New York Fashion Week: Reflections From The Garment Closet
Our fashion week presentation was only a few days away and I had spent my Wednesday evening sweeping up the floor of the showroom. The next morning a major editor was coming in and everything had to be perfect. After I left the showroom, I had to go uptown to the garment district to pick up a piece that needed last minute alterations. Of course, it was "the piece" the editor was going to be seeing. By the time I went and came back downtown, it was nearly midnight and I was exhausted. I poured myself a bowl of cheerios and sat at my kitchen table to eat dinner with my cat.
If I could rewind my life to 5 years prior, my ideas of being 26 didn't remotely look anything like the reality I was currently a part of. Wasn’t I supposed to be a millionaire, own a house, be a CEO, have a husband and 7 kids by now? Back then my life read like a script, but now I was living and breathing an episode of Broad City.
Coincidentally, mid-Cheerio, a friend called to check in with how I was holding up. As we were talking she retorted “but isn’t the fashion industry all about shallow people who only care about themselves? Why do you even keep working this hard?” I felt like it was a fair statement to make, yes, the industry definitely has those aspects to it. Yes I was tired and yes I was still at the bottom of the totem pole. But what I have found in the past few years, that keeps calling me back, is the pivoting of the fashion industry and how it has grown to become part of a completely different dimension.
I replied with this little tale:
One of my greatest mentors once told me on a really hard work day that in this realm there are two types of people; the work horses & the show ponies. The work horses plan tirelessly behind the scenes, making everything function and perform. The show ponies trot around in their pretty clothes, emphasizing how cool they are and what events they are attending. This was such a crucial piece of advice for me, because in that moment I realized that there were actually three types of people in this industry. The third type of person is one that has worked hard enough to be able to balance the two previously mentioned fashion personas. Extremely intelligent people work in fashion. I’ve had two bosses that went to business school, studied finance, and received MBA’s. You have lead creatives that can build sets, have visions of abstract shoe embellishments, and dream of models moving like ballerinas across a page. They then manage to make it all appear in reality, honing in their messages to create a living brand. People who find the guts to stay in fashion, even after it has beaten and pushed them around, have to define what the medium means to them. That especially goes for those brave souls working at the bottom of this industry, because they’re most likely organizing stacks of hangers or steaming while they contemplate their role in the grand scheme of things. What continues to drive us all is simple. It's passion.
What fashion means to me is simple. In the fraction of a second, one piece of clothing can make a person go from feeling normal to extraordinary. I work in a field where art, business, and culture collide into this whirlwind of creation. Fashion is a feeling and a statement. That's an energy that I just can't shake. What drives me forward will keep me going, even if for right now that means dinner is a bowl of cheerios. The key is to remember true and honest passion will always lead you in the right direction. Remind yourself success isn’t linear. The roads will twist and turn into all different types of avenues. In the end all that matters is that you find your reason, never give up, and most importantly-trust your struggle.