New York City: May 2016

Saturday: May 21

Alarm was set for 6:45am and I was out by 7:45am, as planned. The rest of the morning, however did not follow suit. I arrived at the airport and the lines were frankly insane, which unsettled me a bit. What happened when I got to the counter you ask? Ticketing trouble. When I finally made it through security, I got my Starbucks and was ready to conquer the day. -phew- 

The flight was a mere hour and a half, and we had a spectacular view of the city from the right side of the plane. Macy and I were too hungry to wait to eat later, so we spent $9 on an airport turkey and swiss wrap. We got to the hotel, unpacked a little, and then we were off to Chelsea. 

First Stop: STORY. This conceptual store was too much fun and beautifully quirky and I wanted to purchase everything. I (somehow) refrained from doing so and managed to walk out with gummy roses and cheeseburger socks for the man in my life. 

Next: Chelsea Market. This place is so cute and lovely. All the neon and twinkling lights were so magical! We had to make a stop at the Doughnuttery (because who doesn't love mini funnel cake doughnuts) and they were by far the best doughnuts I've eaten. We then ate an AMAZING dinner at Bubby's (recommended by a friend) and it was so delightful. We split a mac and cheese appetizer (with herb breadcrumbs and bacon bits) and I had one of their "breakfast for dinner options" with fried chicken and pancakes. SO tasteful and filling. 

Finally: We explored a bit more and ventured into a few stores and exhibits including: Jeffrey's, Paige, Lululemon, American Apparel, Urban Outfitters and the Parson's BFA photography exhibition at Milk. Such a fun filled and busy day, I can't believe we covered this much in a few hours! 

Sunday: May 22

Rise and Grind (as snapchat filters say in the city)! Up at 7:30 and off to Starbucks by 8:30! It's in the upper 50's and surprisingly comfortable. By 10 we're off to catch a subway (or three) to Central Park and then the MET.  

Central Park: home of joggers and cute dogs.  It was a little brisk off the water in the park, but lovely in the least. It's so peaceful walking through the park as a means of getting from one place to another, and it just so happens our destination was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Every aspect of this museum is grand: the stairs, the fountains, the signage and, of course, the exhibits. Manus x Machina was incredible to be simply put. The detail and silhouette of every piece was magnificent. I found it so interesting that there were pieces from 2015 and pieces from 2004. I can't imagine the research that was done to discover, collect and analyze all the pieces that were eventually put in this. There were designers I hadn't heard of, such as Junya Watanabe and Noa Raviv that had incredible structured and geometrical silhouettes. And, of course, there was Chanel, Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent that had incredible floral, beaded and embellished detailing. As I walked around I found myself more and more inspired to work and grow in this industry. 

As the journey through the MET came to an end, it was time to grab a cold pressed juice (and possibly some street vendor nachos) and head toward 5th, Madison and Lexington for some window (and actual) shopping. The window displays at Barney's, Bergdorf Goodman, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Tiffany, Dior, and Chanel were all so incredible in their own ways. Being in merchandising, I hope one day I can create a window display that can inspire people as these inspired me. 

Monday: May 23

The work week hustle begins in the city, and Macy and I decided we'd best start it with a cold pressed juice and an açaí bowl to give us extra energy to get through the busy day. By 10:15 it was time to head to M&S Schmalberg: home of the custom fabric flowers. The family owned company takes pride in their decades of knowledge and experience in their craft and is filled to the brim with beautiful hand crafted flowers. They have customers with various sorts of needs, such as Vera Wang, Radio City Music Hall, and the Kentucky Derby. The process in making these flowers is so interesting: starching the fabric, hanging it to dry, creating layers, hammering out the petals, using another machine to make it 3-D and detailed and then having the women that work there bind them into what we ultimately see on garments and in displays. They gave each of us a little flower clip and I had a flower crown made with flowers I chose!

