My adventure is about to come to a close. I have six days left in the city and then it's back to
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
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!
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.
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.”
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).