September 3, 2015 § Leave a comment
I never quite knew what fashion show/event production entailed until I was in it.
In school, during the very brief classes on the topic, we were primarily taught what to prepare in a kit and how to properly tape the soles of shoes to prevent damages (and thus return them to the store “as good as new”). But it was more directed to stylists than to anyone else.
So here’s a crash course.
Production involves thinking about EVERYTHING that needs to happen for a show or event to be successful. That also means A LOT of research and price comparisons because at the end of the day, you have to come in within a client’s budget which could be very limited or, if you’re fortunate, limitless! It also includes bringing the set design to life as well as all the crazy that’s happening backstage.
It’s a numbers game.
How many chairs/benches? How many guests? How $?
Backstage catering? For how many people? Breakfast, lunch, dinner? How $?
Dinner event? How many people? How many courses? How many plates/silverware/glasses? How $?
Renting tables, chairs, stools, racks, steamers, etc.? How $?
And that tip of the iceberg doesn’t even touch on the set! 1000 candles needed? What size? Colour? In a holder? What style? Glass or other? Rush shipping? Local or from overseas? How $?
Of course, there’s all the backstage supplies still to budget in. Like setting up a temporary office. Paper, printer, ink, pens/pencils, sharpies, Windex, tape, gaff tape, carpet tape and painters tape, etc. How $?
If this thinking doesn’t excite you, it’s the not the job for you.
The perks are great too. Like attending said events! I mean, obviously you’re still on the clock making sure everything runs smoothly. But unless you’re in the know and have the right contacts, how else would you get to go?
August 4, 2015 § 2 Comments
When I was near graduating from university one of my best friends said this to me: (after I excitedly shared my career choice idea – which I ended up not pursuing anyways!)
“This is the first time in a long time that you finally have a sense of direction.”
And that really stuck with me. (For one, she called me out on it!) I feel I grew up more sure of myself than not. And by this I mean focus not sense of self. For her to see that I was drifting to nowhere in general, well… Moving on.
It’s a pleasant surprise that now, while thinking and writing this, I should find myself in a very familiar situation. Except that instead of Jenny telling me I’ve gained control of my personal compass, I’M telling ME I’ve gained control of my personal compass! And boy, I’m feeling good.
When I graduated from fashion school a couple years later, I knew I would be a fashion designer. I went to business school to better understand how to run my own business one day; I created dresses for myself for any sort of get-together just so I could keep honing my skills in pattern drafting; I pushed until I had the opportunity to intern in NYC. I knew that everything I did would lead to that one thing.
About 4 years later, I fell out of like/ lust/ love with fashion design for a myriad of reasons. And I began to question my place in the industry. More specifically, I questioned if I wanted a place within the industry (and alongside a few trolls who set up shop under the façade of a bridge). This propelled me to puddle jump to London, UK with the hopes I would find inspiration, creativity, and myself again.
To my dismay, I became even more uncertain. Uninspired. Uncreative. And questioning my skill set and experiences to boot. I did realize, and most importantly, that I wanted a place within fashion afterall. And so, for the next 2 years it became an epic internal battle of tooth and nail – of maintaining a stranglehold on the dream of Designer, or relinquishing it. I jumped from one idea to the next and pursued leads as a means of a process of elimination. Until…
I find myself once again in familiar territory – back in New York City and interning. And I’m gaining the confidence and self-assurance I once had as an enthusiastic 20-something year old. Now I’m an enthusiastic 30-something year old and back on track!
Until the time I’m ready to have my own label, my own brand, and a strong anchor to keep me there… Show and event production for high-end and luxury brands. That’s my place. Research, research, research.
July 19, 2015 § 2 Comments
3 years, 2 months, 21 days.
That’s how much time has passed since my last letter.
I guess the fair thing to do is to catch you up (briefly, perhaps succinctly) on what’s happened since. So bear with me and maybe we’ll get through this retrospective with our eyeballs still in our sockets.
– I moved in with the Queen! No, not really but I did move to her kingdom of London, UK for 2 years where I picked up lovely words to include to my vastly growing vocabularic repertoire. Words such as loo (washroom), trousers (pants), bin (garbage), twat and wanker (must point out examples, words will not suffice). And I became a lush for beer and European pub culture.
– I stepped away from design. And tried vehemently to seek other perspectives and roles still within fashion. (Depending on your thoughts about my body of work this could be Yay or Nay.)
– I fell in love. And yes, it’s as magical as the birds are free in flight.
