Day 3: Only On Fashion Avenue

May 23, 2016

First thing Monday morning we began our industry visits.  The first appointment was with Custom Fabric Flowers by M&S Schmalberg off West 36th.  We met with the wonderful owners Warren & Adam and they shared their family story of how the business started and the process used to produce the flowers from fabric.  Each flower is delicately hand crafted and can be picked to the customers liking.  Some of their major customers are Vera Wang and the Kentucky Derby.  They allowed us to browse through the hundreds of flowers they had pre-made and created a couple hair clips and ribbons for some of us.


Our next meeting was with the trend forecasting website W(worlds) G(Global) S(style) N(network).  Here we learned of the interesting ways they collect the information and how they take pieces from each of their locations and use all that data to discover the future trends, but the whole process is formed very organically.  Fun fact WGSN was founded the same year as Google!


To finish out day one of meetings we met with some of the designers at Pamella Roland.  Unfortunately, we did not get to meet Pamella but her team of designers showed us the steps they take in creating each beautifully beaded gown and how involved Pamella is in the process.  They held a little question and answer session for us where they answered all our questions and gave us insightful information about how the fashion design industry works.IMG_8894

A few of us went over to the West Village area and ate at Jack’s Wife Freda for dinner after our meetings.  To get there we had to take the Subway, of which I was terrified to ride, but it actually was not bad at all and I really liked it!  After dinner we walked over to Washington Square Park and sat in the fountain (because why not) while we people watched all the New Yorkers in the area.  Also the people in New York are way nicer than everyone says they are.  On our way back to the hotel of course we stopped and got gelato from Grom because you can’t go to bed without dessert!



Day 2: States I’ve Never Been To Before…

May 22, 2016

My amazing and caring superhero of a dad did the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me!  He came and got me in Nashville and the two of us drove all the way to New York City.  Our journey began around 6:30 am from Nashville and we traveled through Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and finally made it to the beautiful New York City around 11:30 pm that night.  A full 15 hours in the car later and we had made it to the place I always wanted to go.  My dad said even though it wasn’t his ideal day the entire trip was worth it because he was able to spend time with me and  see my face light up with excitement when we got to the city and then again when we got out at Element hotel and the trip became real for me!  My wonderful dad dropped me off and helped me get settled into my room and then was on his way back to Memphis, TN (he made it home around 11:30pm the next day).  I was able to catch up with my friends on what they had experienced the first two days and then off to bed for my first real day in New York!

Day 1: The Beginning Of My Fairytale Trip

May 21, 2016

The beginning of my long-awaited, dream trip to New York was sadly delayed by a couple of days.  While packing the night before our plane was supposed to leave, I became ill from a dreadful migraine and was stuck in bed all day Saturday to re-cooperate.  Meanwhile, all my friends were boarding the plane and in just a few short hours had landed in the coolest city ever.  I lay in bed looking at all their Instagram photos just wishing I could be there with them.


Photo creds: Emily James


Day 4: So Much To Do, So Little Time

May 24, 2016

We started the day off at Stoll Knit Resources, a company that produces knitwear for several famous designers and creates knitting machines for those designers in order for them to mass-produce their product.  At their New York head quarters we learned that they design different stitches for the machines and create samples for each type of stitch to form into a garment.  We were able to meet and observe some of the incredible women who were knitting the beautifully thought out samples.  The experience of watching the power machines as they produced samples for each programed stitch was so fascinating, that it was so intriguing to learn the machines were able to run 24/7 on their own and still produce something so incredible.

Next we were able to browse around OPR New York Showroom and Around the World Fashion Publications where I purchased a Bridal Magazine for a bit of inspiration.


After a quick lunch we were shown the Head Quarters of Draper James where the design and merchandise teams both explained to us their roles in the company and how much Reese Witherspoon is involved in both New York and at the Nashville flagship.  One of the things they reiterated to us was the importance of social media in the industry (which was a common topic throughout most of our meetings).  One thing I found out Draper James does differently from other designers is that they create most of their designs from different resources and incorporate their own patterns or they take vintage patterns and recreate them.  I thought this was a rather unusual way of designing, but at the same time it was a very intriguing method.  Unfortunately, our meeting was cut a little shorter than planned because we did not get to meet with the lady we were supposed to, but we then had the rest of the day to ourselves!

