In the past 4 months, I was in New York City interning at a high-end designer fashion firm. Here’s the honest account of what it was like to be in the ooh la la! glam world of fashion.

The fashion designer was the type to be featured in Vogue and all those trendy magazines. And yes, my experience was akin to the intern b#tch role you saw in The Devil Wears Prada. I was pretty much thrown into the fast-paced, catty, celebrity-calling-my-cell,

what-a-good-deal-got-this-bag-80%-off-for$2000 crazy f*CKing insane world of fashion. It wasn’t the easiest transition.

Fashion had always been a fantasyland dream for me. Seeing Alexander McQueen and Nicolas Ghesquiere’s creations were a form of pure sashaying, expensive clothes hanger art. And for the longest time I’d also dreamed of spending winter in New York. Never had I imagined being a part of the fashion scene though. Or at least I never saw how I could fit in. Being thrown into the crazy motherf*CKer city that is NY, I was faced with so many different options – from food to friends: street hot dog or world’s most expensive burger? Random strangers in West Village or flaky creatives who helped Heatherette launch their MAC cosmetics line? The city really will eat you alive if you don’t know your s#it, and yourself.

My story so far to friends & family in Vancouver has been one of “Yeah, it was great” … and that’s about it. But I’d been so blind and closed during those 4 months that I’m embarrassed at telling them all the opportunities I didn’t take. No, I didn’t try for Fashion PR. No, I didn’t attend any shows aside from the one during my internship. No, I didn’t even explore NY’s shopping because of many stupid reasons.

Looking for a paying job there was not a priority, but with the forces of family, it soon came to be. Looking into a work visa was gawdawful work, and a lot more disencouraging. Being Canadian felt like the most jipped citizenship in the world – we’re right above the US, but unless we’re soil scientists, we ain’t getting work without sponsorship. So I held this faulty belief that being Canadian was something to be shameful of. Little did I know that at the show during New York Fashion Week, I saw not one but TWO awesomely Canadian models come down the runway – Irina Lazareanu and Coco Rocha from RICHMOND, BC! (Check them out at But see what I mean? Close your eyes and the world is closes its doors.

Aside from the transitions, struggles, inner turmoils, loving & losing, this experience gave me a wake up slap-in-the-face call that Vancouver would be much too polite to unleash. I gave NY as much as I could, and in return I got a whole lot. And the stylish silver linings are…

– Meeting Vogue worthy designers
– Being in Diane Von Furstenburg’s studio
– Meeting Alexander Wang at Barneys New York
– Chatting to Jutta, a leather goods handbag designer & store owner in the Lower East Side about vegetarianism
– Conversing in Chelsea with Lingo owner about the living your life simply (she listens to CASSETTE TAPES for gawd’s sake!)
– Meeting the editor of Vogue Accessories at Henri Bendel
– Visiting… and REvisiting Barneys, Bergdorf, Saks, and Bloomingdales SO many freakkin times that I know exactly what designers are sold, on which floor, and with how much retail space
– Disputing a mispriced staple gun ($3!) for a charity trunk show
– Presenting a marketing report to the Sr Managing Director and Sales Director
– Being 5 feet away from Rihanna
– Surprising a Barneys sales associate with my random act of kindness (uh… I just asked him how he was doing, and he was geniunely touched)
– Wandering in the LES with my favourite New York girlfriend, popping into vintage chic stores while she and her sister waited patiently 🙂
– Being exposed to new retail concepts: carousel as centerpiece, knitted wall, ceiling high hangers, fluid dept store layout…
– finding Marc Jacobs for $5 at a thrift store
– running around with a fax machine, kleenex boxes, and stacks of papers in the pouring rain trying to hail a cab 😛

Anyway, to wrap up, fashion’s a b#tch, and New York’s a pirhana. But that’s hardly stopping me from venturing forth again; whatever doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger.


I doo!

I always have a tough time with spring jackets. As an extremely polar person, I don’t see the point in having a light jacket that doesn’t serve its function for much of the season. Today, though, as I’m mindlessly going through Barneys (again, this time for competitive pricing), I come across the real life version of this trench I’ve been eyeing for a while.

  • Designer: doo.ri
  • Retail: $1995
  • Retailer: Barneys New York

The coat is even cuter in person ❤

Update, Update

Heyyy guys… I haven’t posted in a while because I was running around in circles.

So I went to the two interviews I mentioned in the last post, and haven’t heard from them yet. It’s still early butttt I don’t think I got either. Not to worry, being questioned about your career in a professional manner often makes me reflect whether I’m going in the right direction.

I kept talking about marketing marketing marketing – market research, branding, e-marketing… things too operational and hands on for me to appreciate. Just now, in the official Matthew Williamson office (apt 10a…) I flipped on New York radio for the first time and listened to a community program discuss sustainability program initiatives. That got me SO EXCITED, way more than the fashion opportunities I’ve encountered in the past while. And that is to say I’ve been in some pretty amazing environments, including in the Diane von Furstenburg design studio in the Garment District, meeting Allegra Hicks at her Upper East Side retail store, and helping out with the charity trunk show party for the evening. This may come to a surprise, but I felt like I was doing “oh my god i hate my job” work.

