Industrial Design Alum Pursues Passion for Shoes

Author: Mary Cecilia Mitsch

Anna Scott headshot

If there were ever a story about a young woman pursuing her passion, it is that of Anna Scott. Pardon the rhyming, but her passion is fashion.

At her parents’ request, Scott entered Notre Dame as an Architecture major, encouraged to keep her passion just a hobby. After a year, she switched to the Industrial Design program in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design.

Even without a fashion design focus, Notre Dame’s design program allowed her to put a fashion “spin” on her assignments, especially within the realm of accessory design. Industrial Design Associate Professor Paul Down was extremely supportive in helping Scott bulk up her portfolio with fashion-related designs—enough that she earned herself elite internships and experiences.

After graduating from Notre Dame in 2006, Scott interned for a summer at W magazine’s accessories department in New York City. She then started doing freelance work for W and its sister publication, Women’s Wear Daily, adding to her impressive portfolio. She submitted work in hopes of entering a year-long accessory design program at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Upon admittance, she simultaneously interned in the shoe design department at Michael Kors. Once she completed both the FIT program and the internship, things took off with Marc Jacobs.

Anna Scott black shoe

Marc Jacobs is one of the most recognized and influential contemporary fashion designers. A beloved star of the fashion world, he maintains his lines Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs, while acting as the creative director for Louis Vuitton. With so many duties to oversee, he needs a staff of highly innovative creatives who think on the same level as he does.

Scott fit the bill as an intern in the shoe design department for both Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs. Two weeks into the internship, the assistant shoe designer quit, and Scott was interviewed for the position. She got the job. Although she credits it to “being in the right place at the right time,” it is not hard to assume that great creative talent, an incredible work ethic and an outstanding portfolio were primary reasons for the job offer.

Anna Scott gold shoe

Out of the 300-plus people who work for the company, only four work in the shoe design department. They are headquartered in Manhattan but have an office in Paris and two shoe factories in Italy. Needless to say, travel is an essential part of her position. Spending most of her time in Italy, Scott is thankful that she minored in Italian at Notre Dame and studied abroad in Rome, opportunities afforded to her by her broad-based liberal arts education.

July marked the end of Scott’s second year at Marc Jacobs. She has no plans of slowing down and continues to travel between New York and Italy. She credits her success to pursuing opportunities of interest while at Notre Dame and by being collegial to everyone, so that her bosses wanted to see her succeed.

“Make it impossible for your bosses not to love you by your crazy Notre Dame work ethic and positive attitude,” she advises, “but not by being aggressive or pushy.”

Judging by Scott’s success in the fashion industry, especially as a young professional, her advice should be well-heeded. Her story demonstrates that following your passions can yield an incredibly successful career.

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