My Morning Commute

This is a video of my morning commute every day from my room in Brooklyn to the Donna Karan building in Times Square. Enjoy!

This Is The Way It Ends

My adventure is about to come to a close. I have six days left in the city and then it's back to Misery Missouri. Lots has happened in the last week that I can't even believe. I've met the CEO of the largest luxury goods company in the world, I got to be a stand-in for a Food Network commercial and meet Bobby Flay, I attended a red-carpet event and had drinks with an ABC anchorman, and had my last day at Donna Karan. This week has been nuts!

First of all, the CEO. Last week while I was waiting on the elevator a man was standing next me waiting with me. Our conversation went something like this:

MW: "Do you work here?"

JR: "Yeah, I'm an intern."

MW: "How do you like it?"

JR: "I love it. I don't want it to be over. I have to move back to Missouri soon and I'm trying not to get depressed about it!"

MW: "What do you do in Missouri?"

JR: "I go to school at Southeast Missouri State University"

MW: "And do you study fashion?"

JR: "Yeah. It's definitely what I want to do. And Donna Karan is such a great company. I love it here"

MW: "Yeah. I've been with the company for five years now."

JR: *holding out hand* "I'm Jory Rapps by the way"

MW: "Mark Weber. Nice to meet you." *shakes hand*

JR: *stunned look*

*get on elevator*

MW: "Where did you get your jeans from?"

JR: "Uniqlo. They were ten dollars."

MW: "Is that why you bought them?"

JR: "Yeah. I'm in college"

MW: "That's good to know. We just bought a jeans company so I need to know stuff like that."

*arrives at floor*

JR: "It was really nice to meet you!"

MW: "You too. Good luck in Missouri. You'll make it back to New York"

Now that you've seen the conversation we had, let me give you some background on who Mark Weber really is. I may or may not have mentioned the company LVMH before on this blog. It is a giant luxury goods company that owns the following luxury brands:

Moët & Chandon Champaign

Dom Pérignon

Louis Vuitton
Marc Jacobs
Emilio Pucci
Donna Karan
Tag Heuer

Those are just a few of the most recognizable ones but in total LVMH owns overs 60 luxury brands. After this chance encounter I emailed him the next day with my resume and told him I think that meeting him was serendipitous in some way. He replied back and said he was glad to meet me, that he hopes I enjoyed my time as an intern, and that he had forwarded my resume to Human Resources. The funny thing about this is that I know the people in HR so they were probably going "Wait. Why did I just get Jory's resume from Mark Weber?" Ha!

----------BAGEL BREAK----------

On Saturday my friend Joy called me and said "Do you want to be on a Food Network commercial and meet Bobby Flay?" My response should be obvious. So on Sunday I met her and we both went to a studio in Brooklyn where they were filming the promo. Turns out it was an ad for Kohls and their Bobby Flay collection of kitchenware. It was filming at the set of their show "The Worst Cooks In America". There were six other stand-ins plus Joy and myself. We basically just had to stand in place and react to things that were said. We got to see Bobby Flay cook some stuff (sort of) and we got to take pictures with him afterwards. The best part was the lunch they provided. Chili-rubbed chicken, gourmet mac and cheese, salad with poppyseed dressing, and a pear and strawberry cobbler. Those Food Network chefs really know how to make a good meal!

The next night, Monday night, we went to a fashion show that Joy was walking in. It was at the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle at the Samsung Experience store. It was great! As it happened, the fashion show was not the main event, but rather one part of an entire fundraising event. We got to walk to red carpet, meet some of the NFL Giants, drink Nuvo for free all night, and got to meet the designer, Grace Hats. Joy walked first in the show and did a phenomenal job--of course! After the show an ABC political commentator starting talking to us (because he had the hots for Joy) and invited us to have drinks with him in the lounge upstairs. It was called the Amber Rose lounge. It was very chic and had the best view of Columbus Circle. It was amazing. He paid for our drinks ($45 for three) and even paid for our cab rides home (mine was $40) which was very, very nice of him. My favorite part of the night, however, was getting my first red carpet photo! Hopefully it will not be my last.

