black fashion designer, education, Fashion, food

The Fashion Internship

I went from sweating out javascript to merchandising racks of frocks. It’s been quite a summer.

I got fired from my retail job at the end of May (just before finally coming off of probation and becoming a union member, so… it was either a major loss or just dodging a bullet). Luckily I had taken that Visual Merchandising class at F.I.T, so I decided to just start looking for those types of jobs instead of immediately settling for another no win position. I would go on Indeed every day, and send out resumes. The first thing I got was an internship at a fashion showroom.

Good place to start.

The first week was super sweaty and I kept forgetting that where the bathroom was (practically right in front of me ) and kept going to the bathroom at Port Authority at lunch. No, I can’t explain why I’m like this. My duties included updating excel sheets of sales leads, separating excel sheets by sales person and territory, and cold calling/emailing businesses in the territories to set up road visits or showroom appointments. I picked up lunches, steamed clothing and dropped off packages. I merchandised racks (from lightest to darkest. Try this in your closet, it looks so organized). I learned how to do social media cross referential searches for new clients. I found out about Joor, a site that helps you make linesheets for merchandise.

While I was technically working for free, interns got a $15 daily lunch budget, and I finally gave Sweetgreen a try. And Dig Inn. And my job was near legendary discount store Jack’s where they are selling Epic provisions for dirt cheap. And when I got home I started just making salads, like this easy steak salad (sear the steak while putting your greens and veggies in a cute bowl, make a vinaigrette, assemble).

Once I had to work with another intern to clear out a storage closet. We sorted through boxes of leftover merch from past clients, sorted through mannequin parts, re-merchandised racks of backstocked garments, organized shelves and closets, and took a field trip to the Goodwill in Tribeca to donate clothing and the suitcases that we brought them there in. This is how I ended up going to Milk Bar. Those were the two sweatiest, most miserable days of my summer… but there were benefits from it; my boss gave us a ton of free stuff.

I got this sweet little Erin Dana Prince Street minaudiere ($80), and these awesome Riuvadets sandals from Spain, that are sold at Opening Ceremony for $105. Yay! Because I love presents.

I made sure to dress up a little, and worked in my own upcycled items into my wardrobe. LOVE this Old Navy jersey jumpsuit with attached belt ($45). It’s a lifesaver on mornings when you spent too much time adjusting your wig and makeup.

The internship was supposed to last three months, but I stayed a month.I learned a lot and I also put on 5 pounds from sitting so much. I ended up getting a job, and also a visual merchandising job offer. I would have stayed longer, but they got a little Devil Wears Prada on me and I was getting annoyed. I would still recommend doing an internship, because it helps prepare you for the career you want and it helps give you fresh experience and new references if you’re trying to change career titles.

See you next time!

Faith/SEB Market BK

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How To Get and Survive an NYFW Job #work #career

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I almost didn’t do anything for New York Fashion Week. I got a few invitations, but my main plan was going to be working on paid writing assignments, maybe doing a trend roundup from the shows, and working on a Fall/Back To School beauty guide. The big event of my September was going to be working the NY primaries as a poll worker for the Board of Elections. Of course, the best laid plans often go awry and my plans changed abruptly upon seeing an ad for NYFW interns. I have experience in pretty much every aspect of fashion, and I’ve been writing/blogging since hitting the streets of New York so I applied and interviewed and got hired. Instead of chilling at home watching netflix and writing, I was working NYFW.

I’m not going to lie, it was the single most triumphant moment of my time in New York (aside from the day that I moved into my apartment). Although, this is like, my 4th industry internship in New York, this is the one that used everything I learned everywhere else.

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If you’re interested in doing a Fashion Week internship, understand that you’ll probably be the lowest person on the totem pole and own that. If you know that you’re really grandiose and want to be the boss of everyone, this might not work for you. Partially because you’re co-workers will hate you, and also because you will be angry about doing things like monitoring (ok, standing around in) stairwells to make sure people leave the show location, asking people (nicely) to stand on line, even if it’s Joe Zee or Anna Dello Russo. You might not like wearing a uniform, or not standing out. If you can handle being the person who pushes the elevator button for fashion royalty (and assorted hangers on) without resentment, then you’ll be ok.

And make sure you set two alarms, because call times will be alarmingly early.