For our evening entertainment Natalie, Emily James, and I walked over to Time Square and purchased tickets to a show for later that night.  We had an hour or so before the show so we found a wonderful Italian Restaurant called Scarlatto.  I was slightly ambitious when I decided to order the soft shell crab.  Little tip make sure you know how to eat something before you order it or it can be a real mess…


After our quick dinner the three of us went to see Finding Neverland on Broadway.  The actors and actresses performed so wonderfully that I got a little teary eyed at the end when everyone gave them a standing ovation.  It was the cutest and most whimsical play I had ever seen and it felt like being in a fairytale in New York.  On our way back to the hotel we decided to stop at Carlos’s Bakeshop for a late night snack of cannoli’s, chocolate covered strawberries, and cheesecake!






Day 5: Fabric, Chickens, Cristina, and Friends

May 25, 2016

We had a wonderful start to our Wednesday morning at the magical land of Mood Fabrics.  We were given an hour to look around at all the fabrics the store had to offer, which I thought seemed like a lot of time but when there are three stories of hundreds of fabrics, trims, and buttons you need multiple hours to really look at everything!  I was so sad we didn’t get to see Swatch the cute little dog that is known as the Mood dog, but I did get to see the many beautiful lace fabrics they had (but didn’t buy any because they were so expensive, maybe next time)!


They even had these beautiful gowns pinned on to the mannequins that were made from some of their fabrics!


Our next meeting was with the fun and outgoing ladies of Pink Chicken.  The Pink Chicken is a small company that started out with just a few designers and has grown into a bigger development that now has 4 brick and mortar stores and a corporate office.  We discussed the many lines they have ranging from infants to little girls and boys and even a Mommy and me collection.  The little boys collection, The Blue Rooster, is their most recent launch and they mentioned that everything was going better than they had expected with the collection.  They shared with us some of their failed lines, but assured us they had other plans for future lines.  One of their niches is that all of their prints can translate to pretty much any of their collections.  They also do a majority of their production in India and China for their embellishments and quirky prints to create their preppy bohemian style.  All their prints are fashioned in house and they choose their own fabrics for their lines.  Their studio was so warm and friendly with all the bright colors and the two super cute puppies they had roaming around.  One of my favorite aspects of the room was all the posters of little children in  different Pink Chicken collection pieces that were filling an entire wall.


After our quick lunch stop we went over to the West Village area and to meet the sweet Cristina Ottaviano, an incredible eveningwear designer, and her wonderful team.  This was my favorite meeting because she reminded me of how I aspire to be as a designer.  She always stays true to herself while creating something everyone will love.  Cristina shared the in’s and out’s of starting your own business and how to make it successful.  She showed us some of her collections and all the hand beading and detail she puts into each design.  Cristina’s work is exquisite and it really shows the love she has for her trade!


Next a few of us had an impromptu photo shoot in West Village area and walked all around where we saw the apartment building where the show Friends was filmed!




We stopped for a small snack of macaroons on our way to the last appointment for the day with O’More alum Courtney Button.  After graduating she moved up to New York and is now a stylist for The Daily Show and Full Frontal.  She answered questions for us about starting out and how hard she worked to get where she is at.  While we sat in Bryant Park on the cool sunny day we learned what it takes to become successful and noticed in the fashion industry from where we are as students.


That night almost everyone from the group took the subway over to Brooklyn and spent some time walking on the Brooklyn Bridge and taking pictures.  Our leisurely walk made us a little hungry so we walked over to Armando’s Italian Restaurant for dinner and had a wonderful time talking and laughing about everything that had happened throughout the week.  I also think I got to know everyone a little better than I did before going on the trip!  For dessert we stopped at Magnolia’s Bakery in Penn Station and got a delicious cheesecake for back at the hotel to talk about the day and how much fun we were having on the trip!