Next we were off to W(orld's) G(lobal) S(tyle) N(etwork): my personal favorite of the day. This appointment really inspired me due to my interest in merchandising and editorial. We got to meet with professionals from client services, the Mindset team, and the senior editor for menswear (who had formerly worked for Complex and GQ). We learned so much about the company and how forecasting works. Founded in 1998, the same year as google, WGSN was truly a breakthrough in the fashion forecasting world in that they were the first to bring what was normally only in books and not easily accessible to a user's fingertips. All forecasting "starts with the message of the season" which ends up being the ultimate common denominator from the meetings with the Global Team in regards to all that they've gathered. I hope one day to intern here to gain more experience than I could even imagine.

Our last appointment of the day was at Pamella Roland, home of lovely evening wear. During the Q&A, we were told that a majority of their fabrics are sourced from China and beads are sourced from India where there factories are located and where the construction takes place for both of her lines. People such as Eva Longoria, Hailey Baldwin and Lea Michelle are people that they've "chosen" to wear Pamella Roland's collection. 

After the appointments for the day came to an end, it was off to SoHo. First stop: Jack's Wife Freda. This delicious and healthy meal was too much fun and the "all day cafe" had such a quaint atmosphere. Following this, it was into Zara, Brandy Melville, Nike Lab, Adidas, and Acne Studios. All this shopping called for a break at Le Pain Quotidien to indulge in some truly french hot chocolate and a nice, warm croissant. By 10PM I was snuggled in bed, ready to sleep and take on another day. (Or so we thought...Macy and I ended up utilizing postmates to order milkshakes and pizza. Oops). 

Tuesday: May 24

Its another great day in the city, and we got to start it off at the Stoll Knit Resource. Coming in, I wasn't sure what to expect, but after it ended this ended up being one of the most inspiring appointments. The hand and power machines are equally amazing, and the women who worked there were so knowledgable! They've done work for Theory, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren (whom we saw swatches being made for), Calvin Klein,  Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs. The women on the hand machines were actually knitting sweaters that had extreme detail for Marc Jacobs as we were there! Along with these women, there are also programmers that work at Stoll, constantly creating programs for designers to be able to mass produce their sweaters and knits. 

Following this appointment, we hit a few publication companies: Around the World Publications and OPR, where I was able to pick up several European magazines and other editorials I'd never seen or heard of before!  The next appointment was Draper James. The HQ is obviously located in NYC and the flagship is in none other than Nashville! The merchandisers and designers both spoke to us regarding the importance of social media, trend forecasting and Reese's influence on all of the above. 

Macy and I went back to the room to refresh for a bit before heading to see Waitress the Musical (which soon became my favorite musical by the way). The lyrics, written by Sara Bareilles, were clever and fun, and the actors were cast perfectly to make for a spectacular show. Of course we ended the night with some street food and headed to bed. 

Wednesday: May 25

Gooooooood Mornin'! (And it certainly was in fact a good morning) The day started with Mood Fabrics, also known as every girls dream fabric store. Walking in here was like walking into Disney World, but better and without strollers and crying babies. I was able to pick up some buttons, trims, and swatches for my final project here and I can't wait to get started on it! I unfortunately had to order a majority of my swatches online, though, because the employees didn't take much care in cutting mine for me. Then it was off to Pink Chicken! 

Pink Chicken is an adorable children's wear line that I absolutely love. They have four brick and mortar stores and four primary collections: Baby, 2-12 Year, Mommy and Me, and Swim. They also created Blue Rooster for the boys out there, which was cleverly named. Their creative process was interesting as they do a lot of production in India an China and they claim the US isn't really the place to produce preppy bohemian clothes. (They use China for the quirky prints and India for the embellishments). However, I'm excited to see their line for Target in SS17! 

