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Macey Wears Prada

Those who have seen the classic “The Devil Wears Prada” might be inclined to think the fashion industry is terrifying. While some of the movie might be more accurate than we’d like to admit, I’ve never let that hold me back from my dream to work in the fashion industry. Considered unforgiving by some, to me, it’s always been an enticing adventure. Recently, I had the chance to live out my own “Macey wears Prada” story.

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Have you ever wondered what really goes on at New York Fashion Week? I had the opportunity to get an inside look into this highly famous and glamorized week in New York City.

This past February I flew to the big apple to work for a multi-brand showroom during fashion week. I was all ready for the adventure ahead. When I was packing days before my mom managed to remind me “Macey! Just because you’re working Fashion Week does not mean you need a different outfit for every single day of your three-week trip”. To that I replied, “Of course I do”.  Flash forward to me at PNS in my best airport fit with three giant suitcases – one for just shoes of course!

I was hired to assist in selling advanced contemporary fashion lines direct to buyers.  These buyers can range from global department stores like Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, to small local boutiques such as Willow Boutique on 30A. I was a bit starry-eyed to see these people I’ve envied since my youth! And now I was in the same room as them working towards a common goal! The showroom offered collections from all around the world. Italian classic brands like Callas Milano to more outrageous lines like Coût de la Liberté out of Los Angeles (the latter recently seen on Beyonce and Kim Kardashian) I mean come on, how cool is that! In my free time at the showroom, I would do my personal shopping since I don’t have enough clothes already… you can’t blame me. If it’s made in Italy, I need it in my closet!

In preparation for the week, designers ship samples to showrooms in NY where they are meticulously merchandised by industry experts. This is my favorite part! I love to make things look visually appealing. To me, the shopping experience is almost as important as the product you go home with. I’m all about a luxury shopping experience, give me a glass of champagne and let me dress up like a rockstar please! The vibes are what it’s all about! Once the collections are both visually and functionally appealing the appointments start flowing. Each buyer is guided through each collection with an individual sales associate. As they weave their way through the racks of designer product, they point out what product they want to see modeled.

Once these selections are made, the sales associate will recommend complimentary pieces to create complete outfits. ‘Fit Models,’ hired specifically for the purpose reveal the lines of the outfit on the female physique. As this happens, the sales associate takes detailed notes. The buyer knows what their clients like, what sells well, and what has failed in the past. This process is a well-oiled machine. A big showroom will see up to 20 buyers per day. These appointments go on for two weeks. As you can imagine, everyone in the showroom is exhausted market. Most days after market I would march my booty straight to Fifth Avenue… I would bop in a local bistro for a glass of wine and some good conversation with the locals. Then I’d make my way into Bergdorf’s to get into some trouble. This is the Mecca of luxury shopping. Every floor is a spiritual experience for a fashion lover, like me. The shoes. The bags…don’t get me started on the makeup and skincare. Bury me in Bergdorf’s!

I learned so much during my time in New York. I almost cried getting back on the plane to leave the city. But I know it’s not a goodbye. It’s a see you later honey! Another quick thing before I go… New Yorkers are some of the nicest people, I’ve ever met! I know they have a bad rep in the South, but they took me in and made me feel like a true local and if you ever go to the city, I know they will do the same for you if you are open to it!

While we usually think of fashion only affecting models, designers, brands, and retail. The truth is many of the locals come together to celebrate fashion in their own way. Fashion enthusiasts take their style to the streets, exercising creative freedom and pushing boundaries for one week out of the year. People of all different professional backgrounds attend the week’s various galas and social events. What I truly took away from this experience was an appreciation for how widespread the impact of fashion is. It surely made an impact on me and will forever be in my heart… Dear New York, Thank you for some of my most fond memories. I cannot wait to see you again. P.S. I LOVE YOU.