LAST POST ON THIS BLOG

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 http://www.businessoffashion.net/2007/08/toronto-supermo.html#more) 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.

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MAKE IT WORK!

“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?