Our next stop was Christina Ottaviano, and this was by far one of my favorite appointments because she was so inspiring. She began her fashion career at FIT and found an interest in evening wear and bridal. Since creating her line, she is able to show her pieces off in big red carpet events such as the Golden Globes, the Oscars and Vanity Fair. Every single one of her pieces is hand finished and handmade in New York which allows for better communication with whomever she may be working with and better quality and precision. A piece of advice she gave I found very interesting; she said to keep a journal of my thoughts, initial sketches and photos of what these ideas turn into because not only is it good for me, but it's good for a portfolio as well! After this we got to shop around in SoHo, and Macy and I indulged ourselves in a walk through Kith. It's an amazing store, check their website here! 

Before this day came to an end, we got to meet with an O'More alumni whom has begun her career as a stylist here in NYC. Hearing her journey and how she didn't just jump into moving to New York was enlightening. She gained her experience in other places working for big names like Amazon so she could make connections before arriving to the city. She's now working for the daily show and as a freelance stylist for big stores like Bloomingdales! This path is definitely something I'd be interested in. 

(PS: This whole week I have been shooting Macy's lookbook for her first collection, and we finished it up tonight. Give it a peek here: {click me!} 

Thursday: May 26

Happy Thursday everyone! It's 10am and we're in SoHo at one of the brick and mortars for Outdoor Voices. We began our meeting outside where we discussed tech design, the evolving athelticwear indsutry, and the creative process. Unlike Nike's competitive motto and mission, Outdoor Voices focuses on a more relaxed and communal tone for their clothing. They care most about functionality than how trendy the garment looks although these two often overlap. Every piece is evaluated by fit, function and material and is placed in one of three collections: Technical, Studio, or Recreational. Overall, I loved this company as a whole and had to purchase a running shirt for my dad (hellooooo father's day). I can't wait to purchase things for myself! 

Are you surprised Macy and I walked around SoHo for another three hours? We finally got to go to my favorite restaurant Sant Ambroeus (which I finally learned how to pronounce). This restaurant/cafe has the cutest french and italian vibes and all of their waiters have french accents! The food and coffee are delicious and I could've gone back for dinner. 

Our last two appointments were at costume shops, which was particularly interesting to me being that prior to a fashion merchandising major, I was a musical theatre major (and am still a Broadway lover). The first was with Eric Winterling who has produced costumes for shows such as She Loves Me, Frozen the Musical, The Color Purple, Aladdin, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and many more. The second was Tricorne Costumes who produced costumes for shows such as Wicked, Something Rotten, Hamilton, Matilda, The Elephant Man, Anything Goes, Bonnie and Clyde, Grey Gardens and about a hundred more (not kidding). Some of these even led to Tony's for the designers of these costumes. I learned many things about costumes between these two appointments, such as: there are 75 costumes in solely the Prince Ali number in Aladdin on Broadway, most costumes need boning to be sturdy because of how heavy they are, and swings have every costume they cover because one cannot simply wear someone else's costume.  I also learned that finding time for fittings is the ultimate struggle for both of these companies because Equity and the mess that comes with rehearsals simply allows for no time at all. 

All of the appointments we've had this trip have taught me so much about the directions I want or don't want to go in, and I'm thankful for all of the opportunities that this may bring! 

Macy and I spent our last dinner at a not so great Tex-Mex restaurant called Chevy's, but we made up for it and got fro yo and went to sleep to take on a day of travel. 

Friday: May 27

I decided to get up early as ever (7:30am) to grab my daily Starbucks and go for a final walk through the city before we had to leave. I was all packed and ready by 10:40am and I headed down to the lobby to meet everyone to load up! Everyone was mutually exhausted and ready to get back to the daily Nashville grind, which has a lot less taxis and a lot more hipsters and country music. By the time I got through security, I had called my boyfriend, bought some overpriced grapes with cheese and a huge water to get me through the flight. Upon landing, my suitcase was one of the first out and the trip had come to a close. 

Until next time, NYC. Until next time.

xoxo,

jami-lyn