Thursday, October 23, 2014

"More Grosgrain, Please!" (& Other Things That Happened This Week)

     It’s been yet another week of hats, so let’s talk vocabulary and then conservation:

Seam allowance: The area between the edge of a piece of fabric and the seam or line of stitching that attaches it to at least one more layer of fabric or material. Ultimately this extra fabric allows for a garment to be let out, if need be.

Millinery: Essentially, hat-making – often specifically for a female clientele base. We’re not talking beanies and baseball caps, though. To get a more (stereo)typical idea of millinery, think of the hats that are associated with women at horse races. Or, you know, even the things that Lady Gaga wears on her head from time to time.

Grosgrain: A kind of ribbon characterized by its relative stiffness and ribbed texture/pattern, which is often used in millinery.

    (Bear with me, and eventually we’ll get to how this ties into conservation.)

    If I hadn’t mentioned before, the FHCC is a specialized space. We use dimmable lights, maintain a generally chilly temperature, handle items with gloves, etc. Not only that, but our “closet space” actually runs on a track so that each aisle can be open and shut by turning a wheel – successfully eliminating more light from getting to garments that we aren’t looking at or using. We use archival-quality tissue and non-acidic tags with brass safety pins, we use pencil rather than ink…ultimately, we do the absolute best we can with our resources to make sure that the things we are given are stored in a healthy way.

    And while sticking a pin into a garment may seem rather unhealthy, we’re taught to put them into the “safest” places. For example, many garments have a seam allowance that provides a great spot to put a pin for a tag, as it doesn’t interfere with any visible part of the item/won’t cause harm. Think about the inside of a pant leg or sleeve. In the case of hats, however, it’s not that simple. This is where the grosgrain comes in. Luckily for us, grosgrain ribbon is a popular material for the inside bands of hats, and provides a perfect material to pin into. It’s an intern’s dream, really.

    But I’m not always so lucky. Sometimes I can’t find a good place to put a pin, and in that case I will either reach out to someone else for advice, or I will simply put the tag in the most accessible place and forgo a pin. With hats, this can often end up being the case. If not pinned, a tag will be placed in the hat between the shape-holding puffs of tissue and the hat itself. I often find myself pining for just a little grosgrain or something

    Anyhow, I’ve gotten to look at quite a variety of hats in the past 3 days, with the oldest being around 200 years old! (Look for a light brown straw bonnet with a dark brown ribbon.) Here are my favorites/most noted:

    On another note, it is so sad to hear of Oscar de la Renta’s death. The fashion world has lost one of its superstars and its “Sultan of Suave”. His legacy will live on through his beautiful designs. Our Collections Manager pulled this piece for the Facebook page and I thought I’d share it, too. This gorgeous silk jacket is from his Fall Ready-to-Wear collection in 1989.  

Another New Start

This past week at work has been much quieter then those before in part because Monday was a holiday for so many people. While my office was open it was clear that many of the people we work with were not as there were not as many calls or meetings as there usually are on a Monday. However come Tuesday, I could tell that some people were trying to play catch-up from having the day off. The increase of garments coming in and going out was much more then I had thought it would be! It did make me thankful that we had been there the day before so I could get some simple housekeeping like tasks done that, while not exciting were helpful to the women I work for.
While things were quite at Shoshanna this week I was busy finding a second job to fill my time with when I am not in the office. I ended up finding a sales position at Kate Spade, which was exactly what I was hoping to get! The store is small but beautifully laid out which is very similar to the retail store I worked in when I was in high school so I believe this will the perfect fit for me. Since the store, and the staff is so small, the manager said I could be helping with some visual merchandising once she saw that I was a D&M student. I am hoping that she keeps her word on this as it would add something more interesting to the work as well as would be great to add to my resume.

Another reason I am looking forward to working at Kate Spade is because of the nature of the company. In my interview it was stressed that Kate Spade is a real life style brand that puts as much focus on building a relationship with the costumer as it does on selling product. I know as s consumer this is something that I really like when stores do because it makes me feel as though I can trust the product and I am getting someone’s honest opinion instead of having worthless product pushed on me. I am happy to be working for a company that also finds this to be important and I can’t wait for the paperwork to be finished so I can start working. Until then I am looking forward to going to Philly again for one of my best friends birthdays this weekend!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Off To The Races

Well, it's officially beginning to get cold. I also officially have  a cold. The problem with me getting a cold is that once it starts, I never seem to fully recover. This is usually because I never give myself a chance to slow down, and with my current schedule I don't expect things to be any different. 

