Following the graduation of Creative Director Emma Ingenohl (‘21) in December, POLISHED Magazine spent little time in naming her replacement.
Sophomore fashion merchandising and management major Sydney Pesaturo was the easy choice. She has been on the POLISHED staff since her first year. First a stylist, then promoted to lead stylist, and finally trained under Ingenohl in the fall of 2021 to lead her to her new position.
Ingenohl first met Pesaturo as a co-worker in the Brennan Library. The two met one shift, and according to Ingenohl, “instantly got along and related to each other on multiple things.” When forming the friendship, one of the things the two related about was their love of fashion.
At the time, Ingenohl was the lead stylist for POLISHED, and encouraged an already interested Pesaturo to apply to be a stylist for the club. Junior fashion media and marketing major Josh Michna, who held the Creative Director position at the time, helped make the decision to bring Pesaturo on as a stylist in Fall 2020.
“Sydney was great in the interview,” said Michna. “She was very present on social media and really knew what was going on in terms of trends. I figured that she would help move POLISHED in the right direction, because she was a good blend of knowing what the people wanted and also pushing something that was new and exciting for POLISHED.”
POLISHED advisor and Professor of Fashion Lynn Blake said Pesaturo impressed her from the moment she joined the club. “Some students hop on to what I call my radar screen, I was like, ‘I gotta keep my eye on this one.’ The first time I met her, I felt like that. She just had a real poise and a real sophistication, but she was funky and creative.”
It’s “funky and creative” that Pesaturo strives to identify her brand “Sydpes” with; another qualification that helped earn her the position of Creative Director. She said when she was still experimenting with her style in high school, she would get bullied for the “crazy fits” she would wear; but this didn’t matter to her.
“That’s when I started my brand and really experimenting with my style and not caring what people thought about what I wear,” said Pesaturo. “[I would just style] whatever I wanted and however I wanted. That really helped me become a creative individual.”
Pesaturo is an enthusiast for upcycling. She not only focuses her brand’s ideals, but wants to continue advocating for fashion in general to turn to more sustainable methods. “I really care about the environment,” she said. “The people that live on our planet need to be more educated on sustainability and the harmful effects of fast fashion and the chemicals that come with synthetic fibers.”
Michna said Pesaturo’s passion for sustainability and upcycling was one of the reasons he thought she would excel with POLISHED. According to Michna, POLISHED used to focus more on a “traditional” sense of beauty, while in recent years the magazine has transitioned to a more youthful, trendy image. In his view, Pesaturo is the best person for the job to preserve this new identity.
“The fashion industry is moving that way, being more conscious about those things,” said Michna. “When you’re picking people to add to a team that are going to affect the POLISHED direction for next years, you want to pick people who are going to think about that, and Sydney would definitely have that in mind.”
Aside from sustainability, Pesaturo says she works to make her visions relatable when it comes to creating POLISHED each semester. “I try to relate the photoshoots and the clothing to real life and what we’re going through as a community and a fashion community.”
When it comes to this particular upcoming issue, Pesaturo couldn’t be tempted to share its vision or creation, but said the process of working on her first issue as Creative Director has been long and rewarding. The magazine is “looking really good, I can say that,” she said.
Over the next couple of years, Professor Blake hopes Pesaturo can give POLISHED a boost. She explained that over COVID-19, it was difficult to create the projects her team wanted to. “I’d love to see her really take it to the next step visually and find a little bit of a twist, a contemporary twist…and I think she’s the person to do it.”
Ingenohl has no doubt of what Pesaturo is capable of in POLISHED and following graduation. “I think she will go very very far in her career and life,” said Ingenohl. “She attracts great energy, she is good energy, and being young is the best part about it. She has so much room to grow. It’s crazy to see how she’s so young but… she’s already doing so many things that we all aspire to do and aspire to be.”
“She’s got all the tools and she’s only a sophomore. She’s just going to grow exponentially into a superstar,” said Blake.