– I worked (for pay – freakin’ finally!) in fashion. As a model agent for a small commercial agency in Central London.
– I was “kicked out” aka my work visa expired from my beloved home of London and “forced” to return to Canada.
– My Love ended our relationship due to the distance of a measly pond between the 2 of us.
– My 30th birthday was the worst of my life. Whoever said 30 was the new 20 was clearly not undergoing feelings of displacement, abandonment, and as if your entire being was simultaneously getting crushed, stomped on, and ripped apart. (Needless to say, I spent the whole summer in bed + crying + confused.) #FirstWorldProblems
And from misfortune arises opportunity.
– I decided to travel to NYC in the approaching year to gain understanding in the fairly “unknown” world of Model Casting. (Which I’m happy to share I did! And what I can also share is this: it’s not necessarily the role best suited to me. The search continues. Albeit, another step closer.)
– I prolonged my stay to see if Events/ Show Production was more up my alley. (Which I’m happy to share it is! So far. I’ve yet to experience the full breadth of what this role entails.)
– My cousin took me on a day trip to The Hamptons which surprisingly, re-awakened the designer in me! And it also re-opened my eyes to the potential and possibilities of my life. Things may or may not be brewing. (The Hamptons! – who would’ve thunk?)
Which brings us to current day.
April 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
My sister once reminded me: “The only person you can depend on is yourself.” You can’t expect others ie. friends, parents, siblings, etc, to be there for you because chances are, they won’t.
I’m not one to ask for help (unless it’s something like carrying a ridiculously heavy box although I will make an attempt). It’s not because I think I’m some sort of wonder woman who can achieve it all on her own. No, it’s because I’ve never asked for it even growing up as a child. So of course it just carried over into my adult years.
So when I do ask a friend(s) for assistance, it’s because I really need it. (And usually there’s a time constraint – poor planning on my part!)
More often than not I am left disappointed. And so I ask:
Have we as a species become so self-involved that we can’t or won’t help each other out (unless it benefits us as well) OR have we evolved into a species whose expectations are set too high that we can’t help but be disappointed when those expectations aren’t reached?
My uncle once said to me: “You’re a cute and nice girl, people will want to help you! So just ask for it! ” And he was partially right. What is odd though is that strangers (Strangers!?!) will help me out, no problem! Not all of them, but a lot of them.
Or maybe I’m mistaking help for courtesy… Can they be the same thing?
September 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
It’s funny how life works. Things happen or people come into your life when you least expect it or even when you’re not looking. Which is exactly what happened to me.
I met a man. A complete and utter gentleman to be precise. European and oozing sexiness.
He was different from anyone I’ve ever met or dated. And I’m not just saying that. Although our relationship was (unfortunately) short-lived, I can’t recall ever having the sort of connection that I had with him with anyone else. And we both agreed that though we didn’t know why, we felt strongly for each other after knowing one another only a little while.
My friend, Mandy used to tell me that when it came to men, I deserved better than what I had. I always disagreed with her. But upon meeting my NY romance – ‘A’ as he will be called, I can honestly say she’s been right all along.
Now, I’ve always had high standards. With most things. But especially when it came to the opposite sex. A friend of a friend last summer even said to me one night: “You look like you say ‘no’ to a lot of guys”. Hmmmm… interesting. I say it’s… intimidation. Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing I’m not sure but personally, I don’t think it’s all bad.
With this new (and welcome) perspective on how I should and deserve to be treated (thanks largely to ‘A’), my standards in relation to men have risen exponentially. Personally, I don’t think it’s all bad.
I hope that one day, our paths will cross once again and just maybe we’ll pick up where we left off and have the time and opportunity to see how far things could actually go.
September 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
1 year later and I finally went back to NYC. Don’t get too excited now – it was only for vacation. And boy oh boy was it ever wonderful.
Truth be told, I was quite nervous for my return. Although I had left NYC with amazing memories and experiences, I also felt the loneliness that that city can project on an individual even when he/she is standing in the middle of a crowd in Times Square on a late summer’s night. At the time, I took it as a nudge from the Universe that it was my time to leave – even if temporarily. But the time had come nonetheless. So, you can understand my hesitancy. What if NYC still hated me? What if it was too soon of a return? What if..What if..What if..
To my relief, at the first sight of those bright yellow taxis from the bus window, I felt at home once again. And all I could do was smile – from 34th and 7th all the way to my old apartment on 89th and 3rd whilst soaking in all the sights from the backseat of my cab.