And last, but certainly not least, was my final day at Donna Karan. The day was just like any other--usual work stuff. At the end of the day my boss Natalie had an hour-long conversation with me about my career, life, etc. She said I did a great job as an intern and bought me a really nice planner from MUJI as a gift. I really enjoyed working with her this semester and am going to really miss everything about Donna Karan. Before I left I said bye to Natalie and she was sitting in Carol, the President of Retail's office. Carol asked me how it was. I said "It was the best four months of my life." When I walked out of the building I called my mom to tell her about my last day and out of nowhere I started crying uncontrollably. The thought of leaving this place is tearing me apart. 


What Fashion Isn't

I’ve been thinking a lot about fashion lately--I mean, more than usual. It’s really quite an interesting subject and everyone seems to have their own opinion or own views on what fashion is to them and how they view it in society. In the 2009 documentary, “The September Issue”, Anna Wintour, Editor in Chief at Vogue, said:

“I think what I often see is that people are frightened about fashion, because it scares them or makes them feel insecure, they just put it down. On the whole, people that say demeaning things about our world--I think that’s usually because they feel in some ways excluded or not part of the cool group, so as a result they just mock it. Just because you like to put on a beautiful Carolina Herrera dress or a pair of J Brand blue jeans instead of something basic from Kmart - it doesn’t mean that you are a dumb person. There is something about fashion that can make people very nervous.”

This quote is so important and really says a lot. She’s absolutely right when she says that fashion makes people nervous. People do often mock fashion and think it’s something frivolous and that it really doesn’t matter--but it does. 

Fashion is a lot of things but at the forefront of it all you must understand that fashion is, above all, an art. From the initial design sketch to the production and sale of any garment or accessory, every detail is as thoroughly thought out as any work of art an artist creates. The thing that makes fashion special, however, is that you are rarely as immersed in a painting in your everyday life as you are in the clothing that you wear. It’s something that literally changes every day and, in my humble opinion, truly effects how others perceive you and, more importantly, how you perceive yourself.

“Art produces ugly things which frequently become beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.”
Jean Cocteau

I’ve often found when discussing fashion that people have a few major misconceptions. The most common delusion I’ve found is that people often think that anyone who works in fashion is a designer. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard “Oh I’d love to see your work” when I tell someone that I’m a Fashion Merchandising student. There is a very distinct difference between fashion design, and fashion merchandising. Fashion designers are the ones that the general public are most familiar with. ie. Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Marc Jacobs, etc. Designers are the people who literally sit down, come up with a concept, and create a work of art from scratch. They are true artists and visionaries whose work directly affects every piece of clothing you see-- from the runway in Milan to the clearance rack at Walmart. 

Fashion Merchandising is not the same as fashion design. Fashion is a business, and a multi-billion dollar one at that. Fashion Merchandising concerns the business side of fashion rather than the design and creation of it. This is where people like me (people who love fashion but have no design abilities) get to work closely with what we love. From marketing, to sales, production, merchandising, and everything in-between fashion has plenty of opportunities for hard working non-designers like myself.

Another misconception I often observe is that the word “fashion” is synonymous with “high fashion”. Not everyone who works in the fashion world is working with luxury brands like Louis Vuitton or Ralph Lauren. Brown Shoe company, for example, is a very successful shoe production company that makes footwear for Famous Footwear, Naturalizer, and Buster Brown Shoes. If you’re not versed in fashion (and even if you are) there’s a good chance you have never heard of this company. It’s not a luxury brand and they’re not featured at red carpet events or in Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, or Vogue. They are not a luxury brand but they are still very important to the apparel industry. They create shoes--good shoes that you have maybe worn and not realized it. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of companies just like Brown Shoe that are as much a part of the fashion world as Alexander McQueen. The only difference is that they are not glamorized. So when you think of fashion, try not to think of luxury garments, couture designs, or runway shows, but instead realize that the fashion world is about all apparel (both glamorized and not). 


