Thursday, February 26, 2015

Floor Set

This week we had a floor set at Pacsun. We also had to transfer all our blue dot sale merchandise to the outlets. This was both exciting and terrible. It was terrible because we had so much merchandise to un-sensor, scan, and package but it was exciting because this means we are getting a whole bunch of spring/summer apparel. I am so sick of this winter.

 For floor set we had to make room for all the new apparel coming in. I made a wall on the guys side to display various sandals. Part of the new floor set called for me to cut yarn into various lengths and tassels to be used on a display. It's times like these where I wonder what the visual merchandiser's inspiration was and why can't they send us pre-cut strings. My favorite part about floor set is that my boss lets me design some layouts for certain tables. A nice bonus to floor set is that it is a secret workout. I had to carry heavy shelves up and down a ladder. I built a whole section to display Hurley and RVCA t-shirts. My arms were on fire after that. I've officially worked in retail long enough where folding stacks of new t-shirts for a table has become therapeutic. I was at Pacsun until midnight working on the store. 

The new layout looks amazing. It's so nice to see how far Pacsun's visual merchandisers have come since I first started working at Pacsun. It's also nice because I now understand how much work and effort goes into planning a floor set and window display. Each floor set makes the store look more amazing. It makes me really proud to work for a company that creates amazing floor sets.  

The Dark Side of NYC

     This week I'm here to shatter some of your dreams and tell you that living in NYC is not as glamorous as it seems. I love my apartment- it has exposed brick walls, my room is a good size, and it has a lot of character. However, since I have moved here, my roommate and I have dealt with two different types of infestations: cockroaches and mice. I am from rural Maryland and am lucky enough to come from a very clean and organized home (thanks, mom!), so I had never seen a cockroach before. The cockroaches invaded before the mice, which I appreciate because we got the worst one over with. It started off with just a few tiny ones in the bathroom, but then quickly escalated to seeing at least twelve a day. I was very confused at first because my roommate and I are very clean people, however after the infestation she explained to me that there is an extreme pack rat living in the apartment below us, so the roaches live there and have easy access to our apartment since the building is old.
     My worst nightmare came true when I finally saw one in my room, and of course, it was the biggest one I have ever seen. Everyone has always told me that wild animals in New York are of completely different species. They have no fears and do whatever they feel like. I figured everyone was exaggerating because I've noticed that a lot of people here exaggerate (a ten minute walk is not far), but unfortunately enough, they weren't messing around. I was FaceTiming Nik one night when I heard a painting on the wall above my bed move. I moved the painting slightly only to reveal the most repulsive thing I have ever seen. Behind my painting was a cockroach the length of my middle finger (also relevant to my attitude towards the monstrosity) and the width of two of my fingers. It was disturbing. Naturally, I screamed like I was in a horror movie, frantically hung up on Nik and reached for my Raid spray. After managing to  spray half my bed with Raid as collateral damage, the cockroach fell off the wall, onto my bed, and then crawled into my one of my slippers on the ground. Still screaming bloody murder, I sprayed Raid all over my shoe and successfully paralyzed the creature from hell. Now crying, I grabbed the broom and got the cockroach into the trash can. Luckily, after this incident, we managed to control the invasion. However, I still check my wall every night before I go to sleep just in case.
     I will now explain to you why mice are just as gross as cockroaches. These past two weeks have been a living nightmare for me, as our mouse infestation was specifically in my room. I used to think mice were cute. They are small, fuzzy, and they squeak to communicate with each other, but they are not cute. Once I started hearing a mouse in my wall, I put down traps, but they didn't work. While Nik was visiting, he caught it for me while it was eating my food, and I thought the infestation was over, however it had only just begun. I named the mouse Ebola because it probably had a disease I could have gotten, and I thought Ebola was the only mouse living in my room. Ebola happened to have a family, and when we caught Ebola, his family got angry. They left the walls, started running around my room and got closer and closer to my bed. It actually felt like they were plotting to kill me. Mice are known to have diseases, and that's not something I'm into. I started reading up on ways to get rid of mice, but nothing I tried worked. I tried drenching cotton balls in peppermint oil because they hate the smell, I put all of my food in big plastic bins, and I set more sticky traps where they were getting into the wall. The night after I went full force against the mice, they went wild. They were running all around my room while I was trying to sleep, they scratched on the plastic bins I put my food in, and they started chewing on the walls. Every time I tried scaring them away, they would come back within two minutes. I knew my efforts were hopeless, and I went sleepless for two nights until my roommate and I came up with a solution. My roommate read online that mice can't chew through steel wool, so we bought obscene amounts and filled all of the holes in our apartment with it. We felt like we were in The Walking Dead, trying to keep the zombies out of our shelter. That night, the mice went absolutely crazy because they couldn't get in. They were chewing on the floors and walls trying to get back inside all night. Once again, I couldn't sleep, in fear that they would get back inside. Ever since that night (this past Tuesday), we haven't seen or heard mouse.
     Now, cockroaches and mice terrify me, and whenever I move to a new home, I will immediately take precautions before I settle in. Some advice for you: if you get an infestation of any kind, look to the internet for solutions, not facts. I got carried away looking up cockroach bites and diseases you can catch from mice, and I found myself analyzing every red spot on my body (I'm a redhead, so my skin is always red), and I conveniently felt a sore throat coming on right after I read about Hantavirus, a disease some mice carry that has side affects similar to the flu. The internet is great for figuring out the best ways to stop infestations, but do not panic and approach the situation calmly. Avoid reading about diseases or the reproduction cycles of your unwanted guests at all costs. I'm finally guest free, and I hope to stay that way forever. I've learned more about wildlife in the city of concrete than I did in Maryland where I practically live on a farm, and I plan to take my zoologist level knowledge back to Philly with me. Happy hunting to those of you with similar issues, but hopefully I'm the only one!