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One of the best ways to survive 12 hour days standing on your feet is to maintain a healthy diet. This was how I made it. I ate quick breakfasts of yogurt with fruit, honey and chia seeds. I snacked on fruit and veggie ice pops. I drank a lot of water, packed lunches of salads and crackers with cheese. I also used Energems, the chocolate covered caffeine and vitamin bombs that give you a clean energy boost that won’t leave you sugar crashing. (I did interviews for them for awhile and they were cool enough to give me 3 boxes of samples.Blogging rules). Luckily, my boss was also into providing good food on long shifts, which was epic.

I don’t do selfies much anymore, because…why bother? But this was me leaving for work on the last day, at 4:30 am. I have finally got the 10 minute face down, much to my surprise. I kept my hair natural all week, varying it up with two strand twist cornrows, a bi-level afro with braids on the side, bantu knots, and this freestyle business which was just letting the bantu knots out and fluffing up the curly kinks. I also wanted to show that you don’t have to be a model to get an NYFW internship or job. You just have to be a sane, reliable person with a decent personality. And probably some college. And a positive attitude. And good interpersonal skills. And willingness to work on a team. And money for carfare because you won’t get paid instantly (and in some cases you don’t get paid at all).

You know, just the basics.

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Remember to take care of your skin and body. I don’t usually wear makeup every day, so I was careful about removing it every night. I actually soaked a facial wipe with Jouviance Micellar Solution, $22 (not in this pic because I keep it in the fridge and forgot) which cleansed and moisturized. If I had an early day I went for a gentle exfoliant, or used the origins Spring Super Stars Set, $20 (I bought this with actual money) which includes an overnight moisturizer. This Ahava skin serum oil came in handy, too. I spent more time soaking in the tub, and this Molton Brown body wash has a heavenly, relaxing scent. I also just got these samples from Petal Fresh, which were exemplary. The Aloe Vera Moisturizing Body Wash, $5.50, makes great bubble and the Perfecting Body Butter in Guava Nectar , $7.70, soothed skin chafed by my waist trainer. I wrapped my waist in plastic wrap for extra softening.

I definitely had fun messing with my hair every day, but of course I was careful to keep it clean and my scalp moisturized. I massaged my scalp pre-shampoo with either Pura D’or Argan Oil ( I mixed it with apple cider vinegar to remove dead skin on my scalp) or this Argan Oil Hair Treatment that was sent over by Agadir. They also sent this amazing comb, which is strong enough to glide through my hair wet or dry. I still have a ton of Aveda shampoo hanging around the bathroom from last year, but I relied on their Be Curly moisturizing, sulfate free co-wash for NYFW. CurlKeeper Original Total Control for Frizzy Hair and Styling Cream were my go to products for braids and knots, and I kept hair hydrated while styling with their award winning H2O Water Bottle, which mists hair and keeps it pliable while braiding and plaiting. Aveda Brilliant Emollient Finishing Gloss, $29, added lightbending sparkle and a light fragrance to finished styles.

Keeping teeth brushed and clean, and especially using the Dentek OrabrushTongue Scraper, which helped stave off bad breath. I went between a deep berry lip gloss to classic reds from Makeup Forever and Gerard Cosmetics. On the last day, as I opened the door for  gorgeous 90s era supermodel Carolyn Murphy (she walked in the Michael Kors show), she actually took two seconds to complement me on my Immortal hydra-matte liquid lipstick, $20. Score! I have a slew of Makeup Forever primers and two versions of the Ultra HD foundation, so that got me through. Lightweight coverage that stayed true for all 12 hours. Susan Posnick Color Correct, $16, highlighting and concealing pencil in C-4 helped me add light under my eyes and minimize bagginess.

By using the best products (and yes, I know- most were sent to me or given at events, so in a way unfair to suggest spending your hard earned cash…), maintaining a sensible diet and drinking water regularly you can make it through the most grueling NYFW job.  I’m definitely investing in foot pads or flatter flats next time as well. You’ll need black clothes if they don’t have a uniform, so if you know this is what you want get some basic black pieces that you can interchange and be comfy but stylish in.

AND- which is prob what you really wanted to hear- keep eyes peeled for opportunities. I follow Fashion/Beauty Monitor, Fashionista.com, and Stylecaster on twitter and that’s how I learned about the internship I snagged. If you want to go into fashion pr or work in a showroom, try calling or emailing their hr department. The most important thing is to be real and realistic about both your chances and what the jobs will be like.