Best Monday Ever

When I was on my way to work this morning I got off the subway dreary-eyed from the long holiday weekend. I was walking up to the street when off to my right I saw a homeless man with trousers dropped, doing his business on the floor right in front of everyone. I almost got sick from the sight and thought "Oh great, this is how my Monday is going to be". Boy was I wrong!

Well now that you have that DISGUSTING visual in your head (it was worse in real life) I can tell you that almost immediately after this happened my day turned around. I was standing outside the DKNY building and Aliza Licht, the PR Goddess that is the DKNY PR Girl, walked right past me and into the building. How I've managed to go this long without seeing her is a mystery to me but I was so excited I immediately contacted her in the best way I knew how--Twitter. Being the active Tweet-addict that she is I almost immediately got a response. Joy! Seeing her on the sidewalk reminded me that I still had not had my meeting with her. I decided to email the woman from Human Resources I had talked to and she replied right away and asked if today would be okay. Obviously I was elated and gladly accepted my 3 o'clock appointment.

Before I went to meet Ms. Licht I created a list of all the questions I wanted to ask her. I'm not sure that I ended up asking her any of them now because I was too fascinated at the time with what she was saying and doing that I forgot I had even prepared anything at all. 

She asked if I have enjoyed my internship thus far at Donna Karan and so of course I told her about how great everything is here, how much I love New York, and how I'm going to need more Prozac than Eeyore from Winnie The Pooh when I move back to Missouri. When I told her about the events I've gotten to participate in she asked if I was putting them all on my resume to which I responded "Yes. And my blog." Being the social-media Queen in the fashion world I didn't expect her to pull up this blog right then and there but she sure did! She didn't have all day to read it at length but she said it looked very nice and to keep it up. Then we talked about Twitter, how to make it back to NYC, networking, etc. I learned a lot and am definitely going to put what she told me into action because I know she was right.

Meeting Aliza was definitely the highlight of my day but it wasn't the only good thing to happen on this quizzically warm November day. I also spoke with the assistant to the buyer again and found out I can definitely go to the next Donna Karan Collection photo shoot in December! I was worried, at first, that I might not be able to because of the dates conflicting with my flight schedule but it's been added to my calendar for December 20th--One day before I move back to Missouri. I mean, what better way to say goodbye to New York City than with a Donna Karan photo shoot?

Okay well now that I've covered my extremely exciting Monday let me catch you up on how my Thanksgiving went! I finally got to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade live and in person. The MTDP has been playing on the television in my family's home every Thanksgiving as far back as I remember so to actually be there and see the Hello Kitty balloon in real life was really something to see. Plenty of pics below.

Other than the parade the day was quite uneventful. I managed to sleep my way through the Thanksgiving dinner that my building had made and decided to make a hasty last-minute reservation at a restaurant called Brasserie. Let me just say that anyone who goes out to eat in NYC should ALWAYS do their research before dining. While the meal was delicious, my total after tip was $90 for just myself. For a broke college kid like myself, receiving the bill for that meal felt similar to what I imagine an aneurism to feel like. I guess that's what Ramen noodles are for...

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Photos:


Style...It's A New York Thing

View from the Donna Karan Penthouse
All I can say is... wow, what a weekend! First of all I want to apologize to anyone who reads this blog for taking so long to update it. I've had a lot going on both personally and professionally and have found it difficult to find time to blog. Since the last time I've written I've seen the Harper's Bazaar exhibit, got on national television at the Today Show, and styled my first fashion shoot.

