Meaghan Daly

New York state of mind

Full-time college student and full-time entrepreneur – Brandywine senior Meaghan Daly is building her fashion design business from the ground up and recently showcased her clothing designs at New York Fashion Week.

By: Michael McDade

While most college students spend their downtime recovering from late-night study sessions, lengthy class lectures, and demanding exams, Penn State Brandywine communication arts and sciences major Meaghan Daly is devoting her spare time to her startup fashion design brand, Meaghan Paige, and has a lot to show for her efforts.

Meaghan Daly

Meaghan Daly landed an internship in the garment district of Manhattan with designer Rachel Antonoff.

Image: Meaghan Daly

Last December between the fall and spring semesters, Daly landed an internship in the garment district of Manhattan with designer Rachel Antonoff that put her on an exciting path to success in the fashion design industry.

“I don't ever remember being so excited, nervous, and eager,” Daly said. “I immediately fell in love with the process of designing after my first day of interning.”

Even though her internship only lasted a week, Daly took over several office tasks and acted as an assistant to Antonoff, all the while getting a detailed look at what it takes to own and operate a business. She performed so well she was invited back to work with Antonoff in February 2015 during New York Fashion Week and for an entire month this summer.

“I learned firsthand about the behind the scenes tasks that take place to make fashion week come together,” she said. “The internship definitely gave me more insight. I really got to learn about the business side of clothing design. It was the best experience I have ever had.” 

It wasn’t until this past September’s New York Fashion Week that Daly got her big break and was asked to showcase her clothing designs at The Set NYC, a Manhattan-based event company that provides venue space for up and coming designers and artists. Four of her original designs were featured during the show.

“I learned firsthand about the behind the scenes tasks that take place to make fashion week come together.” -- Meaghan Daly

“Seeing my clothing designs on a model at a New York Fashion Week event was a proud moment for me,” Daly said. “It took me months to put it all together, so at the end of the day it was a big relief. Having this experience on my résumé definitely gives me more credibility in the industry and will help grow my business and professional network.”

Daly’s good friend and Penn State Brandywine senior Ana Elmasllari served as a model in Daly’s show and gave valuable feedback on her clothing designs. A photographer, Elmasllari will also help Daly by photographing her clothes on other models.

 Ana Elmasllari

Brandywine senior Ana Elmasllari served as a model during Daly’s fashion show.

Image: Meaghan Daly

“I never would have imagined I'd actually model during fashion week in New York City,” Elmasllari said. “It was an unforgettable experience.”

When Daly isn’t working to grow her business, she keeps busy at Brandywine with a seven-course schedule. She credits the communication arts and sciences program for helping her become an extremely effective communicator, which has proved to be a valuable skill when it comes to being an entrepreneur. Daly is also set to travel to Paris with Penn State Brandywine Global Programs this fall, where she hopes to find inspiration for future clothing designs.

So where did this passion for clothing design ordinate?

“I lost a great aunt of mine who enjoyed sewing and left behind hundreds of bobbins, pins, threads, and buttons,” Daly said. “A few weeks after her death, I gathered the supplies she left behind and started sewing my own clothes. I barely knew what I was doing, but I immediately fell in love with the process and began sewing as much as I could.”

Since New York Fashion Week, Daly’s business has grown significantly. She currently sells her clothing through e-commerce channels, such as Etsy, and is now working with business owners to have her designs carried in local boutiques and shops. She’s even in contact with a United Kingdom-based manufacturing company.

"Having this experience on my résumé definitely gives me more credibility in the industry and will help grow my business and professional network.” -- Meaghan Daly

“It’s definitely been a challenge, but well worth it,” she said. “This has been a very rewarding experience and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. I only see positive things ahead of me.”