big apple; what i really thought.

Let me preface this post by saying it is not my typical fashion-related post.  If you’re looking for a fun DIY, a trendy outfit, or my latest project, feel free to stop reading.  It’s okay, really.  I don’t mind.

It’s weird to say that one week can change your life, but this week really has.  I’m not quite sure yet if it’s for the better or worse, but I’ve definitely changed.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I do and don’t want out of a career, location, and life in general, I guess.  The places I’ve been, the experiences I’ve had, and the people I’ve been surrounded with have all molded these ideas, and call me crazy–I am really hating most of the fashion industry.

Hating?  That’s a strong word.

I know it is.  Most of what I’ve seen and observed, I simply haven’t liked.  First off, New York is just too expensive. Shocker, I know.   I knew this already, yet somehow this trip has reiterated repeatedly how most of these girls have, or think they have, all the money in the world.  I mean, a handful of people dropped over a grand this week.  $1,000.  Seriously?  With a subway pass, food for 7 days, and a little bit of shopping, I spent just over $300.  Of course their parents are paying for it, just as mine did, but there is a key difference.  My parents aren’t going to let me fall flat, but they have done an excellent job of teaching me responsibility over the years.  I don’t take these things for granted and I make the most out of these experiences.  I get the most bang for my buck (i.e. I ate about 3 meals’ worth at the alumni dinner last night since it was free…).  I’ve learned to not even make comments along the lines of “must be nice”, because there will be five girls swooping in to defend them and their frivolous sprees.  At the alumni dinner, I spoke to a very nice alum for a great portion of the time.  I told her that I wasn’t planning on living in New York, and although she had good intentions, she went on for a very long time that I’d basically be holding myself back and not living life if I didn’t move out here.  That I’d be playing it safe and I’d always wonder “what if?”  I tried to tell her that I’m not that set on it in the first place and I want to be near my family.  Then she and many others assured me that my parents will pay to send me back home to visit when I need to.  Assured me.  Uh, no no no.  That’s not how this works.  If I make the decision to move this far away from home, my parents won’t be paying for me to come home four times a year–and I surely won’t be making the money to pay for it myself.  And this isn’t me trying to hint at my parents via blog post that I want them to pay to send me to and from NY.  It’s not.  I don’t want them to and wouldn’t want them to if I ever moved out here.  Just about everyone is telling me that it’s terrible that my parents won’t help me.  It’s not that they won’t, I just don’t think it’s right for them to support me until I’m 30.  I want to be able to support myself and not take handouts forever just because they’re available.  In summary, I keep hearing that “my parents will pay for me because they don’t want me to fall flat on my face.”  But there is a difference.  My parents won’t let me fall flat, but they’re not going to pay my way through life.  No one here seems to understand that concept.

I’ll try to jump off the money topic, because quite frankly, I hate money.  I hate talking about it.  Let’s move to designers.  I’ll keep this quick.  Everyone has this obsession with everything designer and is dropping money left and right for designer products.  At one of our high-end, department store visits, I felt extremely inferior because of the atmosphere and the way many of the girls were presenting themselves.  They were acting like putty in their hands and basically bowing down to them.  At one point, he pulled out a $30,000 ring and people were diving on top of each other just to try it on.  They were like animals.  Don’t get me wrong, this was a fabulous store, but I felt so out of place.  Like I mentioned in my first NY post, I stressed that I was dressing for function over fashion that day because of the weather and our sheer amount of walking between appointments.  So many eye-rolls, I lost count.  People were just name-dropping the designers they were wearing every time they had a chance and I just find that tacky and obnoxious.  Coming from a fashion major, it may sound weird to say I’m not interested in designers.  I’m not going as far as saying I don’t like designers, because that’s not true.  I just don’t find the obsession with buying a designer for the sake of it being designer specifically.  For example, at the FIT Shoe Obsession museum, they had a pair of Christian Louboutins that were covered in googley-eye buttons.  Tacky as hell.  They are the opposite of fashionable and chic.  But of course, everyone is freaking out over them and how awesome they are because they’re Louboutins.  If those were sold at Target, they’d be ugly and tacky, but because they’re designer, they’re so chic.  That shit drives me crazy.  Buy a designer because you like the product, not because they’re a designer.  After our appointment at Nanette LePore yesterday, we went to her sample sale and I found a cute tank for $30 (originally $170).  It’s very me and unlike anything I’ve seen around here, so I got it.  I didn’t buy it because it was Nanette LePore–it’s a perk, but not the reason behind the purchase.  People are just so materialistic and shallow when it comes to fashion.  I realize it’s not the most “deep” of industries, but people can just be ridiculous and frivolous.