Friday morning I got the bright idea to wake up at 3am and go to NBC studios to see The Today Show live. I got to the studios at about 4:30 to find others in line as well. I was the sixth person in line which gave me prime positioning to get on TV. It was about 36 degrees which made waiting in line until 7 somewhat excruciating. I was in the crowd for about thirty minutes when I finally got the camera to face my direction. As soon as I was certain I made it on TV I bolted and immediately found warm refuge. My Mom took a picture of me on the TV and sent it to me. I'm not going to pretend I wasn't excited about it.
Me on The Today Show
That evening I met up with my Australian friend, Yuko, to visit the Harper's Bazaar exhibit at the International Center of Photography. It's a showcase of all of Harper Bazaar's most iconic photos and magazine covers through the years. It was a very nice exhibit, albeit smaller than expected. It turned out to be one small room with all the photographs while the rest of the museum was dedicated to a 9/11 memorial that was absolutely stunning and heartbreaking at the same time.
Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Ad
I was going to try and get Saturday Night Live tickets that night, go to the Versace for H&M release the next morning, and attend SNL Saturday night. Needless to say waking up at 3am and running around the city all day until 10pm that night caused me to be way too fatigued to actually follow through with my Saturday plans.
Street Scene At Studio
On Sunday I had the opportunity to do something totally major. My roommate, Alejandro Guttierez, is a very talented filmmaker and asked me to style a shoot for him. He was able to rent a studio at his school, The School of Visual Arts, and get models, hair and makeup, and a crew to produce the video. It was my job to pick out all of the clothing, put it together, and dress the models. Shopping in New York for a high fashion look with a limited budget led me straight to H&M in Union Square. There were three looks to be chosen--one for each scene.
The video was a fashion editorial meets dubstep music video. It shows a beautiful girl in a bar who meets a man, he roofies her, and she ends up in an alternate reality until she comes-to in an abandoned alley, realizing there was no man, no roofie, and the whole thing was but a dream.

For the first look in the bar scene I opted for a purple velvet scoop-neck dress with gold jewelry. The pieces of jewelry included a beautiful gold necklace, matching bracelet, and some dangly gold and violet earrings that pulled the look together. For a statement piece we had a chunky, spiked golden ring. For the shoes I chose a pair of very tall black wedge platforms. She looked very elegant, don't you think?

The second look was to be used in the alternate reality scene. It takes place on a manhattan street with lots of fog and wind so we needed something flowy. It was shot in black and white so the makeup looked really dramatic in person but on camera it turned out beautifully. I found a velvet black dress with sheer sleeves that were attached with more sheer fabric. For the jewelry I kept it simple and used a statement necklace of a silver chain with a rock on the end. The shoes were the same black wedges used in look one.

The last look was used in the scene when the girl wakes up on the street and realizes the whole scene was just a dream. I found a KILLER white jacket that we paired with dark wash jeans and a pair of boots. The cream color against the model's skin looked amazing.

After talking with the model, Joy Scott, I found out she has appeared in Vogue, Vogue Italia, and was featured on the Tyra Banks show. She was incredibly nice and loved everything I picked out for her which made me feel really good. It's so important to make sure that the model likes the clothes so they're comfortable. She liked me so much she invited me to go out with her and her promoter to some exclusive clubs with bottle service. We'll probably be doing that this weekend and I cannot wait to see her again--sweetest girl ever, and of course gorgeous.

I also was talking to the main makeup artist, Lauren, was at the shoot and she asked me to style a carnivale themed shoot that she's doing soon. I can't wait to do it! For my first time styling I don't think it could have gone any better. I realized that reading all of these magazines, books, and websites about fashion definitely has paid off as I knew exactly what to bring to the shoot and was totally prepared for any and all wardrobe problems. I had my steamer, safety pins, binder clips, wrinkle releaser, lint roller, etc. on hand and ready at all times and they often came in handy. I loved doing it and can't wait to style again!

Well that's all I've got for now. I'll attach some more pictures I've taken around the city below. Until next time...

Staten Island Ferry (day)
Best Burgers & Shakes In The City
Staten Island Ferry (night)
Upper East Side
Bucket List Graffiti
I'm Obsessed With Pinkberry Froyo
Union Square
Macy's Christmas Decor