Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hip + Urban Girl of the Week: Jacinta Mulhern

I pretty much think Jacinta Mulhern has one of the best jobs in the city. She is the Women’s Designer Footwear Buyer for Holt Renfrew, Canada. Which means she gets paid to live and breathe shoes. Uh-huh. You read correctly. Jacinta gets first look on the runaways of Paris and Milan, she has her eye on the hottest shoe trends for each season to bring back to us, her shoe closet would make me give up chocolate and she is incredibly sweet and modest about the whole thing. Jacinta has every girl's dream job and worked her way up to get it. That's why she's our hip + urban girl of the week.

What made you want to go into the fashion industry?
I have always been obsessed with fashion and my parents encouraged me to pick a career doing something I love.

How did you work your way up to buyer?
While I was in university I started as an assistant in the personal shopping suites at Holt Renfrew’s Bloor Street store. It was a great opportunity because I was exposed to all commodities from gourmet, to accessories, to men’s and women’s ready to wear. I also had the opportunity to work with a variety of customers and to really learn their needs. That experience was a huge asset when I moved to the buying office.

Discussing product with Bloor Street team
What are some of the perks of being a buyer?
As with any job there are a number of perks. For me the best perk is definitely getting to see the product first whether in the showrooms or on the runways of Paris.

How big is your shoe and clothing collection and where do you store it all?
Not big enough. And neither is my closet.

What is your typical day like?
My days vary depending on whether I’m in market or not. But that is what keeps me interested. Just when I’m starting to get stir crazy in the office we start travelling again.

Where do you travel for work?  I travel to New York most frequently and to Paris twice a year.

What's Fashion Week like in Paris? 
It is very busy but still a lot of fun. As a buyer my schedule is jam packed with market appointments, fairs, business meetings, fashion shows and when I can stay awake long enough dinners and parties. The fashion is unbelievable. Everyone looks like they just walked out of a magazine. Often editors are wearing merchandise that just walked the runway the day before. 

Sitting across from Anna Wintour at McQueen's Fall 2011 Show
Do you get starstruck?
More so by “fashion” celebrities. The first time I saw Carine Roitfeld I was over the moon. She has the most amazing style. Seeing Karl Lagerfeld in person was pretty amazing too.

Valentino Garavani Shoes
Who are some of your favourite designers?
At the moment I really like Valentino Garavani. Everything is so feminine. As much as I also love forward collections such Givenchy and Balenciaga I am definitely a girly girl at heart. I am also a big fan of Canadian shoe designer Jerome C. Rousseau. He is so sweet and makes gorgeous shoes.

What did you study in University/College?  Would you have done anything differently?
I studied Fashion Communications at Ryerson in Toronto. The four year bachelor degree exposed me to every area of fashion including design, graphics, event planning, marketing, and buying. I also had the opportunity to spend a semester studying in Amsterdam at AMFI Amsterdam Fashion Institute. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I met my best friends at Ryerson.

Where are your favourite places to hang out in Toronto?
My friends and I usually go out on Queen West and Ossington. Personally my favourite nights are staying in and hosting a game night with all my favourite people.

Best places to shop in the city? Besides Holt's!
Besides Holt’s my favourite place to shop is my mom’s closet. Luckily for me I have two sisters and a stylish mom that are all around the same size.

Tell us about your neighbourhood and what you like best about it.
I live close to the St. Lawrence market. I love going there on Sundays looking for great vintage finds while my boyfriend rummages for records. I am also very excited about the addition of Sugar Beach. It is so nice to relax by the water on the weekend.

Where would you go on your dream vacation?
I am eager to book a vacation to Africa. My sister was there in February and I turn green with envy when she describes her trek up Mount Kilimanjaro. Since I get to travel to big cities with work I prefer to go off the beaten path on my personal vacations. It is also nice to take a breather from the fashion world once in a while.

What would you tell your 20 year-old self?
Keep working hard because it will definitely pay off.

Miu Miu Shoes
What life advice do you have for hip + urban girls out there trying to figure out what they want to do?
Intern. Interning is a great way to find out what really goes on behind the scenes. It will allow you to test out different career options especially as there are so many different paths you can take within the fashion industry. It will also expose you to people in the industry that can help you get ahead. 


Meet some of our other Hip + Urban Girls of the Week here!


  1. Great post! You guys asked all the questions I was wondering myself :) Jacinta seems like such a nice and down-to-earth girl...nice to see that the perception of the fashion industry (snobby, stuck-up people) can be proven wrong.

    - Anjali

  2. Thank you for this post! I've been wondering who is behind the shoe collections I see at Holt (sigh, shoe addict!), and now I know all that and more.. Wonderful post!