W7D4: 4x800 at 3:47 pace

I survived. This day wasn’t my greatest, but I got to the gym and did it.

I accidentally did 800 easy between intervals instead of 400, but I’m not going to be too rough on myself. 5.5 miles with warm-up and cool down.

A few of us are particularly guilty of staying late with the boss. This article was not encouraging. Basically, it said you have to put in the face time. Our PR firm is medium sized, so absences are tough. Steve handed this article to me this morning. I think his point was he appreciates all the extra effort. Maybe?

FGI Career Day 2011

So it’s been a while since I wrote a text post about my fashion adventures, so I felt the need to post one.

On Novermber 11th, 2011 I was lucky to attend the FGI(Fashion Group International)’s Career Day 2011 at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.  Before attending the seminars, I was lucky to explore the mart which at one time was the largest building in the U.S. My class got to see the interiors display which were rooms like one would see in a home; they looked like the rooms of a famous celebrity.  

After touring the mart on Thursday, our class woke up at 7 AM, put on their best clothes and went downstairs of the mart to attend the FGI Career Day conference. The keynote speaker was the woman’s shoe buyer for Nordstrom Rack Chicago and he gave a bit of his background, as he started out in sales and worked his way up through the company to become head buyer. Buyers travel 8 months out of the year, which he stated did put stress on his family life, but he loves his job. He even told us the story about how Steve Madden would show up at Nordstrom selling his shoes out of his van and would pack everything that didn’t sell at the end of the day and go home. Then Norstorm started selling his shoes exclusively for Nordstrom and then started selling to all the major retailers.

After the keynote speaker we attended our sessions; I attended Chicago’s Designer Pannel, Runway Show Production, and Visual merchandising. At the Chicago’s Designer Pannel I got to hear Lauren Lein, and Jenny Pfanenstiel. Lein designs custom dresses for upper class Chicago women, while Pfaenstiel is the head designer at Forme Millinery, which specializes in hand blocked hats.  

I stayed after the session to speak with Lein, whose first words to me were “Aren’t you cute? I love your outfit, especially the polka dot skirt.”  Coming from a designer, that meant a lot to me as she did not compliment any of the other fashion students that were bombarding her with questions.  I really feel that she was such a down to earth person and I felt really at ease talking to her.  I asked her what are the most important steps to excel in the fashion world and she told me  to travel as much as possible, save as much money as I can, network, and be a ‘yes’ person.  I also asked her about how she avoided losses with her business in which she told me all about how she had traveled to Poland, made friends with people who owned a textile factory and struck a deal with them to get her fabric at a discount.  She told me that at some points her business had to cut corners, but that she didn’t let losses concern her as she had to focus on moving forward.

I also attended runway show production, where I was told a story about how during  a big name designer encountered a massive problem when his models did not show up, and had to pick people from the audience to model the clothing, and the crowd actually believed that they were Ford models.  The key to success in producing a runway show is thinking on one’s feet and staying organized.  I also attended visual merchandising, where we listened to a free lance visual merchandiser who helped design Christmas displays for The American Girl Place, the head visual merchandiser for Brooks Brother’s Chicago, and the regional Midwest visual merchandising manager for The Gap. They all stressed the importance of having an eye for fashion in visual merchandising and appealing to the customer not to personal taste.

Finally the mystery speaker entered the conference room along with other students that had attended other workshops, and the moment I saw Bebe projected onto the wall I almost had a heart attack. Bebe PR Girl Alexis was then introduced by Susan Glick, the president of FGI Chicago.  Alexis is the PR manager for Bebe Inc.(the whole company). She described the Bebe girl, problems that she encounters in her job, how she got her start, and then opened the floor for questions. I was a bit surprised that people from my class did not represent our University whatsoever in the Q&As, and this was too great of an opportunity not to ask questions so I worked up my courage and asked Alexis what she loves most about working for Bebe and she told me that she loves working with all the people who work for her staff, it is such a wonderful environment, and she lives and breathes the brand.  It was just a natural fit for her.

After the Q&A was done, some of the looks from Bebe Haute Holiday collection were modeled. I loved this because I got a prime seat in the front row, and could see how intricate the designs were, I could even see the stitching. After the Bebe looks, it was time for the student design show, where fashion design student’s looks were showcased. I could not believe that some of the looks were designed by only students who are still learning. I felt like I was at NY fashion week.

The soundtrack to the show was great as well, with music by Florence and the Machine, St. Vincent and Foster the People(some of my favorite artists). Actually I had never heard the song Creul by St. Vincent, never even heard of St. Vincent before and had no idea what the song was called or who it was by and then I heard it playing in macy’s recently in Ohio and caught some of the lyrics and asked Siri to find out what the song was. luckily I found it because it was driving me crazy. If you haven’t listened to St. Vincent please do. And that girl can play guitar. The video is very artistic and meaningful as well.