Sunday, August 2, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For, Be Grateful For What You Get.

And once again, back to 'the list':

Dallas-based Missy Ready-to-Wear Clothing Company (I really want to take time to elaborate on this experience...)

I believe I was a Junior at Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas, at the time. I was managing a vintage clothing boutique near downtown Dallas, and lived about 5 minutes away from the shop. This was around 40 minutes from my school. At that point in my life, it was more important for me to have a fun job and an exciting social calendar then to have a quick commute to my classes. Living in the moment in my early twenties added some hefty mileage to my modest Nissan Sentra.

My portfolio class held a contest to design the best collection for a local clothing company. We were to design a new direction for her original concept of a set number of high quality mix and match pieces that easily travel lightly in a suitcase and can be worn directly from the bag without ironing. Each of the pieces were intended to be worn in a multitude of combinations while still looking fashion forward.

I was stuck in an eighties world at that time: leggings, patent leather kitten heels, and neons. Everything I designed, of course, was along those lines. There was no escaping this. Therefore, I designed an 80's in a Bag Collection of hot pink, teal, and stripe jersey knits with mid-calf skirts and leggings, tube tops, and v-neck tees. It was a very small 5 piece collection that followed all of the specified guidelines to a 'T'. I've always been a rule follower to an annoying degree. Annoying to everyone around me, that is.

No matter how insecure I was on the inside, it hardly showed, if at all, when I gave presentations in school. I loved talking about fashion and when I was speaking about something I had designed, I had all of the confidence in the world. Who in the world knows where that came from... This coming from the same meek person that lip-synced in all of the Chorus recitals in Middle School, and was the quietest cheerleader you'd ever met. Yes, I said cheerleader.

After everyone presented their collections, the owner and our professor were to choose a winner. I honestly can't remember whose collection won, but I must have caught her attention in some way. When it was time to find an internship, she was the only person I called, and I was hired pretty soon after. Not only did she pay me for this internship, but she supported and nurtured me in a way that was unheard of in most internships. I felt like the luckiest person alive. That is, until my head got bigger than my portfolio, and I left the company a year later to move to the lovely, dusty vintage warehouse in San Diego.

Okay, so I'm getting ahead of myself.

My new position at the clothing company was Technical Designer. I don't even think I was called "Intern" more than a hand full of times. I created all of the spec sheets for each of her collections and even dabbled in a little design. During my senior year, she changed my title to Assistant Designer and I had my own office in a storage closet inside the showroom. This may seem grim, but there were hardly ever actual offices in those showrooms. And I was only 20. I would've taken a folded metal chair in the hallway with a clipboard as my only surface to write on, had that been the case.

I steamed samples for Market, I even assisted in sales at the shows. I merchandised displays, answered phones, designed graphics here and there for screen printed shirts, illustrated line sheets, and created sampling packets for overseas manufacturers, all before I graduated from college. I was color matching dyed swatches and communicating with the factories on a daily basis while my peers were still waiting for their big break. While typing this out, I am thinking, "Was I completely crazy to ever leave this place???" I was even offered a raise and benefits as my senior year was coming to a close. But, Missy Sportswear just didn't seem like the right niche for me. Unaware of what the future would hold, I decided to take a giant leap (here's where the hopeless romantic part comes in), and leave my life in Dallas for the appealing opportunity in California.

*My next entry will be titled "The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing...*

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