Saturday, February 21, 2009

Adventures in the Romper Room

So, after 4 years of higher education, 2 degrees, and 4+ years as a working professional, I have once again become an intern. As my degree of interest in the non-profit world has waned (no doubt due to the 2+ years of rejection whilst searching for a new permanent job), I have often thought about what else I could with my time that I would find fulfilling. In other words, if I was not going to be able to change the world via public policy analysis, in what other field would I excel?

I'd been kicking around the idea of opening a boutique for some years, but that has been put on the backburner for a while, what with the shrinking economy and my shrinking mutual funds making that an impossibility for now. Over the summer I took some classes at FIT on fashion business, and as I found myself unemployed since mid-January with little to no prospects, decided now would be the time to pursue it. If I'm not going to be making any money, I might as well be learning something.

Enter Samantha Pleet. I'd admired Samantha's work for some time... she has a style that is distinctly Brooklyn and she makes vintage-influenced clothes for girls and guys that are totally recognizable and unique. Also her signature is the romper which is one of my favorite things to wear. Anyway, I emailed Samantha (who's studio is based about 20 minute walk from my apartment) to see if she needed any interns at the moment. I told her I could work 2-3 days a week, on a temporary basis, and that I was looking for permanent work but could work with her as long as I was unemployed. She said she liked my aesthetic and that she could definitely use the help, so a couple weeks ago I became one of her assistants. Yes, world, I am a 28 year old intern. To be honest, its ok. In a way, unless I don't think about the fact that I am not getting paid, its fun and not at all demeaning; and the work so far has been a lot more varied and interesting than most of the temp work that I've done in offices.

This past week we were preparing for Samantha's show and party at the Tribeca Grand. Well, not show rather, but presentation. She put together a video of people wearing the clothes, and models stood around wearing pieces, including me, which made me a little uncomfortable, but it was kinda fun. Here are some photos of the models getting ready and the party itself.

I'm not sure what will happen now that the crazyness of fashion week is over, but I'm sure there's much more work to do and much more to learn. I actually have a lot of ideas about how she can make the business run more efficiently. There are a lot more similarities than you would think between running a fashion business and running a non-profit... keeping track of every expense, finding creative ways to make the most out of limited resources, finding people with money and influence to help you out, etc... who knows where this will lead...

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