NYFW is a job, whether you’re working the runway, doing hair and makeup or writing up shows. Nobody has time for prima donnas or overly competitive bitches, so be aware that eyes are on you and tongues are wagging before you start acting up. This is that industry that has seen every type of hanger-on and psycho user  type, so while people are friendly, it doesn’t mean that they don’t notice your behavior. Also… this is that funny industry where it feels like you’re going up but you’re really just another place filler until someone new comes along. Keep that in mind when you’re backstabbing.

 

xoxo, Faith/Sassy Ethnic Bohemian

 

 

beauty, Fashion, Lucky Community, NY Fashion and Trends Examiner, NY Fashion Blogger Project, Photography, Sassy Ethnic Bohemian, Style

Why Bloggers Don’t Belong at NYFW

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There’s a lot of emotion swirling around recent rumors that bloggers will not be asked to participate in NYFW. While the blogosphere has gained traction within the industry, the fashion insiders have become leery of the kind of exposure that they provide may not be as desirable as retailers and designers first thought. After 5 years, it turns out that the blogger boom has busted.

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The first round of bloggers to storm the front row were probably just as surprised as the Anna Wintours and Carine Roitfelds to find themselves front row instead of relegated to standing room only (or worse- uninvited). People like Bryan Boy and Tavi Gevinson made it. Their oddness, social isolation, and inventiveness are what sealed their fate.

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They had the elusive ‘it’ factor that made people seek their opinions. They were shaping the tastes and opinions of their readers, and with each and every post both of these bloggers revealed a taste level far above the ordinary masses comprehension. Five years later, they’re both irreplaceable figures on the fashion landscape. The problem is the other million people that tried to rush in with them.

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At this point, everyone thinks they have a valid fashion point of view. EVERYONE. Small children, plumbers, the cashier at the grocery store, the man who makes the donuts, your mom, your grandma, and anyone else with a webcam. Because EVERYONE has an opinion, now EVERYONE is expecting to receive some sort of reward for that opinion, no matter how uninformed, unbalanced, and unwelcome it may be. Now EVERYONE expects to go to Fashion Week in New York- and to be honest there is just no room.

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The fashion explosion is kind of like the tech bubble or the housing boom, or the collapse of the banking industry. When EVERYONE wants to do the same thing, that field gets overcrowded. When that field gets overcrowded, it starts to dilute the power of the people voicing the opinions. EVERYONE knows everything, and that devalues the information. EVERYONE cannot go to Fashion Week- whether it be NY, Paris, London, or Milan. Why? Because it’s just not necessary. Too many amateur opinions spoil the whole thing and drags fashion off of its pedestal. And that can’t happen.

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We need fashion professionals, people who are invested in keeping up the standards of the items produced and to monitor the creative output of fashion designers. We need professional models to wear the clothing, showing it to best advantage so that we can see the possibilities and dream of ourselves wearing the same thing. We need professional photographers to create dreamlike fashion spreads in exotic locations produced for magazines. We need their imaginative ideas about accessorizing; we need fashion editors to round up shoes and belts to show us what’s out there.

Why should I, or anyone, trust a fashion blogger with limited access and a limited worldview- when I can open a professionally produced magazine and see EVERYTHING and be inspired by professionals who live the lives depicted?

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I think that bloggers need to be carefully vetted before receiving invitations. There may also need to be an agreement that the blogger will delay coverage somewhat to stymie rip-off artists. Also, is the blogger just another freeloading tourist looking for goodie bags and celebrity sightings?

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Let’s be real- if you’re not someone like Alexa Curtis– who’s writing appears on Huffington Post and Parade Magazine.com, who models and regularly appears on TV, and who was recently spotted on Soulcycle’s blog touting her own original smoothie recipe- who’s working feverishly to build credibility, then maybe you don’t deserve to get a free pass to fashion insider status.

Fashion is a billion dollar business built on dreams.It’s about the shows, the clothes, what’s new, and what’s amazing.  If you’re just gonna run around in your Forever 21 crap, kicking holes in the gossamer walls that separate that world from cold hard reality, then stay home.

*All photos by Faith Bowman, taken at Bryant Park and Lincoln Center during NYFW.