Updated: Oct 6
In my last blog I gave a brief life update and shared my new favorite fall fashion trend. However, since LIV in Style serves as a digital diary for me, and all of you, I decided to document how I got to New York leading up to my New York Fashion Week escapades.
For the sake of brevity let's condense the last 5 months into bullet points:
May 3rd - after months of tireless job searching I got an interview with a PR firm that specialized in fashion and beauty in New York City to be their Fashion PR Intern
May 4th - I had my second interview with the PR firm
May 6th - I graduated with a degree in Marketing with minors in Arabic and Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Michigan State University
May 10th - I got the email confirming I had gotten the internship
May 13th - I secured an apartment I found in a Facebook group specifically for women moving to the city
May 26th - I moved to New York City with my whole family Memorial weekend
May 30th - I started my internship in SoHo at L.E.R. PR
September 12th - I worked and attended my first ever New York Fashion Week (NYFW) show with designer Tanner Fletcher
September 13th - I worked and attended my second show with Wenjüe Lu
September 15th - my internship ended because the firm was not currently hiring for paid positions
Present day I have picked back up the glorious task of job searching while simultaneously working for an independent magazine, See the ACT, and interning for a wedding planner
If reading that gave you anxiety, imagine what I'm feeling. Ha! In all seriousness I want this blog to be as transparent as possible. I wish someone would have given me raw and real advice at the beginning of my senior year of college explaining what it would be like to find a job in fashion post-graduation with a marketing degree, especially in New York. Would I have listened? Definitely not. New York was, and is, my dream! I am so proud of myself for taking the leap to move out here. I can also proudly say I have zero regrets, a thicker skin, and have developed a new skill for finding free things. My peers, relatives, and friends always remind me that your 20s are for being bold, broke, and a little bit stupid. How else are you gonna learn?!
And learn I did...
It is imperative to note that I would not be doing any of this without the support and help of my parents. Without them I would not be in this city doing what I'm doing. I owe them everything!! Dad, Mom, Madeline, and Mia thank you for always believing in me. I am so thankful to have kickstarted this journey with the people I love most. You are my motivation, my drive, my grit, and the reason I always get back up after tumbling down.
When I found out that I was officially moving to New York, my entire family canceled their Memorial Day weekend plans. The 5 of us flew to New York, each family member with a checked bag full of my belongings. I shrink wrapped my duvet, pillows, beloved stuffed animals, and virtually anything that would shrink in order to fit my whole life into 5 bags.
I am extremely lucky to have not only moved into a rent controlled building with an elevator (rare), but to have moved into a space previously occupied by my now roommates for the last 2 years. The Facebook listing I found was for two girls looking for a third roommate. The three of them met in college and had been living together in the city until one was offered a new job in California. This meant that the apartment was fully furnished by them, including the room I moved into. I ended up buying the bed frame and mattress from their roommate who was moving out, and she left her modular closet intact for me to use.
*Side note: I am now friends with all three of them and am so grateful to have big sister figures in the city :)))
With only a few trips to Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, and Target my little bedroom was fully moved into in a matter of hours. The rest of the weekend my family and I explored my new neighborhood, ate amazing food, and wandered around Manhattan trying to memorize street names and numbers.
My family left on Memorial Day with 5 empty luggages. We hugged and cried and finally said our goodbyes. Little did they know I would become a part of the Spirit Savers Club and fly home frequently to see them. Can't get rid of me that easily! In all seriousness when your one way flight home is $25 dollars (the same price as a cocktail in New York) it's quite easy justifying flying home for the weekend.
Working in fashion PR was a trip. I lived my Devil Wears Prada dreams every time I had to run an errand carrying a 15 pound garment bag in 90 degree weather on the subway. I sweat a lot this summer and September. A lot.
Our office doubled as a showroom, like most fashion PR firms in New York, showcasing racks of our clients pieces. Stylists and editors would frequently pull items from our showroom to be used in editorial magazine shoots and worn by celebrities for events, red carpets, and press days. If the stylist didn't come to the office in person I would take their pulls from the showroom and walk them to their doorstep. I once picked up a pull from a client after fashion week and they answered the door in a robe, makeup on from the night before, and a pitch black apartment at 1 PM. They cracked open the door and shot out an arm holding a garment bag and a mumbled thanks. After that I walked another 20 minutes back to the office.
Since my degree is in marketing, this internship helped me build my knowledge of what it means to work in public relations and the fashion industry as a whole. This experience was truly invaluable. This internship allowed me to build my personal network with people I would have never had the chance to meet on my own. I am grateful to now have a handful of photographers, designers, influencers, editors, and other PR professionals I could reach out to for future projects or advice.
