Updated: Feb 24, 2020
New York came calling on the last night of our Berlin trip at about 12 am the morning we were set to fly out. My mom, and trusted everything(!), had put in an inquiry at AMCONYC to see if they were still accepting new designers/brands for their NYC Fashion Week event and much to my surprise they were! So after three long days and sleepless nights, I got on skype looking like death warmed over and spoke with one of the nicest and most encouraging women I have met in this industry, Adriana.
Adriana and I chatted a bit and I knew I wanted to business with this woman. I trusted and had confidence in her. We made all the necessary arrangements with each other and a few weeks after I got back from Berlin I was off the New York City.
Photo by Kenny Flash Photography @Kennyflashphotography
There are so many BEST parts of this trip but one of them was the fact that I was able to see my mom, my grandma, my "aunt" Tracee and one of my dearest friends Saidah. I haven't seen them in 6 months, 10 months, 4 years and 2 years respectively. So it was much overdo and time that I cherished. I loved every second of being able to do what I love, watch it come to life and have a large majority of the people I love most in this world around me.
The first stop was staying with my dear friend Saidah, her sweet boyfriend who was home sick from work helped me lug my 3 overweight suitcases up to their 3rd floor walk up. Saidah and I got to laugh and eat and drink and do all the things we did back in San Francisco where we met 9 years ago like no time had passed. Those are the moments that make my heart happy! Anyway, after much of New York's interpretation of Mexican food was consumed and REAL tequila filled my veins again (god blessed Paris with so many divine things, tequila isn't one of them!) it was time to get to work.
Thursday I went to meet the next nicest person I have ever met in the fashion industry, Lidia of Styling On in New York. She was this high-energy, bubbly person who you could tell really loves what she does. Which was so nice to be around. It's an interesting perspective, being on this side of the brand. Usually I am the one selling someone else's collection or finding trends but now it's my "baby", my "creation" that I am putting out into the world, so when people like Lidia get excited about, really when anyone gets excited about it, it makes my heart happy! It is just a special kind of reassurance when someone who knows fashion and the trends likes it. Anyway, Lidia was a breath of fresh air just as Adriana was. Adriana was sitting in the corner and greeted me with a huge hug, which coming from the city of the double kiss was foreign to me but in the best kind of way possible!
Video provided by AMCONYC
What I can say is that in Paris, fashion is very much a business as it is anywhere but from my interactions, (from a very different position in the industry) it is a much more serious business. Much like many things in Paris it is very much a passion but a passion with a structure and a purpose. In New York, it seems to be a passion that is meant to be fun, it is taken as a serious business of course, but there are many more shades of grey. I think because New York isn't the haute couture capital of the world, rules here are kind of meant to be broken. Which the creative spirit in me loved and having the opportunity to connect with people who are also on the same rule-breaking path was awesome.
The first fitting was on Thursday and it went well. I loved that Lidia came in and turned what I thought I wanted on it's head and made it into so much more than I could've ever imagined. The looks were well put together when I presented them to her but they were AMAZING when she was done with them. That was the day I met some of my models, who were all freaking angels! It was just an overall fantastic experience.
Photo by AMCONYC @AMCONYC
On Friday I moved into the rental apartment that the Tramposh Women (three blood and one honorary) would be calling home for the next 7 days. After getting everything settled in the apartment a.k.a dragging my three oversized suitcases up and down more stairs! I went to meet Saidah to get manicures and more tequila! Saidah lives in Brooklyn in a less hipster-y area but this bar was all hipster and I was like the white man in a National Geographic documentary living amongst the people of the tribe. It was fascinating, in Paris we have documentaries on EVERYTHING and I have seen many on this hipster culture but being in it for myself I was like a kid in a candy shop! The bar was sooooooo dark I could barely see Saidah let alone the menu! And the menu had MAYBE 20 food items on it, small bites of course and then 50 pages of alcoholic concoctions created by the resident mixologist. They all had names I couldn’t pronounce so there is no way I can remember any of them. The first drink I had was delicious and came in a Tiki glass with orchids and fruit and all kinds of fancy shit. It was a far cry from my standard vodka and soda with lime at my favorite pub, Corcoran’s on Grands Boulevards, in Paris. The second drink I had tasted like the grape Flintstone’s Push Pops from my childhood, it was about 1oz of liquid and 30oz of foam. At this point the honorary Tramposh had arrived and met us and we both tried to be cool as we licked the foam out of our glasses, in the least discrete way possible. We all felt at that point we had ended the night on a high and went back to our apartments to get some sleep before the rest of the gang got there!
After all the fun shenanigans it was time for the big day and I was so incredibly nervous but having this amazing support system of women around me felt incredible. The show went off without a hitch and was incredibly well received! One attendee even brought me to tears as he explained how excited he was about the sustainable and ethical design of the clothing. He was from Bangladesh and has had family suffer because of the harsh conditions of working in the garment industry there. That alone made me feel like this was the right path for me to be heading down.
In the end it was an amazing trip to New York and I feel so blessed to have so many amazing women in my life, from the new ones I met in the industry, to the ones that have been by my side for so many years and the ones that helped me build this collection. It has been such an amazing journey and I am so excited for the future!