I know this about myself. I know as an Aries, an ENTP, stubborn Ox, I can succeed in a variety of industries, as long as I’m interested. Technically, I can probably work in publishing, entertainment, a physics lab, so long as I’m in a pioneering role. The issue is double-edged: if I don’t see the big picture, this Ram becomes lost.

Without entirely dismissing fashion, things haven’t worked out lately because I’ve been surrounded by things too operational with no hope of doing bigger and better things. The biggest impact is being at MW. We’re in our infancy: scouting a flagship location, office space, and show room, while expanding to new multi-brand designer retailers… but I’m excluded from all that. All I’m here to do is this market research project.

Anyway, what I’m trying to get at is I’ve come to (re)discover my true passion and talent is to make BIG positive changes: seeing a seemingly unrealistic vision, getting others enthusiastic about it, and doing whatever it takes to make it come true. I’m an idealist at heart and that’s what drives me. We’re talking about the type of person who gets the biggest satisfaction from being called clever. Thinking back, my proudest achievements were all based on this philosophy; I build (or reconstruct) the foundation and leave it in the hands of people who will add their own perspective/style/values and keep improving it. Life is a collaborative effort.

And I’ve been doing this for the past 7 years… Templeton Sun Run team (named Renegades of Funk grace a Jason Bakas), the high school grad dance off at the Talent Show, the Commerce Snack Bar, Style and the City, BizzComm, Murder Mystery. These are all things that have become part of my identity that I’d enjoyed every excruciating moment conceptualizing and organizing because they’re solid ‘landmarks’ in which I added value to my schools.

After much rambling, I shall cease this shameless monologue. I would like to ask you guys for a favor though: if you know anyone who’s pioneering, entrepreneurially-minded, likes taking big risks to make big changes, would you be kind to let me know? I’d love to connect with like-minded people, share the ups and downs, and to solidify my current plans of leaving the operational to Dream Big.

Love & Hugs to all my f.r.i.e.n.d.s.

Moving Forward

The management at the design label I’m interning at basically told me there would be no way in hell I’d be hired after the internship. New North American branch, low resources… fair enough. So I’ve been battling it out with myself – why am I still working on this project for them?!

So in between these two weeks of working independently, I’ve applied to a few other places… and oh my gosh! I have two interviews this week. One at a new accessories firm, and the second at an established Contemporary designer. Both with great prospects of getting a (paying) job.

As much as I couldn’t stand my family/friends pushing me to “Get a real job!!!!!” I’ve gotta appreciate my thanks. This is another example smack in my face of going for what I want. If we don’t try at all, we won’t make mistakes, but we also won’t move forward from where we are. I’ve definitely come to live by this philosophy:

“As you have sown, so shall you reap” – Marcus T. Cicero

Chie Mihara = Fashion + Function

I’ve been seeing this Japanese designer’s latest collection in West Village, and I LOVE! They’ve got really great gladiator sandals which I couldn’t find the pictures of. They retail for about $300 but the best part is that the husband of this husband-wife designer team is a podiatrist. All the shoes are made for fashionable comfort! Cost benefit analysis: Anyway, check out Chie Mihara.

Compare those with the MBT Swiss Masaius physiological footwear I came across in the Upper East Side…

“Hello, my name is #14!”

You guys aren’t gonna believe what I did last week… I went for a round of speed-dating! So the deal is the ladies stay seated while the guys come around every 4 minutes. Get to know them, jot down their number, and awkwardly make comments about them when you hear the whistle blow. Here’s a rundown on some of the guys:

Omar #33: Asked me to name 2 things I wouldn’t tell the other guys. Expecting something sexual, much? He was so used-car salesman I probably should have told him something absurd like “I cut up my underwear when I get angry.”

Chris # 41: Worked at Club Monaco. Came in Club Monaco clothing. We talked about Club Monaco. During the break he sat at the barstool by himself.

Mankeet # 34: The Indian guy who has an Indian accent at Deutsche Bank. Sounded like he was there to ask for your hand in marriage. Um… no thanks, and please don’t come again.

Andrew # 39: First thing he said: “The weather is good.” This was a conversation 4 minutes too long.

JC # 42: Last thing he said: “I hope you choose me too.”

(* You can see Club Monaco guy on barstool in the 3rd pic!)

It was entertaining, to say the least. After about four conversations, I was a financial banker of Korean descent who got offended when they asked me whether I could speak Korean. I recommend it if you are bored hell out of your mind and need easy entertainment.

Yet, my night was only beginning. I walked up to a different group of people and introduced myself, thinking they were in the other speed-dating circle. Turns out they were having drinks for their friends’ Bon-Voyage-for-Global-Travels party and they kidnapped me for a round of late nite sushi. Cheers to New York randomness!