Like I’ve previously mentioned, the culture here is to live to work, rather than work to live.  Everyone is talking about waking up at 4 AM to work out, work until 9 or 10 at night and do it all over again.  They say you have to love your work to be able to do that–but I don’t want to do that because it will make me hate my job.  I need to find a work environment that is slightly more consistent and can allow me to have a personal life.  I know I’m young and single, but I will end up being elderly and single if I don’t have a personal life.  I’m not saying I want to be married anytime soon, but I’d like to someday, and it seems that so many of these women are sacrificing that part of their life because of their career.  I just want to keep my priorities in check and I don’t think it will be possible to do so in New York.

Other takeaways I got:

-I don’t want to work at a magazine.  I truly disliked the environment.  I love writing, so I’ll just need to continue to use my blog as my writing outlet.

-Females are competitive to a fault.  Everyone just had to one-up each other on this trip with their designer clothing, money spent, or “knowledge” of the industry.  It was ridiculous and I’m not about that.  I stayed out of it.

-Don’t listen to everyone else.  People will tell you what you can and can’t be/do and they’re wrong.  If you want something, get it.  If someone tells me that I shouldn’t keep my 4.o GPA one more time, I will snap.  Stop telling me that it will hurt me in the long run or that I lack any social skills because of it.  Or that I’m just naturally smart, and not creative.  I’ve heard all of these things this week and none of them are true.  You know what I think my 4.0 GPA says?  That I work my ass off.  That I’m determined and I refuse to quit.  That I am phenomenal with time management and I’m able to juggle school, work, and activities, and still manage to have a social life.  That I work extra hard in my classes to do well, so I can spend my free time sketching, sewing, and being creative.

-People preach being humble, but they aren’t themselves.  One presenter told us today we need to stay humble, but then started number-dropping his salaries of the past and present.  I’m not impressed by that.  Be humble and you’ll get far.

-I’m way more down to earth than I thought.  People can call me high maintenance all day if they want, but I’m truly not.  Yes, I love to dress well, but that doesn’t mean I’m high maintenance.  I am probably one of the most go-with-the-flow people on this trip and I felt so out of place.  I don’t care what designer I work for.  I don’t care how big of city I live in.  I don’t talk about all of the designer items I own (which is essentially nothing).  I just want to be happy at the end of the day.  I want to be near my family, have good friends, and a steady career that I enjoy and I’ll be happy.  I really don’t care what everyone else thinks of that.  No, I’m not venturing out to change the world or even the scope of the industry.  But I am not a slacker.  I work hard and I would rather live a low-key, well-rounded life than be famous with poor relationships.

Go ahead, call me crazy.  If I didn’t fit in before, I definitely don’t now.  I’m off my soap-box.  Time for a shamrock shake and pajamas.




6 thoughts on “big apple; what i really thought.

  1. Ohmigod loved this post! I completed a Clothing Design degree in Minnesota (I know – fashion capitol of the world, right? LOL). A few months after graduation, I went out to NY and did some informational interviews with companies that I was interested in working for. Wow, what an interesting experience. I was told they wouldn’t even consider me for an INTERNSHIP until I had taken at least some classes at FIT.

    What a wake-up call. So I went to the “wrong” fashion school.

    Fast forward 7 years and I have more or less left the fashion industry and am getting my PhD in Clothing and Textiles Science in New Zealand (possibly even farther away from fashion than MN!). I still love fashion. But I’m the same as you, I kind of hate it a little bit as well. Probably way too down to earth (does that come from both of us being from the Midwest?!). Now I’m just a fabric/science nerd who blogs about budget fashion.

    Great post and I’m glad I’m not alone in loving fashion, but being level-headed about it too.

    • I’m so glad to hear a little feedback on this post. I was a little nervous about publishing it, because I knew it could rub people the wrong way. I just have grown up a lot over the years and realized there are more important things in life than designer shoes and crazy time-consuming careers. Who knows where I’ll end up? I just want to do something that makes me happy.

      • I think that is a very healthy attitude! Fashion is… well, you know exactly how it is! And you can still work in the clothing/apparel/fashion industry without it being all “look at my Jimmy Choos”.

        Good luck and I’m sure you will find something that is the right fit!

  2. I am exactly the same, I don’t see the obsession behind designers when half the things they come out with no one would wear in a million years without the name tag. I have a friend who bought the most god awful pair of Jimmy Choos just because they we’re in her price range (yet still over £100 when she barely earnt that in a week). I just don’t understand.

    I do think the high end fashion business is shallow and probably soul destroying to work at, I think i’d hate that too. But I’m sure there’s some parts of the fashion business that you will enjoy somewhere.

    Those girls make me sick, I would never dream of just saying ‘mummy will pay for it’. It’s so immature and I’m sure my mum would have killed me if I was the same. As it stands I do owe my mum a lot of money at the moment as I don’t earn much, but I will definitely pay it back within the year now as i’m earning a little more than i was. She knows that and she knows i’m responsible so that’s why she was happy to lend me it. I would hate it if she had just given me the money and not expected me to pay her back, she’s had to look after me her whole life she shouldn’t have to now. Plus I like being self reliant.

    Great blog post! Some really interesting topics.

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