One look at Jill De Pol, and it’s obvious her sartorial style is influenced by her creative bent. The Clemson University senior, an architecture major with a minor in art, juggled two internships this summer, real business experiences that are helping her refine her career goals and manage her expectations. De Pol, who studied architecture in Barcelona for a semester, surrounded by Antonio Gaudi’s work in the city, is starting to think that the rigors of the profession may not be right for her. Whatever she decides, the hours she’s logged with no pay or low pay will help her a make an informed decision when the time comes.
WWD: Where does your style inspiration come from?
Jill De Pol: My style comes only from myself. I like to dress up and put cute outfits together. I love art and design. Clothes are a creative outlet for me.
WWD: Where were your two internships?
J.D.: Frank & Marcotullio Design Associates in Manhattan, and Interiors by Sabrina on Staten Island. I worked in the resource library at Frank & Marcotullio. It’s the fun part of the projects. That’s where all the finishes and colors are. I love to do things that are detailed and detail-oriented.
WWD: What about the other one?
J.D.: At Interiors by Serena, which was opening a new store, I helped create a web site, logo and business cards.
WWD: What kind of outfits did you wear to work?
J.D.: I wore work-appropriate things like black jeans or patterned jeans from Topshop with a simple blouse or flowy top. I like to wear “no name” clothing, pieces you don’t see everywhere. I like to stand out; normal is boring.
WWD: What does a Jill De Pol interview outfit look like?
J.D.: On my initial interviews, I wore clear glasses. I think they help give me a look that’s memorable and sets me apart from other applicants. I also carry a bright yellow tote bag. I’m never afraid to wear color. Yellow is a power color. Being in the design industry allows you to play around.
WWD: What are some of your go-to brands?
J.D.: I wear funky jackets from Free People and Anthropologie, those are two of my favorite brands. I’ll pair the jackets with more basic and simple pieces.
WWD: Describe a recent purchase that’s been a success.
J.D.: A pair of red-pointed Rothys shoes appealed to my inner architect, I guess it’s the molded shape. They’re knitted to the shape of your foot. I love the way they’re sewn around a model of a foot.
WWD: Do you wear any jewelry?
J.D.: I always wear my Cluse watch, four or five beaded bracelets that are a little sparkly. I usually wear stud earrings or funky hexagonal hoops. Some of my jewelry is from Barcelona. I studied there for a semester.
WWD: Barcelona is an architectural hot bed.
J.D.: I was enrolled in BAC, Barcelona Architecture Center, in the Eixample district. My final project, a design for the Barcelona coast, was an elevated public park that blends the diverse population passing through the port of Barcelona with a cloudlike exterior formed with triangular tessellations.
WWD: It sounds beautiful — and complicated.
J.D.: The lower half of the cloud is composed of two massive pools. Waterfalls, water art sculptures, fountains and other interactive pools are on the upper platform. I mixed in grass pyramids and green zones. The exterior is covered in translucent cladding that lets light and sun to fill the cloud and gift it with reflective qualities.
WWD: Do you have a uniform for going to class?
J.D.: I dress for comfort. That is, unless I have an architecture critique for a big project scheduled. Going to school in the South, I avoid wearing dresses and anything too girly because it’s a man’s industry and I want to be taken seriously and seen as an equal. By default, the reviewers are often men from the South, so I feel the need to compensate by dressing more conservatively, in suits or pants and jackets.
WWD: Will you pursue an architecture career after you graduate, or have you become more interested in art, your minor?
J.D.: I love architecture and learning about it, but I think I’d be better at something else. It takes so many years to get an architecture license. I’d be sitting behind a desk waiting.
WWD: So, what are you thinking?
J.D.: I’d choose another design field that utilizes the skills and problem-solving mind-set that comes with the architecture discipline. If I stay with architecture, I’d do commercial work over residential, because in whatever I do, I want to affect people. I want to make a difference in, and improve the lives of others, and commercial work provides that audience.
WWD: Do you have any favorite architects?
J.D.: I like BIG, or Bjarke Ingels Group, and Santiago Calatrava. I’d like to design for Karim Rashid or Nike. I think I’d also like working for Microsoft or designing footwear. I’m thinking of interning first to improve my chances and getting a feel for the companies.