Playing dress up begins at age five and never really ends.
– Kate Valentine, formerly known as Kate Spade, American fashion designer, businesswoman; namesake and former co-owner of Kate Spade New York (1962-present)
[to Vincent] I got the better end of the deal. I only lent you my body – you lent me your dream.
– Jerome Morrow, portrayed by Jude Law, Gattaca (1997)
You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.
– Theodor Seuss Geisel, commonly known as Dr. Seuss, American author, political cartoonist, poet, animator, book publisher, artist (1904-1991)
IMAGE CREDIT: Wikipedia
“They said I was a valued customer, now they send me hate mail.”
– Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic (2003)
NOTE: I wrote this when I was first starting my blog – I wanted to post this again because I wanted to insert comments on what I wrote, so as to reflect how much has changed, three years later. X ENC
Among everyone that I know, I would consider myself a sensible shopper because quite frankly, I don’t shop often (as seen in my sparse and half-empty closet). However, during the times that I do go shopping, I feel as though I go overboard on my purchases.
Three years later, I still agree with this opener. I still don’t shop often, and when I do, I do stretch my boundaries. My closet is smaller than it was three years ago, and I’m constantly re-wearing things.
My Shopping Philosophy: Quality Over Quantity
I believe that if I physically do not have the money to buy the one expensive item that I really want, then I need to make a smart choice. I can either save until I have the means to purchase it, or give up the dream completely. With the former, when I do have the sufficient funds to purchase said item, if I still want that item, then I would positively consider buying it. If not, that’s one more item that got away.
I would say that I still treat my potential purchases this way. One change is that I now obsessively look at my Chase app, constantly checking my checking account and credit card balances. The downside of being an adult is that if you want something, you have to buy it yourself (crying emoji).
The Dangers of Credit Cards
When I turned 18, my dad helped me set up a credit card solely under my name, without his cosign. This means that I have a typical credit card that 25+-year old adults have, where every credit earned is completely under my name. I would say that I am one of the rare cases that get approved for this credit card, as many of my friends who have credit cards are just extensions of their parents’.
Reading this, I’m cringing at how embarrassing I was. Though it is pretty remarkable for a high school graduate’s first credit card to be a “normal” one sans cosign, the way I wrote this comes off as pretty condescending. I apologize for my younger self 😅.
I haven’t been a Rebecca Bloomwood, scraping my credit card at every possible reader that I see. However, there’s a power that you have with a credit card and “virtual money.” It’s frightening to think if I went crazy and spent all of my credit limit. Or if someone somehow stole my identity and spent thousands under my name. Worst of all, I’m scared about accidentally spending so much that I can’t chase down my debt.
Despite the age of technology and advancements in security, I’m still scared of identity theft, and I probably will be until the day I die. Oh well.
When a Budding Shopaholic Meets Fashion
The best and worst thing about being a girl is our eye for fashion.
DISCLAIMER: I know there are girls who don’t agree with this bold statement, but for the most part, I believe that we girls all have a soft spot for anything fashion related. It can be a small or huge hole in the corner of your heart.
Loving fashion isn’t necessarily a bad thing because who doesn’t enjoy a herringbone patterned jacket? The issue that arises for a girl like me is that NYC can act like a “pusher” for bad spending decisions.
Normally, I wear black clothes, as black is easy to style, pull off, and repeat. In a city like the one I was born in raised in, wearing black is an obvious and safe choice. NYC loves anyone who wears a severe black turtleneck, skintight leather pants, and thigh-high boots, as well as the bold fashionistas who drape themselves in seemingly mismatching patterns. The latter can be unique and harmonious, but also loud and crazy – NYC will love you no less.
There will always be critics who judge you, but I think we’re afforded a lot of creative freedom in NYC.
What I’m Saving For
Back when I originally wrote this post, I made a list of things I needed/ truthfully wanted. These things included shoes, clothes, makeup, though I highlighted the need for eyeshadow primer and new shoes. I really needed shoes because most of my shoes were worn down and/ or had significant holes in them. It didn’t help that I was short strapped on funds at the time. This blog was a wonderful outlet to moan about my lack of funds, as well as my jealousy at people who don’t have to worry about money.
For a while now, I have been broke, though probably more so than before. I’ve also begun to abstain from buying things, unless they’re for a quick lunch and a monthly MetroCard. I’m currently saving up for a few big things in my life:
Short term: a domestic trip, somewhere in the U.S., by the end of the year and a trip to Korea within the next year.
Long term: launching my fashion house, saving up for my future wedding, and paying off my college loans.
Prioritizing my goals and organizing how I should be spending my money made me realize how much I’ve changed. Though appearances are extremely important, experiencing things and working to make your dream a reality are things I value more. This may seem to compromise my love for fashion, but I’ve changed the way I think about things.
Instead of getting things too early and not really appreciating it’s worth, I’ve decided to wait for my time to drape myself in designer brands. In focusing on making my future, I know that it’s the only surefire way to be able to afford all the things I wanted to buy without being worried about my balance. It’s like that psychology experiment – you just have to wait those 10 minutes before you can enjoy five more cookies.
the girl who likes to think that she’ll be successful in the future
IMAGE CREDIT: Sky Cinema
Love what you do and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you want, what you love. Imagination should be the center of your life.
– Ray Bradbury, American author and screenwriter (1920-2012)
Taking sartorial risks and not following other people is what makes you stand out.
– Zac Posen, American fashion designer (1980-present)
A few months ago, my school hosted a fashion entrepreneurship and networking event. In theory, this was a wonderful opportunity, but the actual event wasn’t as useful as advertised. However, I won’t deny that this event was somewhat helpful. I had the chance to talk to people in various parts of the fashion industry, ranging from entrepreneurship to PR to finance.
