Interview of Wassim Saliba (Class of 2011)
What was your journey before coming to ISEM? Did you always know you wanted to work in fashion?
After my graduation in the school for hotels in Lausanne, I did different internships in this domain and I quickly realized that it did not suit me. So I decided to change the direction and to move to Paris and pursue my studies. Many people had already told me about ISEM but it was the presentation on the website about the postgraduate program for a year in the fashion business that definitely convinced me.
People cannot qualify me as a fashion obsessed but I did grow up in a universe that made me become sensible to it. My father loved dressing well and we were younger, my sister and I enjoyed cutting out our mother’s fashion magazines and make collages and to pretend to have our own couture house.
As I arrived to Paris, I had no intention in staying but I fell in love with the city and today I do not see myself leaving anywhere else.
Let’s talk about your schooling in ISEM. What kind of student were you? What are your best (or worst) memories?
We cannot say that I was the perfect student. But the postgraduate program suited me perfectly. The theory aspect is studied during 6 months, the days well compacted and so we do not see the day pass by.
I only keep the great memories of ISEM and I met a lot of people coming from all around the country and with whom I spent the best journey in Paris that any students can live. The worst memories, I have some and I laugh at them now thinking about it.
According to you, what is the specialty of the postgraduate programming that you were part of? What did it bring to you?
According me, it’s before anything the mix of cultures that makes this program unforgettable! The apprenticeship was split in separate timing : theory and practical and I find that the school network is also another important aspect.
I applied for an internship at KCD through Marion Dufour Lahore and her classes (which I loved): for the final project with my team, we wished to work on Victoria Secret Show in Paris and so she recommended KCD as agency press relation where my curiosity to get to know more and to apply grew. After two interviews, I got my real first internship as a assistant for the press at KCD. By the way, my trainer during the internship is today my associate. Without this program I would of never been where I am today!
Tell us about your professional journey after ISEM and your tasks and responsibilities...
KCD was like a school to me, and the best school. My journey wouldn’t have been the same without this experience. From the 1st day I was greeted to the family and had the opportunity to work with a great team. For 4 years, I evolved in collaborating with Balmain, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Marc Jacobs men and many more. Even as an intern I had responsibilities and was a true press officer assistant. As time passed, I grew with the brands that I was representing and had the chance to have direct links with artistic directors of these houses.
During the fashion week we barely sleep. We are in the office for a whole month, including the weekends and everyone is implied to the whole runway and events managed by agencies and season after season the responsibilities multiplies. After 4 years, I was able to manage a runway from A to Z in a very independent way and making me grow and making me want to fly with my own wings.
What are the qualities needed for the position you have now?
Like I always said, we do not save people’s lives, and the press office is not that complicated itself. You have to know to show your patience, be organized and as well as passionate and especially keep a smile in all circumstances. It’s the relational aspect that is so important. Have a good team spirit with the teams we are working with, always satisfy the customers and to build a solid journalist network. It’s a world that moves a lot and always so you have to forge your position and make it so that you only leave a positive image to the different interlocutors.