Culotte Convert

This week I attended Coterie, which is a trade show with Shoshanna. The trade show gives buyers for boutiques all around the world the opportunity to come and few the new collections from hundred of different designers. I can’t think of a single wholesale retailer who didn’t have a booth representing their company. While this wasn’t the first trade show I had been to with Shoshanna this was so much bigger then the other one we attended it felt like a completely different experience. 
The biggest difference between Coterie and the trade show I had been to in the past was that it was so big that the sales team had me helping them show the collection! Last Thursday they had called me into the showroom and asked if I would be willing to show to collection and of course I said yes so they walked through the collection with me and taught me the important talking points for the collection. I wasn’t sure I was actually going to have the opportunity to show but it turned out to be so busy that I had to run a few appointments on my own. I was so nervous my first time showing but after going through the collection a few times with the buyers I could feel myself relaxing. All of the buyers I met with were very nice but you could tell that they had been sitting through a lot of different presentations and sometimes they looked like they couldn’t wait for you to be finished, which did not help with nerves! I was so happy that my bosses trusted me enough to present to the buyers and that they seemed really happy with how I did at the end.

Another fun part of going to the show was that we got to wear Shoshanna and keep what we wear. I loved what I got to wear because none of the dresses were styles I normally would choose. The first day I wore a culotte jumpsuit, which was defiantly the most abnormal look for me. When culottes became a trend I was hesitant to try them because I remembered wear a version of them as a little kid and looking back I would not repeat my outfits from back then. I tried the jumpsuit on a whim and I am so glad I did! Now that I understand more about how to dress for my figure I was able to pair the jumpsuit with much better accessories then when I was younger and it ended up being very flattering. I am officially a culotte convert and I can already tell I will get a lot more use out of the jumpsuit then I ever would have thought!

Shopaholic

     Being a D&M student in a new city, I've done what any of my fellow white girls would do by shopping as much as possible. Since arriving in September I've done my best to visit any, and every, store relevant to my style in the Montreal area. I did some research prior to arriving, so I had a nice little checklist to go through. In all honesty, the general fashion sense of Montreal isn't very impressive, so many of the stores have reflected that. I riffled through quite a few misses, stocking whatever brands, slowly wearing down any hope I had for the area. 
     My biggest disappointment came from a store I was sure would be great, Ssense. Massive online retailer Ssense is based in Montreal, with both their flagship store and warehouse located inside the city limits. I was very excited to visit Ssense and check out what they had to offer, but things changed once I got inside. Online they carry a diverse range of designers, however in store the only men's collections they carry are clearly geared towards rappers/rapper wannabes. This left me a little disappointed, seeing as I wasn't in the market for Marcelo Burlon t-shirts and star-studded Givenchy sneakers. I shrugged it off though, accepting defeat and concluding that there were in fact zero good stores in Montreal. A couple of months later I did find a silver lining to Ssense though. I learned that you have the option to have things brought from the webstore warehouse to the flagship store to try on and purchase. This was helpful when I found a pair of Common Projects I liked online, and was able to have them brought in prior to purchase to try on. 
     After being in Montreal for a few months, I read about a store that carries Naked and Famous while at work doing research. Les Etoffes is a small boutique that specializes in upscale brands, both progressive and classic. Upon arriving I was impressed with the carefully chosen stock of tasteful pieces, with just enough edge. I spoke with the co-owner for a good while, getting her take on how her and her boyfriend went about curating the selection. It was very nice to find that there were other people in Montreal who share a love for clothing, even though she confirmed my suspicions that the city is overall disinterested in fashion. Even though I couldn't afford to make any purchases, I left the store satisfied from their thoughtful and caring approach. 
     Another great local find I was able to discover through research at work was a brand named Superfluous Culture. I found the brand's lookbook online, and was thoroughly impressed with the outside the box silhouettes and materials used. I was determined to see some of it in person if possible, so I began looking up potential stockists. I came to learn that the brand isn't carried in any stores yet, and can only be viewed online or at the owner's home studio. Obviously I knew I had to go with the second option and view it straight from the source. I got the contact information from his website, and set an appointment to view the collection the following day. He ended up living not too far from me, making it a convenient outing. After my arrival and introduction, he began taking me through the collection piece by piece. We talked extensively about his inspiration, material sourcing/selection and production process. I learned a lot of great information: from that one little old lady produces the entire collection by hand, to that he thought up the concept for the brand while tripping acid. All in all the meeting was interesting and insightful, and he was even kind enough to offer me an open invitation to his home and a 15% discount on any future purchases. I haven't yet taken him up on his discount, but have remained in contact since and hope to continue to do so after moving back to the US.
     These two gems of Montreal, boutique and brand, have proven to tide over my shopping desires during my time here, but even more importantly have given me the opportunity to meet and converse with others who hold just as strong of a passion for clothing as I do. 



