I feel terribly neglectful for not posting in such a long time! The last couple months have been such a whirlwind. So much has changed and along with a non-stop schedule, I haven’t wanted to write until everything settled and positions were secured! At the end of January, I moved up to New York. And yes, that is a period at the end of the previous sentence, not an exclamation point. Because although I was very excited for the opportunities that had risen, I wasn’t so sure how I felt about being up in New York again. If you haven’t spoken to me since high school, or college for that matter, I’m sure that comes as a huge shock.
My name was synonymous with the city of New York, or at least that’s what I hoped everyone thought. From owning the entire Sex and the City series to plastering my room with posters of the city, it was my world, the only thing that got me through the extreme dramas and monotony’s that was high school in a small town. And while in retrospect I loved going to college in Philadelphia and would never change that for a minute, at the time I felt like a failure for not making it to the city of my dreams post high school. I took solace in knowing it was only a couple hours North, and would diligently pay my $10 Chinatown bus fair nearly every weekend to visit. And of course, less than a month after my college graduation, I moved up. With no real plan, and not much money, I moved away with just my excitement for the city I thought I knew and disdain for the one I had no idea how much I truly loved.
The following months were a complete disaster. Spending tons of money on rent in a neighborhood I hated, never seeing my then boyfriend, as we were on opposite schedules, and being completely directionless, I found myself depressed for the first time in my entire life. I began scrambling to find a way out. After only five months, my bags were packed and I was headed back to my beloved Philadelphia. And although I couldn’t have been happier, I still felt like a failure. Why couldn’t I hack it in New York? It had practically defined me as a person, and if I hated it, who was I?
So as you can see, as much as I wanted to prove to myself and the world that I could take on New York, I was in no hurry to move back. But once I decided on fashion, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would have to head back. I began half-heartedly looking for jobs and internships in the city, hoping that an opportunity in Philly would pop up first. But then, I went to Europe. I’m telling you, if you are lost and confused or unhappy in the least, go to Europe!! I know it’s expensive, but if you ever want to feel better, it’s imperative that you go! I had no idea what was out there, and once I saw it, I realized it didn’t matter whether I liked New York or not. Because as international as New York is, it is just the beginning of the world, and then, there is THE WORLD.
And once I returned from my trip, I began to try a little harder. I wanted to succeed because I wanted to be able to go out into the world again! I landed two internships, one that I have already completed (assistant/merchandiser at a Soho retail studio), and my current gig as an intern for global ready-to-wear artisanal brand, Valentina Kova. It’s pretty amazing and I truly can’t believe my luck! I’ve learned so much and I’ve only been here for three months! The garment district is fascinating. There’s a shop for each of your needs. Endless isles filled with zippers in every shape, color and size, infinite drawers of buttons and snaps, and storefront after storefront filled with every kind of fabric you could imagine. But the best places are the ones housed discreetly out of sight. The unassuming facades with unmarked doors. The ones with elevators still operated manually and smell like fibers and that particular smell of sewing machine engines which can be heard softly humming as you ride slowly up into the sky. And there’s nothing like the moment when the doors open to the sight of a dozen seamstresses, creating the most beautiful garments so masterfully yet seemingly with such ease. This is the hidden world that I’m slowly becoming a part of.
And aside from fashion, the rest of my life has settled down nicely as well. After a string of terrible restaurant jobs, I found a nearly perfect fit a Greenwich Village Thai restaurant. I was also lucky enough to find a rather silly, albeit cheap and adorable apartment in Brooklyn. And while when I have the time to stop and think, I do miss Philly terribly, I’ve barely been depressed at all. Just really, really sleepy!
The next step is to begin taking classes and start sewing again! I know now that I definitely want to design. Not work in sales, not merchandise, but actually create. I also realize that this is where I have to be whether I like it or not. As a beginner, there is so much more opportunity for me here than in Philly, but I must say that I am excited! My mindset has changed. Success is no longer a matter of making it to New York, it’s about escaping it. New York isn’t the love of my life anymore. And I’m finally okay with that. When I am able to leave and make a living off of my craft elsewhere, that’s when I know I’ve made it in New York. Because I’ll have made it out alive! Until then, I plan on taking advantage of it all. Art, theater, food, people and of course, the fashion.