Get My Job: Spotlight on Fashion
In this Nexus series, Get My Job, we interview alumni and faculty from one of the University’s 160-plus undergraduate and graduate professional programs. The latest installment features David Sirkin, group president of Heritage Brands at PVH Corp., one of the largest apparel companies in the world. He discusses his career path, COVID-19, advice to students and more.
What was your major at Jefferson, then Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science?
I graduated in 1994 as a textile marketing and management major, with a minor in retail. I definitely thought having a specific major in our industry was critical to land a job in a challenging market at that time. The school always has had an amazing placement rate, and they supported me with securing my first job.
What was your career path to land in your current position?
It wasn’t a straight line. I started in textile sales at Milliken & Co, more as part of the supply chain, and after a few company changes, to Galey & Lord, then Velcorex SAIC.
I moved to the wholesale side of the business as a VP of sales at Randa Accessories and dealt directly with the retailers selling men’s ties. I finally moved to PVH once they purchased Superba Inc. neckwear. At that point, I added new skills, managing sales, planning, design, finance, marketing and logistics.
I’ve had many roles over my 13-year career at PVH, such as VP sales and merchandising, SVP of sales, merchandising and planning for men’s neckwear, president of the neckwear division as well as president of the dress shirt division, which I later consolidated and led as the president of the dress furnishings group. In my current role as group president of Heritage Brands, I manage the dress furnishings group, sportswear for Izod and Van Heusen brands and our own retail stores.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacts everyone and every area, from sales and planning to design and supply chain.
Please describe your core job responsibilities today?
My job is different every day, which keeps me thinking about new ways to improve our historic brands. My core responsibilities include sales, design, planning, marketing, finance, licensing and supply chain. Every day is a new conversation and a different challenge to solve.
What do you love most about your job?
The people. I enjoy everyone I work with. They’re all smart, passionate and have amazing work ethics. All they want to do is win, and every time we get a win, it makes me so proud to manage the team. Outside of work, it’s dealing with the students. I’m on Jefferson’s campus a few times a year, usually talking to faculty and students about the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund opportunities. The fact that my son is now a student at Jefferson is an added bonus to any campus visits. I couldn’t be prouder that he wanted to attend my alma mater as a pre-medical studies student.
Don’t be shy about approaching anyone. Ask questions. Be curious. Learn fast. Share your opinions, and don’t be a wallflower.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
The COVID-19 pandemic impacts everyone and every area, from sales and planning to design and supply chain. This is an unprecedented time for the world and our industry, and we will need to be more creative than ever. It certainly will be a historic event that will change how we work going forward.
What advice do you have for students considering entering this major or profession?
It’s an amazing and supportive industry. Everyone from coordinators to CEOs embrace the opportunity to train, mentor and support the next generation. Don’t be shy about approaching anyone. Ask questions. Be curious. Learn fast. Share your opinions, and don’t be a wallflower. The companies of today and tomorrow want people who add value and contribute in new and exciting ways. Have integrity, be passionate and love what you do.