At the spring Immaculata University Fashion Show, after the band stopped playing, the models had walked the runway, and the competitions were completed, Lina Castro, director of the fashion merchandising program, took time to recognize an unsung hero: Marisa Tafuro ’19, a fashion merchandising major. Castro wasn’t just thanking Tafuro for her hard work at the 2019 fashion show, but for her dedication, work ethic and the quiet leadership that Tafuro has embodied since her freshman year. The audience applauded with enthusiasm. It wouldn’t be the last time she was rewarded for her hard work.
As an intern at QVC, Tafuro’s managers were so impressed with her that once she graduated, they offered her a full-time position with the company that broadcasts to more than 350 million households in seven countries. Tafuro is the assistant on-air planner for beauty at QVC. Her duties include managing a set number of categories and scripting them for inclusion into the shows. She explains that she also manages the inventory – what products are arriving and going out. “You’re like managing your own little business,” she adds.
When Tafuro was researching colleges, she did not realize that she could major in fashion merchandising – she had only known about fashion design. The business side of the fashion industry piqued her interest. “It was a blend of everything I wanted,” Tafuro says.
“Immaculata’s focus on the business side of fashion prepared me for the real world of fashion so that when I began my professional career, it felt like there wasn’t a big jump,” states Tafuro. “My professors prepared me so well and taught me everything I needed to know to start my career.”
In addition to excelling in her academic career, Tafuro gained experience serving as director of the Immaculata Fashion Show and president of the Fashion Group She also completed four internships during her time at Immaculata, the last one at QVC.
“I was so excited to hear about Marisa’s job at QVC, if I can think of a single person who deserves this job, it is Marisa. Her self-discipline and the way that she took command and responsibility for her future are impressive,” states Castro. “She took all the opportunities we gave her at the Fashion Merchandising Department very seriously. As a result of her amazing performance on each of these opportunities, she got an amazing job.”
Tafuro was delighted with the opportunities that Immaculata offered while she was discovering what career path to pursue. “Through all of those experiences and with the small atmosphere of Immaculata….it really helps students. You can dive into anything that you want,” she emphasizes.
When Tafuro reflects back on her time at Immaculata, she has fond memories of the Fashion Show. “If you would have told me in my freshmen year that I would be planning fashion shows, I’d probably think you were crazy,” she says laughing. She notes that seeing the Great Hall packed with people [for the events] was a wonderful feeling that she will always remember.
However, fashion shows, by nature of their existence, are a harbinger to the future. Tafuro is dealing with the here and “right now.” According to Tafuro, the complications for retailers in the age of instant gratification will be a challenge for the fashion industry. How do you deliver products to the customer quickly and correctly? She believes that companies need to figure out how they can make every process of an order not only fast but also efficient.
“It’s great that it showed up three days early, but it’s not right,” Tafuro says mimicking customers’ sentiment.
Spoken like a true merchandiser who understands the business of fashion!