This past summer, senior theology major Sarah Donovan experienced the internship of a lifetime. Donovan worked for the John Lewis Department Store in London, England, as a fashion and beauty intern, contributing to both the buying and the public relations programs.
For the buyers, Donovan observed the entire cycle of how a garment is put into stores: from sketching on paper, to picking out fabric samples from India and China, to finally making sure the garment fits the specifications of the designer and guaranteeing it is ready to be ordered in bulk.
Donovan even organized a Beauty Breakfast editors of prominent fashion magazines such as Glamour and Vogue. She also attended and assisted at the Christmas Press Show, where editors and bloggers could view the clothing line before it hit the shelves, and she was able to attend the London Collection for Men’s Fashion Week — meeting designers and assisting buyers for the weekend.
Ever since her semester in Rome with the University of Dallas in the fall of 2013, Donovan has been alert for an opportunity to return to Europe. Given her passion for fashion, this incredible opportunity with the London department store proved even more fruitful than she could have imagined.
“The theology major will not assumedly work in the fashion world, but I was fortunate to be educated in the truths of the church, and I am confident that I will use my degree for the rest of my life — whether that is directly, or in fashion; there are ways I will use it,” Donovan stated.
“There was never a doubt in my mind that Sarah would get this internship and she would wow everyone around her,” said Donovan’s good friend, senior business major Elizabeth Spencer. “She is so dedicated and hardworking, and has the best clothes. There is no disputing that she was the perfect person for the job.”
Donovan prayed and hoped that the experience would not be deprived of the Catholic faith. “In preparing for it, I didn’t want the fashion world to be absent of faith,” Donovan recollected.
Entering the high fashion world with the will to keep her faith alive, Donovan discovered that her will to remain true to her faith was really all she needed.
Donovan acknowledged that there were moments when she felt uncomfortable in the industry due to the minority of Christians, but said that this discomfort should not be a reason to neglect evangelization.
“You are Catholic and you are proud to be Catholic and that takes care of any discomfort,” Donovan said. “We all can learn that no matter what career we are a part of or what we decide to invest our time in, we can still be examples of Christ and touch people, and plant seeds of faith in ways that are unexpected. It can be done whether it is in fashion, whether you are an engineer or even a priest.”
Donovan’s whirlwind experience of London high fashion was evidence that the virtue you possess does not disappear because of a challenging environment or workspace, as long as you choose to live out your faith. As Donovan expressed, no matter what career a Christian may choose, “It is our job to be Catholic. 100 percent of the time.”