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 πŸ™‚
– 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 πŸ˜›

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.


A Billion Dollars for $35

I went to the famous Billion Dollar Babes sample sale yesterday, and as expected, everything seemed like a billion dollars (still interning for free, keep in mind). But as the rightly self-proclaimed guru of “buy cheap, look expensive,” I found a Stella inspired light weight cotton cardigan.

  • Label: Park Vogel
  • Retail: $94
  • Sale: $35

Am I awesome or what?

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.


“As you know in fashion, one day in you’re in, the next you’re out,” says Heidi Klum on every episode of the uber successful Project Runway. But that statement hardly prevents designers from chasing dreams of becoming the next big fashion star.

Production for the fifth season is starting, and auditions for the next top designer took place from Saturday April 5th to Monday, April 7th. I caught up with Project Runway hopefuls auf the catwalk, just moments before they were escorted into the W Hotel in Times Square for Season 5 auditions. Here are some designers who we just might get a chance to see more of on TV. Will they make it to become Heidi’s catwalk kill? You be the judge.

Hopeful #1: JUAN COLON

Juan’s a designer from Peurto Rico who designs for REAL women: pregnant, curvy, whatever their size may be (and even for their beloved pooches). He describes his style as classic. And as we can tell, he sure is! The two piece ruffle blouse and highly detailed black pants are stylish in their own right, though I’d suggest to wear them separately. Juan’s not a stranger to Runway. No, siree! Last season he was the first in line at the Miami auditions, got there at 4:30am. I joked about how he probably has strategized coming at a better time. Being the sacrificial audition’s not the best way to go… Good luck this 2nd time around!

Hopeful #2:

Demetrius here is all about the full stylized look. β€œI zoom into the style, and magnify it!” It’s no wonder, since he’s a former fashion stylist. If you could only see his shoes, which were made from these wonderfully ombre croc skin. This easy-going Atlanta, GA designer reminds me of Season 3 favourite Michael Knight. But when asked who his fave from that season was, and without hesitating, he said Laura. (She was the mother of 5? 6? 7? who went a little crazy on the beadwork on all her dresses). Not my cup of tea, but cheers to a world of different perspectives!

Hopeful #3: IVY H.

Forget getting inspired by someone else’s visions of what a woman should wear! Ivy H doesn’t look toward vintage clothing for ideas, instead she’s Inspired by art & nature. And sure enough, she incorporates art into her clothing as well. The tree inspired blouse she’s holding up is all hand painted. She’s got street cred too, having interned at Donna Karan (I’m jealous!) and now working on her eponymous label. For more information, be sure to check out her website when it officially launches. I’ll keep you posted!

MAKE IT WORK, Juan, Demetrius & Ivy!

Hugs, MIR

* Please excuse my lack of computer skills… Photos were taken in upright position but I have no idea how to get them to show that way. Help, anyone?

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to become.”

– Diane von Furstenburg

Watch this Amex ad collaboration with Lady DVF. It will make you think twice about marketing.

1) Maybe art and commerce and fashion go hand in hand

2) How far marketers are going for the emotional quotient in ads nowadays (or) Do the heartstrings really sign up more Amex cardholders?