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Alumni Q&A: Alyssa Coscarelli ('15)

by Yusra Siddiqui ('20)

Amidst the crazy wave of girls in the city’s newest place to be, Chillhouse, I had a chance to sit down and chat with Alyssa Coscarelli a 2015 LIM College alumna, current Fashion Market Editor for Refinery29, and the sweetest #GirlBoss you’ll ever meet.

Alyssa, Lauren Caruso, and founder of Chillhouse Cyndi Ramirez came together to host a clothing drive at the new beloved coffee chill spot (with items from their wardrobe that I’m so jealous of), to benefit Planned Parenthood, which resulted in raising $2,000 for the organization, in just two hours. (Yes, TWO hours!)

Introduce Yourself!

My name is Alyssa. I’m a Fashion Market Editor at Refinery29 and I also do my own Instagram projects on the side. I currently live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Growing up, I moved around a lot so I never know what to tell people when they ask me where I’m from. I moved around with my family between the suburbs of Georgia and Florida and I eventually moved to New York for college. I like how I moved around growing up because it made me adaptable and I enjoy meeting new people!

Fashion, especially recently, has started to mix with the political climate. Sometimes I wonder as a fashion student if I can truly make a difference. As someone who is already in the industry, do you believe fashion can make a difference and empower?

I think it definitely can, from what you choose to wear to show your beliefs, to do something like this event (clothing drive.) In my role in the industry, I get a lot of free stuff, to be honest, and sometimes I feel gross and wonder, why am I buried in stuff all the time? It’s such a waste, I don’t need all of this. That’s why I started to think about what I can do with all my extra stuff for a good cause. We started doing these sales and donating all the proceeds — this is actually the second one. Fashion can be frivolous, but I think at the end of the day there are ways to make the worlds of fashion and politics collide. We’re not saving lives per se, but people who care about fashion can care just as much about politics and bettering the world.  

Do you plan on merging activism with your career? How are you currently using your platform for good?

Yes, I want to give back in any way I can. I want to have more of these kinds of events and eventually have them grow. One way that I use my platform for good day-to-day is promoting small brands that are just starting out, and sending traffic to these brands and helping them grow. For example, there’ll be a small brand that I’ll talk about in an article and they’ll message me telling them the story made them sell out, and they were shocked. That really touches me, because it shows what I’m doing is affecting people and affecting small businesses.

I’m 18, so if you were to go back in time and give a piece of advice to your 18-year-old self, what would it be?

It would be to realize that you can’t plan everything out. I think at that age, especially when you’re ambitious, you want everything to go according to plan. When I walked across that graduation stage, I didn’t even know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be in fashion, but I wasn’t sure how. A Refinery29 internship happened and it carved my path, but I didn’t really plan for it. I couldn’t have known four years ago where I was going to be today. It’s great to be a planner, but it’s important to realize that there’s a path that will carve its way for you and you don’t know where you’ll be in four years, and that’s okay.

You graduated from LIM in 2015, which was not too long ago. What is something new you learned about yourself, and about life, since you graduated?

So much has happened in the last two years. I learned that it’s okay to say no, and I’m still learning. I wish I could do it all, I want to say yes to everything and to every project that comes up. At the end of the day, you should do what’s best for you, and sometimes that’s turning something down and taking a night for yourself to recharge. Always listen to your gut, because your gut’s always right. I’m moving out of my current apartment soon, and I knew in my gut when I first moved in that it wasn’t where I was meant to be, but ran with it because of circumstances. Now, moving out, it’s crazy to me that my gut was right. You know yourself better than you think!