Student Spotlight: Chloe Raught

Tell us about yourself.
I’m from Sewickley, PA, a small and quiet area just outside of Downtown Pittsburgh. My love for fashion and the apparel industry led me to Kent State University, where I studied Fashion Merchandising and Fashion Media. Although I loved Kent, I also took time during my undergrad experience to study in other locations, such as Italy and New York City. In New York, I had the incredible opportunity to intern with Bobbie Thomas, an affiliate of NBC’s “Today Show,” and I’ve worked and interned at various other locations in Pittsburgh, as well.

Through my undergrad studies, I learned a lot more of the truth about the fashion industry. I’ve always been fascinated by the industry, but the glaring and frequently toxic imperfections of the whole industry became too much for me to comfortably ignore, especially as I moved toward a career centered in it. While sustainability is something very “up and coming” in the world of fashion, my undergrad education left me feeling like I needed more. And that’s what led me to Duquesne!  From growing up in Pittsburgh, I was always very familiar with the university and how renowned it is. My ultimate goal going into this program is to prepare myself for a career that involves more ethical, environmentally-conscious fashion, especially in a time when the industry so desperately needs to be pushed in that direction. Overall, I look forward to exploring all angles and perspectives related to sustainability while working with my classmates in preparing a better future.

What is one of your favorite things to do in Pittsburgh?
My very favorite thing to do in Pittsburgh is watch hockey! Of course being inside PPG Paints Arena for a game is most ideal, but I also absolutely love being outside on warm summer nights, watching playoff games on the Big Screen! I’m also an art nerd, so I love spending time at our museums. One of my favorite artists happens to be Andy Warhol, and I am always so grateful that we have such an incredible museum dedicated to him right here in our city.

What skill would you like to master?
I have become somewhat obsessed with cooking in the last few years. It’s something that has always been deeply important to me in the way I was raised, and what I love more than anything is how meals bring family and friends together! I’ve learned a lot about cooking from watching my grandmothers and parents in the kitchen over the years, but I know I still have a long way to go. I’m also vegetarian, so I am constantly pushing myself to recreate my favorite recipes from childhood, travel, etc., but without meat. I’ve been successful in the past, and I’m always looking for new things to try! 

What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years?
In the next ten years, I truly cannot wait to begin my career. The last five years of my life at this point have been spent preparing for working in the fashion industry, and I truly cannot wait to finally work at what I have always been so passionate about. There are so many areas of the fashion world that fascinate me, but my biggest interest lies in trend forecasting. The dorkiest thing about me might be how excited I get over color palettes and textiles, and it is truly a lifelong dream of mine to investigate those things (among many others) and determine what will be “up and coming” in the next seasons of fashion. This is also a perfect way to merge sustainability with fashion, in my opinion, as so much of what makes a garment “sustainable” is what it is made of and how it’s produced. I could go on and on about the areas in which clothing can become cleaner, more ethical, and longer lasting, but in a nutshell, that is what I sincerely cannot wait to dive into in the upcoming years!

Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
Lucca, Italy. It’s considered the “hidden gem” of Tuscany. My first experience there happened as a last-minute stop on the way from Pisa to Florence. Walking out of the train station, the area is hardly anything special to look at, and in fact, the only thing to look at is a really large and unattractive stone wall. Once you walk through the wall, though, everything changes. Lucca is basically everything that is magical about Tuscany—quaint, colorful buildings, small cafes and shops, a beautiful cathedral in the center of town, and restaurants that serve pasta sent from heaven. The town is an old fort, so the big stone wall is actually the structure of the fort. While living in Florence, I visited Lucca about seven times, and each time I experienced something new. I learned that art festivals and conventions were regular things there, and one time I realized that I was there the same day as the Rolling Stones. Lucca is a tiny, quiet town, but the personality inside is absolutely incredible.

Who inspires you to be better?
I love to observe and learn from people around me, so I’m constantly gaining inspiration from friends, peers, and random people on the street everywhere I go. Whether it’s in terms of style, hobbies, behavior, or practices, I usually pick up on a lot just from interacting with others. I also look to social media for a lot of the same reasons. One of the things I’m really working on becoming “better” at currently is cutting back on fast fashion and focusing more on sustainable fashion. As a consumer, it’s a difficult thing to do, so I follow the advice of a lot of more experienced people on social media. My favorite person to follow is Marta Canga, a vegan fashion and lifestyle blogger who focuses entirely on eco-friendly, ethically-sourced, long-lasting fashion and beauty!