 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New York Fashion Week at 80 West 40th Street

           As most of New York was buzzing with all the New York Fashion Week madness this past week, the Rebecca Taylor offices were relatively calm. This year Rebecca Taylor decided to not put on a fashion show, which honestly was a little disappointing to me. I went into my co-op super excited to be able to participate in NYFW and be able to help put together a show for Rebecca Taylor. I know Rebecca Taylor and the rest of the company had great reasons for not doing a fashion show this year and they have many exciting things in store for the future.
            Instead of a fashion show we decided to attack the publicity a little differently. We invited numerous editors and reporters to get first sees of our Fall 2015 collection in person. We also set up interviews for Rebecca to get featured in publications to make sure her name got out there during fashion week. Most of our work was done prior to fashion week, so I know my bosses were kind of happy to not have to deal with the craze of NYFW stress.
            I am really excited about our new Fall 2015 collection though! It is beautiful and I need every dress!! It is such a good representation of what Rebecca Taylor is all about and I encourage everyone to check it out on style.com. All of the editor meetings took place in our office and Rebecca Taylor herself was there for every meeting. It was such a unique experience getting to hear her talk about the collection. I got to hear where her inspiration comes from and her personal connection with the collection. No matter how wonderful you think the clothes are you get a whole new appreciation for them and the designer when you hear how the collection came to be from their own point of view. This NYFW wasn’t exactly what I was expecting to see while I was here for co-op, but it still gave me great insight into the enormous amount of work it takes to participate in this huge event.  
             

            

It's all business

    Recently at work, there have been meetings upon meetings going over how, as a whole, the company can be more profitable. Naturally, that is the objective of any business. A lot of things have been changing, which I'm sure will be for the better. Derek Lam is still a relatively small and new company so I am seeing how they are learning from their mistakes, and ironing out the creases as they grow. It is interesting to see the business aspect of the company and how every little detail can make or break profitability. Currently in the production department, we are switching to a lot of different vendors. We switched over nearly all of our patterns to a different company, our samples are now being made elsewhere, and our NYC based production factory has switched as well. Today I had to go to one of our cutting factories and explain to them that all of our fabrics are going to be picked up this week and moved to another factory. It is a little sad telling someone that you are no longer going to be giving them your business, but I guess that's why they call it business.

    On a lighter note, my mom came to visit me over the weekend which was a blast. We went to see a broadway show, Beautiful, which was awesome, I definitely suggest it! I feel like we spent the whole weekend eating because there are just too many good restaurants to go to in NYC! I have a list of one's I'm trying to get to before I leave next month. We also did a little shopping and some exploring but it was brutal considering the freezing cold weather. My mom left Saturday night before the snow started and I gladly spent the night in drinking wine and watching Netflix.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bold Lip Trends

Through my Co-op, I've been asked to model for different TV segments. The past two segments have been a lot of fun but I was bummed that I never got my hair and make up done. Lucky for me this past segment I did! I got to model for NBC Live Beauty Trend segment on the trend of bold lips. I've only gotten my make up done for Prom. I'm horrible with make up. I don't know what to do with it and always need help. Luckily, my best friends and amazing at make up and always help me. For the segment, I got my make up done by this adorable chic Asian man. He was very nice and did an amazing job! My trend was bold red lips, which is one of my favorite colors to wear! My make up artist did such an incredible job that I didn't want to take it off! But sadly I went to the gym after so most of my make up came off expect for my eyeliner! He did a beautiful cat eye, which to this day I still cannot do. The segment was with two of my co-workers who work on the beauty team. We all had a blast! The segment hasn't aired yet so I'm looking forward to seeing how it looks. Hopefully, I wasn't too awkward.


This past weekend my parents visited from Boston. Of course the weekend they came was one of the coldest weekend we've had so far! My parents are used to the cold because they live in Boston and were happy to get away from the snow. We all bundled up and walked around NYC and did some shopping. That night we had dinner with my boyfriend, James at my favorite Greek restaurant, Milos. We had an incredible meal filled with lots of laughing. I can't believe I have less than a month in NYC! I'm so sad to leave and dreading the day! I'm excited to go back to my friends but sad to leave my job, boyfriend and the friends I've made while living here.