Day 6: Only In New York City

May 26, 2016

 Our last full day of meetings started out a little rough.  The entire group walked over to the subway and made it there on time, but we were not prepared for a subway traffic jam that held us up by almost 20 minutes.  Luckily, we made it to the store before the people we were meeting with did so we ended up not technically being late.  The first appointment took place at the storefront of Outdoor Voices, an athletic apparel company that sells both men’s and women’s work out clothing.  This meeting was a lot of fun for me because of the way the company started and how they want to continue growing based on a community and family basis for they want their customers to feel.  Their main focus for this brand is customer communication and they want their brand to tell a story with their product not just be another place to shop and compete against other clothing brands.  Another big thing the company focuses on is the function, fit, and material of each product. Their goal at Outdoor Voices is not to create lots of product that all does the same thing, but to have a quality product that they will continue to improve, which I highly admired about the company.  I was so inspired I bought a few clothing items for my little brother who is big into physical fitness and exercise and for myself.


After the meeting we had a significant amount of time before our next appointment so a few of us went over to Little Italy for lunch and to kill some time.


Our next meeting was at Eric Winterling, Inc., a costume designer for all kinds of plays and musical off and on Broadway.  Mr. Winterling gave us a tour of his studio and showed us some of the costumes he and his team of designers were working on for the circus and for a Spongebob show.  Each costume is hand tailored specifically to the actor or actress.  One thing I found rather interesting about the costume industry is one play has hundreds of costumes that are needed and the costume production is split up by act number and not by one play.  An example of this is the costumes for the play Wicked are split up between several costume shops and not given to just one.

For our final meeting we had to hustle across town back to the fashion district to meet with the designers at Tricorne Costume shop.  They too showed us around their studio and gave us a sneak peak at some of the costumes they were working on for the play Frozen on the Disney cruise, which is personally one of my favorites.  One of the things we were shown was what they called “the bible.”  It is a book kept for each show with every costume in it with swatches of the fabrics and trims used throughout the years and it documents any changes made to the fabrics used.  They do this so that if something were to happen to a type of fabric they used, such as it was no longer made and they were forced to change, they could take the previous swatch and match it as close as possible to something new.  I thought this was a cool and smart way of keeping things organized and up-to-date in the showbiz.

After the meeting we were all so tired that all we wanted to do was go back to the hotel and sleep for hours, but seeing it was our last day we freshened up and went back out.  Emily James, Natalie, and I went over to Kleinfeld’s to see if we could browse around and meet with someone about a future career with the company.  Unfortunately, we were supposed to book an appointment before we came but we were still able to take a peak at the showroom and walk around the down-stairs accessory room.  After our little dream of seeing Kleinfeld’s came true we went back to the hotel to relax before going back out.


Since I missed the first day when everyone else got to see the really cool stores like Gucci, Tiffany, and Louis Vuitton my sweet friend Emily Breedlove took me over to see them.  Naturally we had to stop in Tiffany’s and buy something because how often can you say you actually bought something from Tiffany’s in New York.   So I bought a single pearl necklace as a little Happy Early Birthday/souvenir for myself.  I had started to get another headache so we walked back to the hotel where I decided to call it a night  to sleep off my headache and pack my bags for the next morning.


 Although I missed going to the Empire State building with my friends I woke up and felt well enough to go to the rooftop of our hotel with them where we took in the beauty of New York and the wonderful week we had on our last night in the city!







Day 7: Home Sweet South

May 27, 2016

 After a long and fulfilling week it was time to go home.  But not before Emily James and I were able to run and grab souvenirs for our family members from a nearby gift shop.  We stopped by a coffee and donut shop for a little breakfast on our way back to the hotel and to finish the last minute packing we had before leaving for the airport.

What I thought was the end of a crazy week continued when my suitcase was over the weight limit by 10 pounds!  I frantically threw things from my suitcase to my carry on to make the bag weigh less.  I finally got my ticket and made it through security and then went to sit down while we waited for our flight to board.  After sitting down I realized that somehow between security and sitting down I misplaced my plane ticket too so I had to go and get a new one were the attendant tried to convince me that it was going to cost me to replace the ticket, but then told me it was a joke… I didn’t think it was very funny.  Not ten minutes later I found my other misplaced ticket stuffed in my carry on bag, so I had slightly panicked for nothing!

Finally, we boarded the plane and then had a quick flight back to Nashville.  Thankfully because I’m not the best when it comes to flying.  We made it back safe and sound and when I got home I laid in bed the rest of the night so tired from the fun and crazy week we just experienced.  My trip to New York was a little shorter than expected but it was everything I had ever imagined and more and now I can’t wait to go back!

‘Til next time New York City!

Your friend Peach