And just like when we first moved into our charming and humble abode, Nats came down the stairs, greeted me with a gigantic bear hug, and then we struggled up the 4 flights of stairs – giggling and laughing the entire time!
July 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
I read a really great tweet from a friend awhile back that said: “Keep your head, heels, and standards high.”
Amen to that.
And when it comes to consistency of branding, (high) standards are of utmost importance. And of even more importance, don’t let anyone make you feel like your standards are too high. Ever. If you start to feel like your wits are wavering, bite your tongue and lift your chin up in defiance. Even if you don’t make one peep in your defense, hold you ground. Others will (or should see) from your carriage that you won’t budge.
Excuse me, and not to be rude but if you’re idea of high standards is my idea of mediocrity, I don’t want to hear your opinion.
I say that I’ve got a “Fuck You” stamped into the inside of my forehead. And it acts much like Harry Potter’s scar! It glows red hot and I can “see” it all whilst keeping my cool and calm on the exterior. It’s sort of like a little victory if that makes any sense.
Can I get an Amen-
May 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
I don’t know how many times I should repeat myself. Get yourself a Publicist!
If you’re a designer, your primary (if not entire) focus should be your designs. And when you’re gearing up for a show you really can’t afford to divide your time in half to: 1) complete your designs – and still be proud enough of them to show to the general public; and 2) market yourself – get press, send invites, receive RSVPs should your event require them.. blah blah blah.
You need to send out press kits and releases if you want any media attention. Easy as pie, right? Hmm.. Far from. PR is a job unto itself. So if you want to keep your sanity, take my advice. If you can’t afford one – ask around. I’m sure there is a giant pool of PR students and recent graduates out there for you to scoop up. Or if you’re lucky, you have a friend who’s an aspiring publicist who is ready (and eager) to jump on board with you and you can learn the ropes together. And if you absolutely have to – you can always, always ask your mom for help. Mom’s most often always come in for the rescue.
And on another high note, your publicist will give you an honest opinion on most anything if you ask for it! Mine does. She’s told me flat out that I need to push my designs to the next level. She’s also given me a great motivational book to help me get my shit together. She’s awesome like that. And no, she’s not my mom. But my mom’s kinda awesome too.
May 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
When you think you’ve learned more of who you are as a person and artist, you end up getting lost again.
It’s a casualty of growing up. Or rather, it’s a constant. And although it’s a part of the evolution of ourselves into a (hopefully) better and stronger individual – it can get downright frustrating and annoying at times.
I’ve been struggling with this identity crisis as an artist on and off for the past couple of years. More often than not, I’ve felt like I’ve been meandering in a shallow rut as a fashion designer. That didn’t come out right. I don’t mean that I’m stuck being a fashion designer but rather my designs are currently stuck on a one way road. It’s too.. one note. Fashion, like most all other art forms is supposed to push the envelope and make people react in some way or elicit some sort of emotion. Any emotion. Not make people think: “Oh, that’s pretty.” PRETTY is not an emotion nor is it a reaction. PRETTY is passive. PRETTY, to some degree can be detrimental and even derogatory. To many of us in a creative occupation (or maybe just to myself), PRETTY can equal blasé and thus…forgettable.
I for one don’t want to be forgettable. I for one don’t want my work to be described as “pretty”. It sounds like a lack of that good gritty stuff called Substance.
So what do you do when one is in constant state of “lost”?
Hell if I know.
Maybe that’s why more recently, I haven’t been able to sketch a decent thing for next season’s collection. My chosen inspiration has already been “done”. Any potential ideas have already been “done”. There’s no creative juices flowing, no spark of inspiration. I can’t figure out how to push the envelope for my designs. And maybe that’s it – I’m not being challenged or rather, I’m not challenging myself. I just do a really good job making it sound like I’ve got shit under control.
“And therein lies the rub.”
I guess the only solace I can take away from this is 1) The rut I’m in is shallow meaning I can still get out of it; and 2) My views on my one tune design aesthetic is current which points to an eventual shift or change. Hopefully in the very, very near future.
Maybe I just need to dig a little deeper – find that thing, that certain inspiring entity that’ll get my wheels turning. Keep working on projects that will allow me to push my creative limits a little further and not have to think of marketability and potential sales down the road. Because really I think most of us know that if we do what we love for the money, in most cases than not, we lose that passion. And that would be a shame.