Rather than relaxing this past weekend, I went to the Far Hills Steeple Chase in North Jersey. Having never been to a horse race before, it was a lot of fun seeing everyone dressed up with their huge tables full of food and drinks. I even managed to get into a conversation with a woman who happens to be the head of bridal at Nicole Miller and she told me to add her on LinkedIn. Looks like I am learning to network after all.

Upon returning to the city on Sunday, I had to meet up with the guitarist in Red Oblivion, a band that is playing at CMJ festival in New York this week. I honestly have never really conducted an interview before, so I was a bit nervous, but in the end everything ended up okay and thankfully I had another intern helping me out. Things to seem to get extra busy when I am asked to do work for Galore on days where I am not working, because after working at Michael Kors 9-6, I hardly have time for myself. "Make it work" is essentially my motto from here on out. Thankfully work has been picking up at Michael Kors as well, I even got do some work coloring in sketches for possible Fall 15 color ways, which was a lot of fun. Hopefully this weekend I will get a little bit more time to relax since I will be staying in the city all weekend, and the prescription medication I had my Dad call me in will help also.

Sick Day

Unfortunately, today I'm home sick. Woke up this morning with a fever and completely drained. I think this weekend celebrating my best friends Nicole's Birthday completely wiped me out. I also wake up at 6:00 AM every morning to go to the gym and have a busy day at work. I think my body was just begging to rest and for a break. I really do miss Philly. Seeing all my friends this past weekend was such a blast and was even harder to say goodbye. While I do love living in NYC, I still feel like I'm missing out in Philly. It makes it harder to go back because then I miss Philly even more. I'm excited for this weekend because my best friend Nicole is visiting. On Saturday, I got her tickets to see Mamma Mia for her birthday. It's one of her favorite musicals and she's never seen it before. It's going to be an absolute blast. We both know all the words to every song so it's going to difficult not to sing-a-long at the show.

Luckily my fever has gone down but I'm still pretty exhausted. Hopefully I'll feel better by tonight because I start my first babysitting job tonight. It's a family with three girls. My aunt who lives in the city emailed all her friends who have kids and they emailed their mommy groups. So I've been getting emails and calls nonstop from mom's who need a babysitter. I'm very excited because it'll be really nice to have some spending money. Plus I love babysitting. I'm also babysitting a few other nights this week so I'll have some spending money for this weekend, which will be nice. Hopefully I'll feel better and will be ready for work tomorrow.

Nothing Like Feeling Appreciated

It is crazy to me how fast my experience at Tommy Hilfiger is passing by. By this time, I feel like I finally have the ins and outs of my duties down and I have made connections in several different departments of the company. With graduation approaching this June, it is so refreshing to have found a sector within the fashion industry that I have fallen head over heels in love with. Not only has my job been incredible, but the people I work with fall nothing short of amazing! They encourage me to work my hardest, have fun with each opportunity, and make independent decisions that actually matter.

This week I will be working on a still shoot for the photographs that will enter the spring 2015 directives, instructing stores on how to style their product. I was ecstatic last Friday when I heard that I would be working on set with the team that I had started my first week with. As soon as I arrived on refurbish, my supervisor brought me back to the studio to inform the stylists and photographer I would be working with them yet again. The team works with plenty of interns from all different departments so my supervisor tried to reintroduce me to each of the team members, but was cutoff by the photographer who stated, "Oh, we remember her, she did an amazing job!" At that moment, I felt on top of the world with the biggest grin on my face, extremely appreciative of his kind words.

I went on to carry out the tasks I knew needed to be done; prepping, steaming...the usual. Every now and then the womenswear stylist would ask my opinion on how I thought we should style certain pieces and offered advice on standards from the company. The best part of the day was when she asked if I could style all of the polos for a group shot after she said she was so pleased with how I had done it last time. As if I wasn't excited enough at this point, I had asked the stylist on what she wanted as far as placement and color order, to which she replied, "You can do whatever you want, it's your shot!" What a way to end the work week! At that moment, I truly felt like part of the team.  There really is no sensation greater than being appreciated. I look forward to working this week, a feeling that I hope to have with my career after graduation. Spring 2015 directives, I'm ready for you!

