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Ladue’s Luxury Fashion Scene: AUDRA. From the Perspective of a Summer Intern

Eliana Jenkins (LA '24)
August 26, 2022

Hand-delivering a bespoke suit jacket to a top woman of influence was beyond any task I had imagined myself undertaking, but even as a summer intern, I was routinely defying my expectations.

AUDRA had caught my attention early in the internship search process. As a sophomore interested in creative industries, fashion intrigued me as a driver of pop culture, a medium to inspire, and a medium to be inspired by. Plenty of new, innovative startups find a suitable growth hub within St. Louis, but I sought to find established startups rooted in experience, reputability, and community impact that extended past city borders. Just from a quick Google search, with seasonal VOGUE features and appearances in Forbes and Elle among other publications, AUDRA possessed an undeniable allure as a force to be reckoned with among luxury brands. However, beyond the startup’s luxury appeal, AUDRA’s brand values–empowering, fashionable, and functional designs for the dynamic and intellectual woman of influence–spoke to the type of women I surrounded myself with, and the type of woman I aspired to become.

Branding matters and choosing to spend my summer with AUDRA felt like an investment in my personal brand and post-grad career. Immediately after accepting a Marketing Intern position, in May, I was invited to AUDRA’s Spring/Summer 2022 Photoshoot for the upcoming collection to begin my duties as a brand storyteller, where I observed creative direction in action, met the models of the season, and learned how to understand the story the collection communicated, alive with bright hues, gorgeous guipure lace, and bold crepe material. One month later, on my first day, I took a seat in my office, situated in the beautiful workspace which was the Ladue Atelier–a vastly open, naturally lit multi-purpose space where clothing racks lined the showroom’s corners, replete with past season’s Best-Sellers and the current season’s New Arrivals.

Each morning began with a team meeting, followed by ample time to work on my allocated projects, from creating our weekly social media content calendar, managing our ecommerce platforms, refreshing our website, or my personal favorites, producing written copy, designing our digital collection campaigns each product drop, and presenting new marketing tactics every Wednesday. When I wasn’t busy strategizing the layout for AUDRA’s SS22 Lookbook and finding ways to revive the company blog, I’d make dry-cleaning runs and occasional deliveries for orders made by the community-revered women of Laude who swore by AUDRA.

Whether these women were faithful customers, or emerging, they weren’t just captivated by the detailed tailoring or luxurious Italian fabrics that composed each AUDRA garment, but designer Audra Noyes herself, and her commitment to providing only the best for each and every woman who waltzed in the Atelier. If you asked Audra, “Why St. Louis,” “the people,” would always be her signature answer, indicating that the women make her work in St. Louis worthwhile. Even when designing custom pieces for Edward Jones’ managing partner, and CEOs of national companies, she treated each member of her team down to the interns with the same level of respect and importance. Every shift, Audra was eager to offer seasoned advice, and under her mentorship I learned the ins and outs of brand creation, unparalleled customer service and comprehension, and daring to play by ones own rules in the fashion community. Navigating the luxury sector with ease, Audra’s radiant humility epitomizes the necessary qualities of any successful boss, leader, or entrepreneur hoping to create a legacy, regardless of the industry.

At AUDRA’s core stands a brand for women from the post-graduate classroom to the C-Suite, determined to define herself to her own accord. With two weeks left in my internship, I am extremely grateful for the summer I’ve had, and proud of the skills I’ve gained that Audra and the rest of her team were crucial in developing. Once a curious college sophomore, I’m now approaching my junior year with a goal to pursue marketing through my Global Studies lens, confident that with this summer’s experience and beyond, one day I’ll be able to request an AUDRA bespoke suit jacket hand-delivered to my doorstep.