The panel members and guest speaker all repeated variations of the same sentiment in regard to working in fashion. Everyone said it is an extremely cutthroat and competitive field, though they were few lucky ones who were at the right place at the right moment. For them, this “coincidence” contributed greatly to their success, as well as their pride to return to their alma mater to talk about this.
I had an issue with their words because general statements like these are simply just useless pieces of advice for anyone, regardless of industry.
When asked what I want to be, I always say, “a successful fashion designer and businesswoman like Coco [Chanel].” Despite the wishful nature of my career goal, I have no reservations, nor do I have a starry look in my eyes that success will come easy to me, let alone launch my own fashion house. I am well-aware of my numerous disadvantages when trying to break into the fashion world, though it is a double-edge sword, as I do have some unique advantages.
My Bachelor of Science in Mathematics if very far off from the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design, or other similar degrees that many notable fashion designers have. I do get the value in a fashion degree because there are things that you can only learn in school. Colleges teach students discipline, which include a good foundation in the basics of creating apparel and accessories.
Going to fashion school is also extremely beneficial beyond the classroom. It helps with creating connections in the fashion industry, as most fields, even finance and entertainment, are heavily reliant on a good word of mouth to get you the much-needed exposure towards achieving your dreams. Teachers and peers can help each other meet potential employees, like seamstresses who can work in-house to create your sample, or introduce you to fashion magazines that can do print work featuring your stuff.
While I haven’t reached the point where I have launched my fashion house or shown in New York Fashion Week, I wouldn’t call my college choices deal breakers to make it big in fashion. Interestingly, my choice in major has greatly contributed to my creativity, as well as my focus on detail – two skills that are valuable when designing. You may not believe me when I say this, but the most creative people in this world are those in love with understanding numbers.
Besides the creative aspect of a successful fashion line, it’s also important to understand that an atelier is also a business. It’s great when high fashion designers create covetable pieces that the cream of the crop (i.e. Hollywood actors and actresses, socialites, etc.) are fighting on line to wear. However, to sustain a brand in a world where you’re not the only talented designer creating desirable apparel, you have to keep in mind that you’re a business that also runs on generating revenue.
Looking at the business side of a fashion house, there are many things that go into running a good business. These include a good HR department, possibly a team of in-house lawyers, a marketing team, a finance department, as well as many more. Without these things, yes, you can make great clothes, but you can also rack up tons of lawsuits from employees and former employees that can drive you and your business to bankruptcy.
Thanks to my choice to attend an arts and science college, I get to meet lawyers who know about fashion law, experience the day in the life of startup businesses, as well as learn how to maximize on numbers, so as to generate sales that count. Obviously, a great deal of college is what you make of it. Through my choice, I was able to befriend lifelong friends of various majors who may possibly be future employees at my fashion house. I know that if I need an accountant to keep a close eye on funds, as well as a marketing expert who can bring in models and actresses as the brand representative, I have a plethora of friends to pick from (happy emoji).
In the end of the day, don’t get too bogged down when you have trouble achieving your dreams. Not going down a traditional route to realize those dreams may actually be a blessing in disguise. And don’t be afraid of asking questions or grabbing opportunities just because you’re scared of rejection. You’re bound to get rejected, regardless of your career path. It’s never too early to become acquainted to the bitter taste of rejection, so that you can truly understand the determination it takes to make things work. While it would be nice to have a smooth sailing from the day you created your dream to the day it’s finally realized, that’s not how life works, unless you have a genie.
the girl who’s going to create a successful atelier like how the tortoise won the race
IMAGE CREDIT: Michael Hazzard Photography
You may say I’m a dreamer,
but I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.
– John Lennon, Imagine (1971)
Fashion fades, only style remains the same.
– Coco Chanel, French fashion designer and businesswoman (1883-1971)
Ever since I was little, I always wanted to own a Burberry trench coat. I know other brands make their own versions of it, but there isn’t anything more iconic than having a Burberry trench coat with your initials monogrammed on the inside. When I was younger, my mother promised me that once I graduated college that she would buy me one. As I have only one more year of school left, hopefully it’ll be a dream come true in May 2018 🖤!
I always dreamt of being an adult, tall and able to wear the form-flattering trench coat featured in the Burberry ads, or during a fashion week collection, paired with a blanket-like poncho. I would jealousy stare at pictures of models, celebs, and fashion bloggers who wore this consistently trend piece, and would turn green with envy whenever someone wore their trench coat on the streets of NYC.
To me, everything about the trench coat was appealing, from the history of the material to its waist slimming design. The trench coat is extremely versatile: it can be worn as a jacket dress or simply as a fashionable yet practical piece during a rainy day. For its two-grand price tag, it’s certainly an investment that every fashion inclined woman should make.
The trench coat has a unique story – Thomas Burberry, the creator of the gabardine material used for trench coats, never intended to make these coats for the fashion industry. Trench coats were originally made to serve as the standard Army uniform and apparel for the United Kingdom due to its fabric being waterproof and sturdy.
However, as we know about army inspired clothing, they almost always end up in the mainstream fashion scene. Even today, the army green color and camouflage pattern are used as fashion statements by many designers, and are eagerly worn by customers who want to flaunt off their knowledge of the ever-changing trends.
Even if Burberry didn’t intend to make this for fashion, it’s amazing how he created something that transcended time. Very few fashion pieces have managed this feat, capturing the hearts of fashion people and regular folk alike, like Chanel’s No. 5 perfume and Hermès Birkin bag.
Hopefully I’ll be a new owner of a trench coat as I make my own journey to find an accidental mistake that spurs the success of my own fashion house.
the girl who dreams of making an iconic fashion piece