In the last 2 months of my internship we started to heavily focus on New York Fashion Week (NYFW). The summer is a bit slow on the events side of PR due to everyone being on vacation, so NYFW was my first event with the firm. We got an outpouring of email requests every day leading up until NYFW to attend our client's show. I helped sift through the invites to curate our RSVP list. It was surreal seeing emails from top magazine editors writing for publications such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, you name it, they wanted to be at our show. I vetted influencers, models, and celebrities requesting to attend the show making sure they fit the vibe and had a substantial following on social media.
The weeks leading up until NYFW were my favorite. The office was bustling and we reported to the office Monday through Friday, instead of our regular hybrid schedule. During these busy and stressful weeks I felt our team becoming closer knit, and I loved that.
The day of our first show, the team wore chic all black outfits and walked in a pack from our office in SoHo to the venue in the West Village. I won't be coy, I felt very cool. It was a sort of I made it moment. That feeling was amplified the minute we made it to the venue. Models were in their never-before-seen Tanner Fletcher garments getting makeup touch-ups and practicing their walks. Venders were setting up the complimentary bar sponsored by Madre Mezcal and VOSS water while photographers piled into the photo pit to secure the best view of the runway. We PR people were given walkie talkies and labeled all the seats surrounding the runway while the string quartet and jazz vocalist Cait Jones warmed up.
I was not prepared for what came next. It was show time. The masses were lined up outside the door itching to get inside. Each member of our PR team, and security, was stationed at the door ready to scan tickets and show people to their seats (if they had one). The thing about fashion shows is seating matters and everyone attending knows it. We had top celebrities, editors, buyers, and influencers sitting front row. Then we filled in rows 2 and 3. Then we had people who's tickets said "unassigned" or "standing."
The doors unlocked and the people rapidly flooded in. I helped show JVN from Queer Eye to his seat, and got to help a number of influencers I have admired through my phone screen for years. I was on overdrive simultaneously fan girling while also doing my job and dealing with ornery guests unhappy about their seat assignments.
Miraculously everyone found a spot, seated or standing, and the show began. Tanner Fletcher's theatrical beauty pageant runway can best be described in this article from Hypebeast (click the hyperlink to read!). This was my first ever official NYFW show and I was in heaven. The show was magical and the after party was incredible. I chatted and networked with influencers I adored, fashion photographers, models, and even some editors.
The next day I put on my all black uniform to do it all over again at the Wenjuë Lu show in Long Island City. This was the brand's first ever appearance at NYFW. It is common for new designers to show at NYFW in the form of a presentation rather than a runway show when they are starting out.
Lulu (Wenjue) and Michael, the amazing creators of Wenjuë Lu, greeted us at the warehouse and walked us through the venue. Lulu, Michael, and their team had transformed the bare warehouse with installations, seating, and a fog machine. Their presentation titled "NEITHER" told the story of Plato's The Allegory of the Cave. To see visuals of this haunting yet mesmerizing presentation check out this article from Fucking Young!.
The check in process for the show was much tamer than the day before. The brand decided to hold two shows that day, one for press and one for friends and family. We handled the check in for both events. Although the sun was beating down and the ventilation in the warehouse was minimal, my experience working and getting to watch the Wenjuë Lu presentation was inspiring. The show's environment was oozing with creativity. I find this to be a common theme in New York City. There is an overflow of talent and innovation that is different from anything I have ever experienced.
Well, that's New York City in a nutshell so far!
Now that my internship is over I am back to job hunting, an excruciating experience to say the least. That being said I am happy to report that I have made progress! They call it the New York Shuffle - the act of working multiple jobs.
I am currently working as a PR and Events specialist at See the ACT, an independent print magazine in over 500 stores across the globe (including Barnes & Nobel!). So far my experience has reminded me of my time at VIM Magazine at Michigan State. My time at VIM was so incredible, however I didn't know if it was possible to recreate such a hands on experience post-graduation. To my delight working with Sam and Wassim at See the ACT has brought back the spark VIM once gave me. I am very excited to see where this chapter in my career journey takes me!
Aside from the magazine, I am also interning with Le Petite Prive, a full service wedding planning firm. Their work has been featured in Vogue, Martha Stewart Weddings, The Knot, and many more notable publications. I also recently received the news that I will be attending New York Bridal Fashion Week!
Lastly, I am still job hunting, interviewing, and doing paid influencer content on social media.
As of now my dream is to eventually be a full time event planner. My time at the PR firm and NYFW reminded me how much I enjoy the planning, and chaos, of events. As I continue to hustle new opportunities keep popping up when I least expect it. Although this job journey has taken quite the toll on my confidence, I am excited and eager to see what the future holds.
“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform” - Roy T. Bennett
Thank you for reading and remember to always LIV in Style :)
Until next time,