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Busy Week Ahead!

More and more gift cards…It is a busy and exciting week at Cashman and Associates! One of Michelle’s clients is finally opening its doors in Center City. Since I have stuffed a majority of the gift bags for the event, I get to work it as well. I am very excited. I am not sure what to expect but during the last event I volunteered to work, my job was to follow the photographer around and get the names of everyone he photographed. Before this internship began, I didn’t know that what I was doing was an actual job. I always thought someone just googled all of these people, which now seems ridiculous. As simple as it sounds, it was actually very difficult. I had to make sure I was spelling each name correct, which is difficult when there are so many people approaching you at once. I also needed to know whom they worked for and why they were at the event. The photographer wasn’t helping my job either. He was moving so fast I almost couldn’t keep up. However, I hope this event is different and I have a different job. I am just excited to be able to go to the event and see it all come together and all our hard work to pay off.

After talking to some of the other interns, I learned that I am the only one that has used the printer, updated binders, and continuously checks on my executive’s clients. This made me feel better because I started much later than all the other interns and thought I was at a disadvantage, but I guess I was wrong. I also found out that Michelle trusts me with many more tasks than the other executives trust their interns. This made me happy, but it also got me to thinking about what the other interns do all day…

Friday, October 17, 2014

Growing Pains

    Despite only working one day at the FHCC this week, I’m exhausted.

    To sum things up, I volunteered at an event on Sunday, didn’t have work on Monday, and was sick at home on Tuesday. And, you know, other stuff.

    Wednesday was the day of the Ciao Bella event for DesignPhiladelphia. Earlier in the day, we finalized what shoes would be included in the viewing. One of the last additions was a donation from one of the graduate students in Westphal – a pair of Emilio Pucci wedges. Because we didn’t know much about them, I was given the task of finding a date to put with them.

    The best way for me to go about this would have been to check the Vogue archives or archives. Unfortunately, my eye is not “calibrated” to date anything, not even remotely (This is something that one develops with time.) So, I just had to input descriptors into Google and see what I got. I was able to find an image of the shoes very quickly, but not so much link them to a specific year or season. Eventually, with a few more tweaks in keywords, I found a video of the Emilio Pucci 2007 Spring/Summer Ready-to-Wear show. Coming down the catwalk were the shoes I had right next to me! Honestly, how cool is that?

    Once all the decisions were made about Ciao Bella, I went to work looking at accessories – hat pins, hair accessories, and hats. They had been taken out and examined to find possibilities for the exhibition, but many of them didn’t have updated tags. As usual, tagging became my job and I got to look at every pretty, shiny piece up close. My favorite items were a set of two hat pins with real beetle shells on the ends. While I do feel a little bad for the beetles, they were absolutely gorgeous.

    I didn’t take any photos of the hats or hair accessories, but seeing the fancy hair combs made me think of my 90-something-year-old great-grandmother. She, from what I know, has worn her hair the same way every day for many, many years. This hairstyle, naturally, involves multiple combs inserted into the hair. I think it’s so interesting that an item as random as a hair comb can evoke such strong feeling and/or memory.

    Later in the evening, after work, I came back to hear the Ciao Bella lecture and help with crowd control at the viewing. I really did enjoy the lecture and appreciated that a small number of people in attendance meant less pressure on us to make sure nothing happened to the objects in the collection.

    I failed to mention my other job in my past posts, though, and feel that I should probably mention it now to give you the whole picture of my life as a Co-Op student. Thursday-Saturday I work at a gift-shop in Old City all day. So in a normal week, I work 6 days and have Sunday off. The transition isn’t exactly rough, but it hasn’t been easy, either. From looking at the posts from my peers, it looks they’re all experiencing this same “grown-up” exhaustion as I am, and realizing how different the college lifestyle is than that of someone who’s working full time.

    At the moment, I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’ll keep you all posted. This might get deeper than I thought it would.