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Paula Vega Tagle

Meet Paula Vega Tagle – BSc in Retail Management alumna and Founding Partner and Head of Partnerships at lablaco and Circular Fashion Summit™. Originally from Mexico and with a background in art history, SSE played a big role for her ambition to make the fashion industry more sustainable.

Describe your role and what you do overall and on a day-to-day basis.

I have a multifaceted role. I work as an independent sustainability and innovation consultant for fashion and lifestyle brands, helping them achieve their circularity goals through technologies like blockchain, and enhancing their retail experiences with Web3 technologies like augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR).

In my day-to-day work as Head of Partnerships at lablaco, I am responsible for assisting brands in solving their circularity challenges or presenting new collections in a more engaging manner. I bridge the gap between clients' needs and our tech team, who then digitize their products, creating a digital twin tracked on the blockchain, effectively turning them into NFTs. These products are subsequently launched on our platform SPIN, which serves as a one-stop Web3 commerce enabler for fashion and culture.

In addition, I'm the co-founder and Creative Director at NAN DOB, a Scandinavian-inspired Mezcal brand set to launch in the Chinese market early next year.

What interested you in starting to work in the field/company/role you are currently in?

I have always been drawn to the fashion industry. My first "job" in high school was as a fashion writer at Nylon magazine in Mexico. Unfortunately, the fashion industry is one of the most polluting, and I felt compelled to make a positive impact. During my studies at SSE, I worked with a couple of sustainable fashion brands and gained firsthand insights into the industry's challenges. It became evident that technology was the natural intersection and tool to address some of the industry's most significant issues. My involvement in the tech society, where we organized a Fashion Tech week, further solidified this path. I interviewed companies for a magazine we self-published during that project, and interestingly, a few years later, I found myself working with these science-based materials companies, helping them connect with larger fashion brands.

Mezcal is another of my passions. While working on my thesis with a close friend from SSE, we decided to apply our knowledge from school to start a business based on a topic we were both passionate about and further incorporate my art background into the brand. Currently based in China, a major market for specialized spirits, being here has allowed me to refine the brand for Chinese consumers.

Why did you choose to study your subject area at SSE?

Originally from Mexico, I had a background in Art History and had worked with art in Sweden. I wanted to study something more practical to sharpen my skill set, which is when I discovered the Bachelor program in Retail Management. It offered a combination of theoretical and practical knowledge, allowing students to collaborate with some of Sweden's largest companies directly. While it wasn't an obvious choice for me, as I thought someone with an art background didn't quite fit into a business school, I soon realized that SSE welcomed students from diverse backgrounds and interests.

I also knew I wanted to continue my studies in Sweden due to its strong connection to sustainability, which aligned with my interests. As a foreign student, I was incredibly fortunate to receive a full scholarship, which I will always be grateful for, as SSE has profoundly shaped my life.

How did your education at SSE help guide you on the career journey you have embarked on?

SSE provided me with a holistic perspective on how businesses operate and how to manage them, covering everything from finance to marketing.

One of the most significant impacts was the sense of excellence that permeates the school and its education. I had exceptional teachers and highly knowledgeable classmates, for which I'm truly grateful. When I arrived in class, I was impressed by everyone's brilliance, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover how kind and supportive people were. People at SSE are eager to help you succeed, from your fellow classmates to the extensive SSE network.

What advice would you give to students considering applying to SSE?

Always maintain an open and critical mind, nurture your curiosity, and seize all available opportunities. Most importantly, carve your own path. Being in a demanding environment will help you build resilience, but it's equally important to stay true to your personal values and interests. This will help you connect the dots when choosing your future career path. Remember that even if people are heading in different directions, there is room for everyone and their future dreams.