cho

The Alumni Association held an alumni reception “From UAlbany to the Runway” featuring five graduates currently working in the fashion industry. A room full of students and faculty joined Thomas Ott, Steve Leibow, Elizabeth Ukpe, Latisha Daring and Evan Ross in the Standish Room on Oct. 4.

The session began with greetings and an introduction of each speaker. Ott, Class of ’88, is Vice President of Men’s Clothing at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Leibow, Class of ’91, is Senior Vice President of Planning at Phillips- Van Heusen.

Ukpe, Class of ’07, is a Merchandising Manager at Moda Operandi. She had some experience at Vogue as an intern.

Daring, Class of ’96, is the owner of Ashtyn LLC and Executive Sales Manager at Bloomingdales. She has worked incredibly hard to reach her current standing as owner of her own shop.

Finally, Ross, Class of ’92, is a co-founder of

Ott, led the first question and answer session and the second part was open to the audience. Each panel shared what they had experienced in the fashion field and gave advice for students who want to pursue their career in fashion. This included designers, retail mangers and owners.

“Every day is different,” Ott said. “This is what drives me everyday working in the fashion retail business.”

Ross emphasized that any courses students take will help them to be well rounded and informed for a future fashion career.

Along with Ross’ point, Leibow said that being well versed in Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint is a “plus point” on their resume. He also encouraged the students to find something that they are passionate about, especially since the fashion world is tough place to survive in.

“Maintain good relationships and stay humble,” Ukpe advised the audience “Learn how to work together collaboratively in groups. Inspiring your teammate is another key to succeed.”

“Don’t be afraid to try to do something different.” Daring said, “What’s the worst thing that could happen? You fail and get back up.”

Other than keys to success in the fashion industry, the panels shared tips on how to spend the remaining school year wisely. They gave career advice in relation to internship experience, networking skills, interviewing skills and building an impressive resume.

Students got a chance to talk to the panels one on one after the discussion. The graduates handed their business cards and further advice to the ones who pursued more information.

“As a freshman, I am still trying to figure out what to do,” A uAlbany student Dalia Shapiro said. “The fact that they all graduated from UAlbany makes me proud to be here.”

Students wishing to attend upcoming alumni receptions or networking events may visit the Alumni Association’s website to find more information.