So this was the first major fashion event we've done as a brand and to be honest, it was kind of a shit show from about a week before we left. Thank god for the amazing team of friends and family I have around me!
© Alexander Körner / Getty Images / Messe Frankfurt
As you all probably know, I have worked in the fashion industry and I have seen a fair amount of madness go down. But let me tell you when it's your own brand and your own investment in your future and many other people's future, it becomes a whole new thing.
Just a little background, all of us at KATE have jobs to sustain ourselves while we are starting this amazing company, well except for me, Katie. I quit my waitressing job on December 31st at 10:30pm, basically to start 2016 free of assholes, that's the long and short of it. Anyway, that's an entirely different story!! So about a week before I was supposed to leave for Berlin with my business partner, I was having a particularly difficult day getting suppliers and printers to cooperate and get things finished before Berlin and I received a text message that says "I can't get the time off of work to go to Berlin with you". The panic sets in but I am like, "OK, it's OK I can figure this out, not a big deal. HAHAHA! Life so silly right! F$*k!" Ok so the thing is, in fashion we don't save lives, well with KATE I hope we will one day very soon but, we aren't doctor's or nurses or surgeons, nobody is going to die if a shirt or a person or a button doesn't make it to it's final destination, the world will still turn and the birds will still fly. However, in that moment I was thinking "HOW THE BLEEP AM I GOING TO DO THIS BY MYSELF?!" I started going through the list of objectives I had for Berlin and crossing off what I could live without. My biggest concern was the fashion show and having an empty booth, I needed to be in two places at once but obviously I am only one person. So as most mature grown, almost thirty year-old, women do in a major crisis, I called my mommy!! Who of course talked me off the ledge and helped me come up with a plan. So enters Rajiv!
God bless Rajiv! He was in England visiting his boyfriend for the holidays and was planned to return the day I was planning to leave. So instead he sat at the airport for 4 hours waiting for me to arrive to meet him and give him his ticket to Berlin. Ok so problem solved. Smooth sailing ahead! Thank God!
The night before I am set to leave for Berlin everything is packed and ready to go and I noticed that one of the zippers on our rhubarb leather dress had been cut up by my seamstress and it looked horrible. So the morning before my flight I was organizing the rest of what I needed for Berlin and searching all over hell's half acre for a freaking metal zipper. I finally found one in a cute little shop near my seamstress's home and flew to her apartment to have everything finished. The dress was finished and I was on my way to the airport 1.5 hours before my flight was scheduled to depart. OK so, I am in the Uber on my way and I am thinking alright, a little stressful but we are good! The collection is done and in the car and it looks great! Let's do this!
Rajiv and I got the cheapest and fastest flights to Berlin but were on different airlines. Both of our flights were delayed, making our short connections close to impossible to catch at this point and I was in the plane praying that it would all be good. I saw my luggage being loaded off the plane and I only had 5 gates to get to my next flight so it never even occurred to me that these delays were going to interfere with my bags getting on the plane. As I sat and worried that Rajiv wasn't going to make it, my bags decided to stay in Amsterdam and get high!
I got off the plane and got a text, while I waited for my bags to show up, from Rajiv saying that he was there safe and I was like oh thank god! Then after an hour of waiting I realized my bags were no where to be found and my entire 40 piece collection (which we were already too late to set up) was still in Amsterdam. Now let me tell you, I am generally a calm person, yoga, meditation and all that (as one of my dear friends puts it) zen shit. So as I walked to the baggage service area I was like ok think positive everything will be here, woo saaaa wooo saaa woo saaaa. Then the customer service rep said, " I am sorry miss but your bags are still in Amsterdam and they won't be here until (best case scenario) noon tomorrow" AND THAT"S THE MOMENT I BURST INTO TEARS in front of about 25 strangers and airport staff. We had already missed set up and now this man is telling me we will be in the middle of the showroom, OUR FIRST MAJOR FASHION EVENT, with no clothes! So as most mature grown, almost thirty year-old, women do in a major crisis, I called my mommy!!! And sobbed uncontrollably on the phone for a solid 30 minutes.
After I got over myself and the initial shock of it all, Rajiv and I got some killer food on the way to our Airbnb place and made jokes about re-naming the brand "The Emperor Has No Clothing Line" and explaining to everyone how organic and fair trade it was because it didn't use ANYTHING. We laughed, slept and went to the airport first thing in the morning to get our bags, where we ended up staying until almost 12 because the flight was late from Amsterdam. We got back to the Green Showroom around 1pm to set everything up and I made it just in time to see our look make it down the runway.
In the end I learned that all the stressing and planning and praying in the world isn't going to change what will happen but calling you mommy will always make you feel better!! All of my dramatics didn't change the fact that my bags needed to get a little high before they came to Berlin, it just made the adventure less fun and who the hell wants that! We made some incredible contacts in Berlin and in the end I accomplished everything that was on my original list. Through it all I still #lovemyjob even through these freaking teachable moments. So no one died from my collection not being at the showroom on time and the earth didn't stop moving and the birds didn't stop flying. I may have stopped breathing a few times though!
© Alexander Körner / Getty Images / Messe Frankfurt
Photo Credit: Rajiv Surjoo @rajiv_surjoo